May 20, 2009

Mother's Day Tea

Almost two weeks ago was the annual Mother's Day Tea Party at my daughter's elementary school. My friend Tina and I signed up to be co-hostesses, which meant that we had to decorate a table, smile through adversity, and bring enough finger food to feed twelve people.

Upon arriving at the school cafeteria, Tina and I were greeted by the event coordinator, a woman named Suzanne who signed all of her emails in hot pink Lucinda Sans.

"I remember you!" Suzanne said when she saw me.

Once I saw her, I remembered Suzanne too. We had met last summer at community pool. Suzanne grew up in North Carolina, but moved to Philadelphia with her husband and two children eighteen months ago. At least twice a week, I would pull up my lawn chair next to hers and ask her to tell me stories of the Motherland, so I wouldn't forget.

"Tell me again about pulled pork sandwiches," I would say. "And houses that have double sinks in the master bathrooms and no popcorn ceilings."

Needless to say, Suzanne thinks I'm weird. Being from the South, however, Suzanne is far too polite and well-mannered to ever say this out loud.

One of Suzanne's goals for the evening was to teach the room something about Southern hospitality and good manners. Her lessons went over pretty well with all of the party guests, with the exception of Table 5, which was filled disproportionately with kindergartners and women from New Jersey.

"I could eat a buttload of those," said one of the kindergartners' grandmothers in a thick Newark accent, pointing to my dessert tray. "What's in this?" she asked, after taking a bite of a key lime tartlet (I made up the names of my desserts myself...they sound fancy, don't they?).

I obliged by rattling off the list of ingredients.

"What's in this?" she asked, holding up a mini cheesecake. I repeated the same list of ingredients, substituting cream cheese for lime juice.

"How about those?" she said, pointing to my third dessert, a chocolate mousse. I was growing a little tired of the routine, so I told her that she could find the recipes for all three desserts on the back of a can of store-brand sweetened condensed milk.

I wasn't able to count how many desserts the women from New Jersey ate, or in what variety or order, largely due to the fact that I was preoccupied with the task of getting my daughter to take a picture with me. Like most of the other girls in the room, my precious darling was still in shock over the expectation that daughters would actually sit next to their mothers at a Mother's Day tea party.

My daughter and her pint-sized friends reached across the table until their fingertips touched and puckered their lips into sad frowns. "This is so unfair!" they wailed.

"Knock it off," said one mom to her daughter. The daughter refused to speak to her mother for the rest of the evening. My daughter's revolt came in the form of a picture boycott.

"Just one picture!" I begged. "Please!"
It was not meant to be, at least not by her own free will.

At the end of the evening, and with the assistance of two very buxom New Jersey women, I grabbed my daughter and pinned her on my lap.

"Take it quick!" I yelped to Tina, who was holding my camera.

In the picture, I am smiling. My daughter is about ready to spit the contents of her mouth on my lap.


*****
Anyone have any similar tales of anguish?

26 comments

Alicia said...

Too cute! Mine graduated from pre-k yesterday and for the life of me I couldnt get her to look directly at the camera so I could get a "good" picture of her in her cap & gown. Nope, instead I got side shots and her looking away:)

Kelly said...

Right now I just want my daughters to leave me alone for a moment. I guess I should be thankful they want to be with me since they'll soon outgrow it.

Scout's Honor said...

We alas got store bought cookies for our tea, but it was entirely made up for by the large handmade hats the kids made with their Daddies the week before. Yes, we had to wear them the whole entire time. Heh! My 1st grader was happt ot take a pic of himself, me and the ridiculously cute, but gargantuan hat on my head.

Foursons said...

At the end of every baseball season we do a moms vs boys scrimmage. (My husband is the coach every season.) My son HATES this game and I for the life of me can't figure out why! It's sooo much for and I look forward to it all season long. Oh well.

NaDell said...

I think we were spoiled by our Mother's Day Tea. The teachers did it. We just had to show up. NICE!

However, anytime they are singing as a class, my daughter is all the way in the back where I can't get a good picture. Does that make up for the nice "tea"?

Golden Girl said...

What a nice treat for the moms. We had a "Muffins for Mom" morning at my son's pre-school. He served me juice and muffins. He also waited to eat until I was done. They are learning manners with "guests". It was really sweet to watch all the children serve their mommies and grandmas. No horror stories for me that day, thank goodness. Some kids did cry when their mommies left. The photo of you both is beautiful. I love your dress. Take care. - Kiki

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

"A disproportionate amount of kindergartners and women from New Jersey"......LOVE IT!!!!

Musings of the Mrs. said...

I don't get what you mean. Houses without popcorn ceilings? I thought that was only in fairytale land. Hmmmmmm. I am now craving key lime tarts.

KB said...

My daughter inherited the "can't take a picture with both eyes open" gene from my mother. Heaven forbid, I try and get one good one of the two of them! Love your blog and the constant laughs!

The Cranes said...

I just posted about our Mother's Day Tea we had last week. No funny stories, but my daughter decided she was the director of the little musical performance they did! She can be a little bossy at times...

Pam said...

I just have to say that when I first saw that picture I thought you and Camber were wearing matching bows in your hair. Upon closer inspection I realized your "bow" is simply part of a flower on the woman's dress who is standing behind you.

holly shaw said...

When my son was in kindergarten he didn't want me to come to his "holiday program" after begging and pleading of why not he finally told me that I could come as long as I came in clothes that aren't not used also as pajamas. And the other little kids also had to be dressed.

Ms. B said...

It's Lucida Sans. (Not Lucinda)

STAY AT HOME MOMMY FROM MAINE said...

Pictures are just plain hard!! I don't have a specific story about me but the father daughter dance my hubby and friends took our 5 year olds to turned out about as well as your mother's day tea. Who wants to dance with daddy when all your friends are around??? Most of the dads (not those with shy daughters, the ones the other dads were jealous of) were sad and upset and vowed to never go to a father daughter dance again!!! The only pics are of the girls dancing together having a ball!

jenyphrc said...

No, but your remarks about "table 5" made me almost pee my pants! I grew up on the gulf coast of Texas and happily lived there until I was 25, then in a moment of insanity, I married a military man which landed us living in England.. which was exciting and then New Jersey.. where I have been stuck for the last 8 years! So.. I know a little about the difference in cultures... **giggle**

Rachel said...

I am currently in negoiatations with my 3 1/2 year old about taking off her Little Mermaid Costume and to put on normal clothes for Open House at her school. Even dinner out with just mom and dad is appears to be not enough to entice her out for the dress. I guess a few years from now I will be very happy that she is stubborn about leaving on formal wear.

jenhirr said...

At my kinder-garteners mother's day tea, my daughter told me to wear a "dress and high heels" So, I took off my running shoes, dressed up, and sat sat next to three moms in sweat-pants.

Oh, this same daughter begged for someone to come over and give her a "blessing" to help her with the passing of her favorite great grandmother. She repaid our home teachers' kindness by yelling..."can we get this over with please."

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

My 4 yr. old son hates to have his picture made about 90% of the time.

I think I know Suzanne.

Debbie said...

My 6 year old is like that every now and then. Sometimes it's because she's shy and sometimes I think she's hitting that 'oh gosh mom you're embarrassing' stage. Eeesh.

Cookie Brochette said...

I have a priceless school photo of my youngest. She's got a mean, grouchy face and I can't believe there's a photographer on the planet who thought that was a good shot. Crazy!

Cookie B.
Lightbulb Cuisine...real food from an Easy Bake Oven

Jenn said...

Not really anguish, but did the ladies from NJ happen to call breasts "bubbies?" I really get a kick out of that when I watch "The Real Housewives of New Jersey."

jennie w. said...

Somehow I managed to be Mother's-tea-free this year. With six kids I don't know how I lucked out. There are very few things as awkward as sitting on tiny chairs, eating store-bought cookies and pretending not to check out the other mothers (am I thinner? Younger? Cuter?)

Bonnie said...

Camber's face, priceless.

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Anonymous said...

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gifts to pakistan said...

I have three child.I would like to enjoy tea party on mother day in dad house.