We LOVE tea. I don't think you understand.
Anything to do with afternoon tea and scones and little tiny sandwiches and the itty bitty desserts and the bottomless pot of tea.
And more importantly, we love the Tea Room. Wherever, whenever, a tea room makes life so much more wonderful because you can just stop and breathe and relax. This tea room experience was no different and we basked in the tea room gloriousness.
We skipped the holiday hustle and bustle and we went to a little tea room that made us feel as if we were a world away. It was painted on the inside as an English garden, complete with sky, clouds, and a gazebo where my mother and I sat. We had a nice view of a painted pasture. All we needed was a little wind and maybe a bird and we would have, indeed, thought we were outside.
For a couple of hours, we reconnected. We did what we do best: we talked. And talked. And we talked some more. And we took down two pots of Cherry Caramel tea.
We closed the place down.
The owners, who were a mother and a daughter just a little older than us, began to clean up. The daughter waited on us and I hadn't seen her mother until she came out and started to take the linens off the tables.
She was a short, petite woman with shoulder-length brown, wavy hair. Her face was drawn and hardened and with her olive skin, appeared statuesque. At first, she intimidated me. She didn't look happy as she went about her work, clearing tables and folding linens, and I found myself sitting at my table watching her, wishing I knew what her day was like.
My mother and I have always dreamt of owning a tea room together, of coming in early in the morning and turning on the radio in the kitchen, singing and dancing while we baked away and talked about new recipes and what my crazy toddlers were up to. I envied this woman for making our dream come true with her daughter.
I continued to watch her going from table to table with a stoic expression and then she turned toward me and our eyes met.
She smiled at me as if she recognized me even though I knew she really didn't and I smiled back.
What struck me most was how, with one smile, her entire face had changed. She had softened. With one smile, she was unlike anything I had thought while I watched her work. With one smile, her personality on the outside was entirely transformed. With one smile, my perception of her had changed, and so too, had the mood of the room. It was no longer cold and intimidating. It, like her face, became soft and welcoming and comfortable. I felt ashamed for thinking what I had thought about her and I was so pleasantly surprised inside to see such a wonderful, glowing, happy mother smiling back at me. She told me her entire life's story with just one smile.
How interesting that an entire climate could change with one smile. How the outcome of an entire experience or entire day can change with just one smile.
How one little tiny expression can say so much.
How often we go about our day to day, stuck in our own minds, our own worlds, our own agendas, without acknowledging the people around us all doing the same. Serious, solemn expressions and looks of concern on the outside, which may not even be what's going on in the inside at all!
There is just something wonderful about a smile. How it literally, physically, softens someone's face and makes it just so beautiful. How it can take years off a person's face and how layers of troubles and worry and concern can just melt away with a smile. How a smile can make a person who seems so unapproachable and "Closed for Business", so open.
I realized from her smile that I forget to do it myself. All the time. Especially during the holiday season when I'm supposed to be the cheeriest, and instead I find myself stuck in the house with two sick children, behind in my cleaning, shopping, exercising and everything else in my life and so overwhelmed that I don't even remember, let alone make the time, to smile.
One simple little gesture that can lift the moods of my children, my husband, even the sales clerk who refuses to double check a price for me. And more importantly, myself.
Even if, like me, you can't keep up with the holidays and you worry about being able to afford all the gifts and the bills, you worry about the health of your families and you find yourself overwhelmed, try to remember to do one small thing. Smile. Because for even just a moment, a smile makes everything okay. It can change someone's day, someone's week, or someone's life. Maybe even your own. And it's so worth it.
For the first time this weekend, I was lucky enough to witness it. The power of just one smile.
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Set yourself up for a positive week by joining me on Monday's for Mantra Monday! Feel free to leave your mantra in the comments, or if you post about your mantra, leave the link in the comments so I can come visit!