Lily has given me permission to share her college application essay with you. Thanks, Lily!
The photo is of Lily and me having our first tea time together when Lily was four.
Tea. Not very synonymous with young children, which probably explains why I was throwing a fit under the table. It was one of those moments when mortified parents just want to melt into the floor rather than discipline their child in public. It just so happened that we were in a fancy tea room, the Heathman, and it just so happened that it was the Christmas holidays. My parents were trying to start one of those family traditions that lasts throughout the years and it seemed like the Heathman just was not a great option at that time. Fortunately for us my mom had a friend, Marilyn, who adored the art of tea parties and all of the wonderful times that go with them. The very next year they planned one of these affairs and it went over much more smoothly than the first time around. I don't specifically remember the happenings of my first Christmas tea party with Marilyn or much of what would eventually create much of the foundation for traditions in the years to come.
Every year since that fatal year at the Heathman, my close family has joined together at Marilyn's house at Christmastime and shared our year's progress. As my taste for tea has grown so has my appreciation for these family gatherings and the meaningful conversations that have come out of them. Now not only do I look forward to the little sandwiches and the artfully decorated cookies; but also the loud, and not always obnoxious, laugh of my uncle and the warm embrace of my grandma. Those moments of laughter and togetherness are not easy to forget and often remind me how much a family tradition can grow from something small to an annual event that brings such joy and community. Through each passing year my mom has kept a photo journal of pictures that show how my family has changed. From the progressive aging of my brother and I, to the lack of my grandfather who passed away when I was four. Although my family has changed and evolved we have stayed together through this tradition and recognize that change is not always such a bad thing.
Like that very first time at the Heathman all traditions come to a close at some point, and these tea parties are no different. Regretfully we have decided that this year will be our last official tea party with me heading off to college next year. Although I will miss the time spent in that little North Portland home, I know that with the end of one tradition there will be an opportunity for growth. During times of change in life there is always room for nostalgia and reminiscence, but also that possibility that you will stumble upon something truly wonderful.