Yesterday was Bryn Athyn Theta Alpha's tea honoring the ANC Girls School freshmen. I have been to every tea since the first one five years ago. This was the best yet.
It was dear to my heart, because - for the first time - Elsa (who is project coordinator) held workshops at Squirrel Haven instead of at De Charms Hall or the elementary school art room. It was wonderful having women out in the dining room, working on their boxes. Every year, I am astonished at the talent and inspiration the women bring to this project. Oh, and the variety.
I enjoyed renewing old friendships and making new friends (and meeting one hunkish husband). Already I am having a bit of a letdown. It was fun having so much energy in the house, to get lots of phone calls for the "Craft Diva."
The tea is always special to me. I know that Gay Pendleton was very, very happy to have it held at Cairnwood. I remember how much attending it the one year she was able to make it meant to her. She was proud of the women who decorated the boxes so beautifully, she was proud of the girls, she was proud of Bryn Athyn Theta Alpha for designing an event where mothers could express - in their own words and way -often unexpressed feelings. I know how she felt - every year I think, "Can't top this!" and every year seems better than the last.
This year, Karen McQueen (BA/TA president) had a "Queen Mum" chair for me to roost on. It really does look like a throne, a high high-backed chair in a beautiful peach brocade. I felt like I should be giving that little wave. Sitting there gave me a front row seat for the proceedings.
Here is how the presentation works - after the girls and their mothers and other box designers have sampled the delicious tea spread in what was once the library, every one troops back into the beautiful entry hall, with its elegant stairway sweeping down on the left, the handsome fireplace on the right and the wall of windows and French doors in between. Right in front of the window was a table covered with the boxes.
This year, Lynn Ellen Zimmer - who had presented a box to an older daughter a couple years back - lead off the proceedings. After each mother or designee presented the box to her daughter, usually saying a few words of appreciation and love, she picked up the next box and that woman came forward to present it to her daughter, and so on until the last box was presented.
This was the fifth year I attended, the fifth year of listening to moms make heartfelt comments to their daughters. After Karen made a few closing comments, I asked if I could say a few words.
Elsa says she thought I was going to talk about what fun it was to have some of the women working on their boxes at our house. I could not see her face when I started talking, but women who could said she was stunned by what came next. I saw my chance and - with some encouragement from Jamie Magro Rose (Mrs. Lenny) - I took it.
I talked about having an invisible box to give to my daughter. I talked about how much she means to me, how she encourages and cheers me on, how she believes in me and even browbeats me a bit to do more than I think I can, how I love her and am grateful she is my daughter. She was hornswoggled if ever anyone was, completely speechless, at least for a few moments.
I have no idea what the girls thought about it, they hadn't the vaguest idea who either one of us are. It might have seemed strange to the freshmen, but looking at their mothers (and the sprinkling of grandmas and aunts and sisters and cousins - sounds like Sir Joseph Porter KCB's entourage), the Moms got it and, best of all, I got to say it. It felt great.
I will miss having the ladies around. It was fun and having so much energy around energized me. A couple promised to call and even stop by. How kind.
Next up is the Women's Weekend at Tonche, less than two weeks away. My goodness, I am practically unrecognizable these days. Someone asked if mountain biking would be next. (What is mountain biking??)
It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.
To BA Theta Alpha, the moms et al and the girls, I say, "Thanks for the memories."
To Mine Schatzi - the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you
Love - Mom