Two-Part Invention got me thinking about those little things we do in marriage that can give us so much pleasure if we let them. In our house, I'm the hot drinks-drinker. I've gone through coffee phases but my main standby in the morning is strong black tea made from loose leaves and with a good splash of cream on top. I also have been known to drink a cup of jasmine green tea in the afternoon. And ever since I got a milk frother as a gift from my parents I love making steamed milk with cinnamon and sugar, often as an after-dinner treat.
But my husband, for the longest time, resisted the hot drinks habit (even in college?!) and so for the first part of our marriage I would always make a lonely pot of tea for one. A pot of tea for one can be nice, but a pot of tea for two is better. There's something sophisticated and cozy about starting the morning together with two steaming mugs--at the breakfast table during the week and in bed on the weekends, outside on the porch on mild summer days.
I don't know what eventually wore him down but I'm thinking it might have been my irresistible ability to produce a mean cup of Earl Grey. I got him to try it and he was hooked. It's still not an every morning thing for him as it is for me but on those mornings when I ask and he says, yes, he will take some tea, I find such pleasure in making it for him, brewing it to the right strength and adding a quarter inch of cream and letting it cool a bit the way he likes it.
Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread.
This is the poem Madeleine L'Engle's husband read to her when he asked her to marry him and from what I can tell, the spirit of it infused their whole marriage. Making tea for my husband is a small thing, tiny even. But I think Conrad Aiken had it right. The tea I drink with him is more than tea.
What a gift to live our lives together in this way, don't you think?