When Antonella was three years old, we hosted a small tea party for Valentine’s Day. It really had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day apart for the decorations, but any excuse for a tea party, right? It has become a tradition for us, increasingly important over the years as I realized two things.
I want to make sure that I am intentional in discipling Antonella in the way she views love from a young age. The tea parties started as an excuse to have a play date, but the last couple of years, as she has gotten older, we have used the time to talk about the love of God, and how she will be able to really celebrate Valentine’s Day when she is married. We don’t make a big deal about the actual meaning of the holiday, but as she grows it will be increasingly important to be able to talk about cultural expectations, feelings, and courtship.
The other realization I had was that over the years, boys were added to our family and no more girls. So anything to balance out the guns and tools and trucks is welcomed in our household!
This is the first tea party! Antonella was three and a half- the girls decorated cookies and played dress up after the tea party while the moms chatted. I had to dig through our harddrive to find these pictures and oh my, could I have spent some time down memory lane! Unfortunately I could not find 2007 or 2008- we moved three times in those years and who knows where those files are stashed.
In 2009 I made her a little flower shop out of an old table, a Japanese umbrella and some buckets. I filled the buckets with fake flowers and stocked it with twine, wrapping paper, pots and scissors. The girls played flower shop all afternoon, making bouquets and arranging centerpieces. They also planted flowers outside!
In 2010 we had all the girls in our family gather at grandma’s for tea. I’m sure there was a reason why I could not pull off a friend party, but I don’t remember!
This year, the tea party was very last minute- thankfully most of our guests live across the street! We served store bought cupcakes, popcorn, and peach tea. The girls brought over their dolls and had fun playing with each other’s dolls.
I was so impressed by their conversations. All the heart decorations led to a discussion about our words, and how they are the overflow of our hearts! Then they took turns encouraging each other one by one. The girls were so cute with reactions like, “I was hoping you’d say that!” and “Really?? Thanks!”
Every year we buy an antique tea cup and write the year on the bottom. We haven’t bought this year’s yet, but I hope that the tradition continues. And I hope that as the collection grows and she matures, Valentine’s Day will be filled with fun memories.