New Friends, New Traditions: A Day of Love and Tea Parties

A lot of folks hate on Valentine’s Day, and I can understand why.  It’s a commercial holiday not rooted in any tradition (there were a few Christian martyrs named Valentine, and one of them even performed renegade marriage ceremonies, but it’s not his feast day or anything like that) and if you are single or widowed, it’s annoying to be hit over the head with everyone else’s sappy stories.  However, I have always enjoyed it, silly or not, because it is a chance to tell the people in my life that I love them, and give them little tokens to symbolize that.  There are easy ways to make it D.I.Y. fabulous, thoughtful, and memorable.  I remember my dad used to give my sister and I cinnamon hearts every Valentine’s morning, so I created a little ritual for Olive and I today, that I hope to build on each year.  I found a great deal on a Manhattan Toys Lily Doll named Isa, and eagerly awaited her arrival in the mail.  Olive has lately been engaging in imaginative play, and I thought she might like a little “friend” to create make-believe worlds with.  This morning, I sat Olive and Isa down for a tea party, much to both of their delights:

Raisins (for Olive) and chocolates (for Isa) were on the menu.

The 'tea' was really water, but they slurped it up just the same.

Isa wants in on those raisins! Olive is happy to share with her new friend.

As you may have noticed, Isa is brown, and I’ve been researching cute dolls with brown skin tones for some time now, hoping to find one to give my daughter.  (Check out the pinboard I made for the ones I’ve found on Pinterest)  In homes that are bilingual, the parents often speak only the language that is non-dominant in the outside culture, so the child can be fluent in both.  Similarly, since one side of Olive’s ancestry is over-represented in American culture, I like to do my best to bring things into her life that reflect her Black heritage, to balance it out a bit.  So, as the years go on and we continue this tradition of a Valentine’s Day doll and tea party, we may see a lot of little sweet brown faces of varying tones around the table, if I can keep finding nice ones to get her.

Of course I made a Valentine for Joel as well, and got him a kickass thrift store cardigan.  When I went to dance class this morning, the teacher was surprised to see me, as I usually go in the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  “I had to come early, because I have a date tonight!”, I explained.  The class oohed and ahhed, until I added, “We’ve been together 12 years, we better have a date on Valentine’s!” and then they groaned and told me that that doesn’t count.  Damn.  It does if you have a baby!  Getting away is harder with a little one but we have a babysitter lined up and are excited for a night to celebrate our love.  Seriously, y’all, I am not lying when I say I am more in love with that man than ever.  I have a hard time even talking about it without tearing up.

So, I will leave you to your own Valentine’s celebrations, be they with family, friends, or your Boo.  There is more than enough love in the world to go around.  I’m sending you some through this post, hoping it wraps around your heart today like the warmest, softest cashmere sweater.

We heart you ~ Olive, Isa, and Mama Rhea

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2 thoughts on “New Friends, New Traditions: A Day of Love and Tea Parties

  1. Happy Valentine’s Day Rhea! Now I know why I missed you in dance class tonight. Hooray for the love between you and Joel continuing to grow!!
    I love that Isa doll!!!

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