Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tea Party Dreams

My sweet girl is turning 5 soon and I have been preparing for her tea party. I'm a bit stressed because I just want everything to be perfect. I thought I would share a few things I have been collecting for the party. The yellow gingham is a long, narrow piece of fabric with ric rac on one end. I found it for $1 at an antique store. I think it will make a great table runner. In the little purse is a piece of blue with white flocked polka dots. I don't know what I will do with it, but it matches the tea cup on the napkins.
I found this little embroidery piece at the thrift store. Isn't it sweet? I also found the little tea cups (10 in all) at the same thrift store for 25 cents each. They are the perfect size for little girls.
Now I need to share with you my "Tea Party Dreams" so you will know why this party means so much. I wrote this back in April '05.

In the corner of my daughter’s room sits a child-size wicker chair. Not quite blue. Not quite lavender. I bought it for Martilee’s first birthday with anticipation of tea parties, teddy bears and dress-up bonnets. I dreamed of special mommy-daughter times - escapes from the world of her two older brothers and bugs, balls and guns made of sticks. I knew it would be a while before she was actually old enough to sip juice from a miniature tea cup and make-believe her bear was a royal guest. Until then the chair could sit in her room; a throne awaiting its princess.

Shortly after her first birthday my little girl’s life became filled with doctors, blood tests, EEGs and more doctors. Instead of dreaming of tea parties I wondered why she could no longer hold her sippy cup. Instead of anticipating her saying, “I love you, Mommy,” I questioned why she had stopped babbling. How would she ever run into my arms for a hug when her legs couldn’t hold up her tiny body? How would she play make-believe when reality was she may have a terminal illness?

While still searching for answers, our family prepared to move to another state. Gathering up things to sell on a yard sale before the big move, I pondered that little wicker chair that was never quite the right color to match the room. Maybe I should just sell it. After all, my tea party dreams seemed to be fading right before my eyes. But did giving up on those dreams mean I was giving up on Martilee’s future?

Soon after settling in to our new home we got what we had been searching almost a year for. We had a diagnosis for our precious little girl. She has Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder that affects speech, hand skills and coordination. It can also include seizures, irregular breathing, curvature of the spine and a myriad of other symptoms. Martilee is 2 ½ now and her life is filled with physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. She may one day walk with assistance and she is learning to communicate in new ways. An arm brace helps to control the almost constant movement of her hands.

There have been some rough times and I have shed lots of tears. But I didn’t sell that little wicker chair before we moved. It is in Martilee’s new room now. It is as much a part of her room as the antique iron bed and the angel quilt her Grandma Dixie made for her. Just last week, Martilee sat in the chair for Easter pictures. Her brothers, on each side of her, were instructed to “grab her quick” if she lost her balance and started to fall. She looked quite like a princess sitting there with her royal guards protecting her.

I haven’t given up on those tea party dreams, only altered them a bit. Delicate china cups may never be a part of our special mommy-daughter times, but as I hold her plastic sippy cup to her mouth I am thankful for every moment that I have. She may never speak the words I long to hear, but her beautiful eyes and engaging smile help me make it through the most difficult days. That little wicker chair will always have a place in Martilee’s room. Not quite blue. Not quite lavender. My dreams aren’t quite what I anticipated, but just as that chair was a gift to my daughter, she is a precious gift from God.

I need to call Grandma Berta now. About the time I bought that chair she bought an adorable miniature tea set. She was dreaming of special grandma and granddaughter times. It is still sitting on a closet shelf unopened. I think it would look perfect sitting next to that little wicker chair.


Rebecca said...

Oh how precious! Hope the tea party is a smashing success :) I'm sure your daughter will remember it forever. Blessings to you, Rebecca

Heidi (http://journals.aol.com/hwoodred/everyday-cookies/) said...

Very touching journal/story. You have been through so much, yet the only thing I can see on this side is God's love shining through you. You are one special mommie to one special little girl. Hope the tea party was one to remember! (And that you didn't send your photos of it to Snapfoto-or where ever it was that they lost your photos!) {smiles}

Cindy said...

Thanks for pointing me to this. I had somehow missed it. I read it through my tears and am grateful for mothers like you, who love their children and continue to dream big dreams for them! And for trusting them and sharing them with people like me.........who love them too!