I invited forty or perhaps fifty teenage girls and their mothers over for a tea party (or more accurately, apple juice party, for us Mormons).
My committee doubted my sanity when I suggested real tea cups, real plates-- nothing plastic or disposable. But to me, serving tea in heirloom china means "I love you enough to wash your dish." "I trust you with things that are valuable to me."
Yet, as Saturday progressed it's usual chaos, driving to and fro and my house obscenely dirty, I too, thought I must be crazy.
And just when I thought I couldn't possibly pull it off, these people jumped in to help:
Ben was scrubbing the bathroom, Erik swept the hall, Gabe ran up and down the stairs putting things away.
Would they have done this for me a year ago? I don't know. But the tea party was a smashing success. Chatter and laughter filled the room, girls balanced tea cups in their knees while eating tiny strawberry cupcakes and ribbon sandwiches, compliments and hugs flowed freely. Not a single dish was broken or even a cup of "tea" spilled.
After the party, Erik commented that the clean up was much easier than usual because there were no half eaten treats left on the couch, no abandoned plastic cups tipped over by an unsuspecting elbow.
Maybe, just maybe, painted china dishes bring out the best in everyone.
Maybe we all need more tea parties.