Several weeks ago, a fellow Preschool mom invited Toddler and me to a tea party. Not just any tea party. The Madeline Tea Party at the Carlyle. Though Toddler does not know much about Madeline and I do not know much about tea parties at fancy hotels for little girls, we accepted.
This morning, much to my surprise, Toddler let me dress her in a cute plaid jumper and white turtleneck and black tights. Those of you who know Toddler know she is partial to sweats and jeans and Ugg boots much like her mother. She even agreed to forgo her puffy pink "bat coat" (duh, it helps her fly) and wear her gray wool coat with mirrored buttons. Off to the Carlyle we went. Skipping. Actually skipping. Both of us.
In the lobby, we met up with Toddler's two little friends and their mothers. The little girls held hands and giggled, and pranced around in their party clothes.
When it was time, we entered Bemelmans Bar where my parents used to go once upon a time to listen to jazz. The historic New York space is blanketed in a lovely mural by Ludwig Bemelmans, the author of the famed Madeline books. We learned a bit of trivia, that Bemelmans and his family stayed in the hotel and to pay for their accommodation, he painted this fabulous mural. There were balloons. There was a piano player.
The six of us congregated around a small table. We moms sipped coffee and the girls slurped apple juice while bouncing in the banquette. All of us sang along to timeless songs. One by one, we trooped our little girls up to the buffet, a magical spread of breakfast food and sweets (tiny cupcakes, bowls of jelly beans and M&Ms and gummy bears). We piled plates high and placed them in front of our girls. And what did sweet Toddler choose from the fancy fare? Fruit Loops. That's my girl.
With more sugar, came more dancing. The girls stood in the banquettes and jumped up and down. We placed them down on the carpet and they ran around, twirling, hopping like bunnies, practicing unique "yoga moves." Every so often, they would run back to us and say hello and grab a bite of bacon or a fistful of jelly beans.
By the end of the tea, there were several girls lying down on the carpet. Rolling around. Giggling. Whimpering with exhaustion. Wait, my child was the only one whimpering with exhaustion. And I scooped her up and held her on my lap, kissed her rosy cheek. I asked her if she had fun and she smiled and nodded.
Yes, Mommy, she said, rubbing her eyes.
Good, I said. Me too.
A big thank you to my new friend, mom to a certain adorable Halloween Madeline, for inviting us to the party. It was a fun morning (even if we did not actually sip tea). It was a morning I think Toddler will remember. One that I will remember. It was a morning that made me realize something: I would like to be a little girl again. Even just for a few hours. Even just for one charming tea party. Maybe it sounds silly, but I would like to skip around, holding hands with new friends, oblivious to a bigger world, reveling in simple things, good things, like stories and sweets and songs.
Do you ever miss being a kid?