Last year one of my all time favorite acts of kindness was the time I went to a retirement home and met Ruth, a feisty yet very wise woman who shared some fun stories and advice with me…including the secret to a happy marriage. Curious what it is? You can read it here.
And since she left quite the impression on me, I thought it would be fun to pay another visit to the center and check in on Miss Ruth.
Unfortunately though Ruth hasn’t been feeling well lately…I had to come up with Plan B.
So what could be better than talking with one very interesting woman? How about talking with a full room of them!
Together with one of the center’s directors, I hosted a tea party! And in addition to the group of women, we even had a gentleman join us as well!
We filled a large table with cookies, scones, and peppermint sticks. I raided raided my grandmother’s china cabinet earlier in the week and set each seat with one of her tea cups and plates–after all, as a “Briar and a Brit”, I knew my grandmother would have the good stuff!
And what would a tea party be without some dress up? I brought a chest filled with fun hats, boas, and accessories and the entire group was excited to show off their new looks.
We had some great conversations–one of the women was a great, great-grandmother, who was proud to tell me about her daughter who was currently in Africa visiting her grandchildren. Amazing!
Another woman had severe memory issues, but she desperately wanted to remember today and our special event. She asked me to write down my name on a sheet of paper. At the end of the party she came up and wanted to show me something. “I didn’t want to forget you…here’s what I wrote.” I looked down and below my written name, she added a short note…“Was kind and made me smile.” Seeing those simple words on the paper–I was the one who was smiling.
Over the course of our tea party, the ladies (and gentleman) thanked me countless times. “This is just so nice–what a treat!” The tea party was obviously something special, but honestly what I think they appreciated most was just having a new face stop in and spend time with them.
There was something else that they kept repeating…they kept remarking on how much they loved the tea set, how beautiful they thought it was. I told them that I borrowed it from my grandma and they seemed touched that I would want to share a family heirloom with them.
But there was a deeper reason why I was honored to have my grandma’s tea set with me. Over the past few years, my grandmother has also struggled with memory issues. My grandma has always been a rock in my life–the mother hen to my family and one of the strongest women I’ve ever met. Watching her age has been so hard for me.
I couldn’t help think about her and the tea party that we had together just a few months before.
My grandmother is a beacon of kindness, of selflessness, and of unconditional generosity. She has been my role model and someone who I love more than I could ever describe.
Yes, turns out it was much more than just her china that was with me today. Kindness is the real family heirloom that she has given me–and I was so incredibly happy to share it with the group today.