There is a certain time of the day (often) and a certain mental disposition (calm) when I truly enjoy drinking tea. Tea has a calming effect for me as a person and even more so as a mostly-stay-at-home Dad. Unlike cracking open a soda or quickly inhaling an energy drink, tea takes time to prepare, and I lovingly prepare it. I make sure the temperature is just right. I make sure the cup is clean. I even have a prefered cup: a rather unsightly winter mug with a giant snowman on it. I steep my tea for a certain amount of time. I prefer loose leaf tea to the tea that comes in self-restricting little bags. Tea is not just a drink for me but a whole system of preparation leading up to enjoying a cup. I’ve noticed that this also has an effect on our son too.
Our son first learned about the concept of “hot” from my snowman mug filled with tea. He touched the outer mug (I let him) with his fingers and quickly pulled them away. “Hot,” I said. “Hot” has since been a word (one of his first few) that he has learned to say. Part of me thinks that he believes that tea itself is actually called “hot,” although that will be adjusted with time. This whole system of preparation is being passed down to our son. He comes with me to put the kettle on. He sees the thermometer, knows what it means when it beeps, watches the hot water pour into the mug, understands the concept of waiting for the tea to steep (at least at a temporal level) and again recognizes the beep of the steeping timer. Somehow these things give me a sense of joy. Not only to have passed down something to our son (I can’t wait to share a morning cup with him some day) but also to share a sense of waiting. Tea is not immediate. I often feel that we need more of that. Tea takes time.