I’ve been making tea a lot lately. Maybe it’s the weather, what with the rain and chilly temperatures. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching so many British television shows.
I’ve taken to saying, “Right. You up for a cuppa?”
Maybe it reminds me of my mom. She’s from New Zealand and drinks a lot of tea. She pops the kettle on first thing in the morning and another half dozen times throughout the day. (Maybe more often than that.)
Show up at my mom’s house, and she makes tea. If there’s a movie on, a celebration, or a slice of cake, she makes tea. If there’s an awkward moment, a hard conversation, or a crisis, she makes tea.
When my son Sawyer was little, he and Nana would sit together at his little table and drink sweet, milky tea.
“Ahh,” Sawyer would say, mimicking her, one pinky in the air. “That’s a good cup of tea.”
Now when I knock on the door to Sawyer’s bedroom, where he’s at his desk working on homework, he will sigh and reach for the cup.
“I love a cuppa tea,” Sawyer will say. “It’s magic.”
It can feel like that.
There’s something comforting about wrapping your hands around a cup of something hot. (It’s true of coffee, too, which I normally prefer.) Tea also contains an amino acid that lowers stress, calming us. (Mom is right about that.)
But there’s more to it than that.
With a cup of tea, you can apologize without addressing the issue (which is a very British thing to do). If Sawyer and I argue, and I ask, “Want a cuppa?” and he accepts, everything is all right.
When he’s got too much homework and I make tea, or I’ve had a stressful day at work and he does, it says something.
It says you care, something akin to a hug in a mug.
Even when you make a cup for yourself.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Awkward moment? Rough day? Slice of cake? A hot cup of tea will fix almost anything