By Jennifer DiGregorio, Inly Parent
It started several weeks ago in very subtle ways. Other mothers of Inly kindergarteners will know what I mean. The knowing looks. The whispering. The secret.
At our house, we talk every day about the “best” part of our girls’ days. Usually, they state “everything.” Lately, Abby had been telling us, “I can’t tell you.” A six year old, however, cannot keep a surprise in, especially when she is working on it. I later learned that “I did not need to bring my own cup,” that “I would have lunch,” and that “it would start at one-three-oh.”
Abby preyed upon our mailman, waiting anxiously for the “surprise” to arrive. Like Willy Wonka with his Golden Ticket, she carefully brought the yellow tulip invitation to me, and she was overjoyed that she now could talk about the special event: The Mother’s Day Tea.
For about a week, I was able to use The Mother’s Day Tea as the rationale for early bedtimes and an extra bath or two. It worked flawlessly. “You don’t want to be dirty for the tea,” “You don’t want to be tired for the tea.”
Abby planned her outfit carefully, a long-discarded Easter dress with a spinning skirt and twinkly-toed high-top sneakers. She arranged for a special hair do, and she was good to go. Was I?
I started to well up half-way between my office in Marshfield and Inly School. In Children’s House Two, we have a few moms who had experienced an earlier tea with an older sibling. They gave us other moms knowing smiles as our seven creative and enthusiastic kindergarteners stormed through the door and grabbed our hands. Each of the children’s faces beamed with pride. From the placard listing our menu to a set of beautiful two-top tables, it was clear our CH2 kindergarteners had worked for hours to prepare for the celebration.
I sat down to a personalized placemat which matched my daughter’s. Abby showed me the pink flower she had potted and watered for me. She held the pottery pieces she had shaped and painted like precious jewels. She served me perfect cucumber and butter sandwiches, banana chocolate chip muffins, and fruit before she served herself. One by one, each student carefully poured iced tea from pitchers into the “tea cups.”
All around me, I could hear the other students and their mothers talking about the sweet music, the delicious food, and the wonderful company. These conversations were highlighted by “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome.” The Mother’s Day Tea, after all, is the culmination of three years of “practical life” and “grace and courtesy” lessons learned and practiced in a Montessori Children’s House.
All of our children shared the work—as a team—of preparing their room and the meal for our party. At Suzy’s cue, each child brought his or her mother fantastic gifts: a laminated list of words describing each “mother” surrounded by a rainbow of art; a beaded bracelet interwoven with inspirational sayings in a beautiful gift bag; a big hug; a juicy smooch.
While the sugar from the iced tea and the muffins eventually kicked in and sent our children into a tickling, wrestling match, we were able to regain some calmness and peace out on the upper field. It was great to see Abby playing with all of her classmates in their element, no holds barred. For me, it also was special to experience the magic of Inly as a mom, having tea, grooving to music, and loving our girl.