Tea Ceremony

Yesterday, we took the family to the San Diego Botanical Gardens for the day. Since we’re members, we had been there before, but this visit was something special. They were having a celebration of Asian arts, and the highlight of the day was a chance to watch a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

It started off with a basic description and then the two incredibly nice instructors performed the ceremony while about 15-20 people watched in the audience. It was incredibly cool to see such a sacred and interesting tradition.

The highlight for us came after the initial ceremony was complete. The audience was invited up to participate in the ceremony if they wished. Military Gramma was very excited for the opportunity, and Princess decided to head up there with her. They ended up 2nd in line.

The lady that was preparing the tea was kneeling on a small platform in the middle of the room. While she was preparing the tea for the 1st person, my wife and I decided that it was safe to look away for a few minutes, so we started reading a brochure that the presenters had handed out. At one point, I happened to look over at Military Gramma and noticed that Princess was no longer standing beside her. This immediately got my daddy senses tingling, so I immediately scanned the room for that tell-tale head of blond hair.

When I found her, I just about fell out of my chair. She was sitting on the stage next to the lady that was preparing the tea. My pulse immediately hit triple digits and I’m sure my entire face became flushed. I nudged my wife to show her, and I could immediately feel the tension rolling off of her. There’s no way that our 5 year old little girl was disrupting an 800 year old ceremony!

I went up to ask my mother what happened, and I found out to my eternal delight that she had actually been invited to sit there and observe. I told my wife this, and we both started to breathe again. After collecting ourselves, we started watching her, and we were amazed with what we saw. She was sitting there like a perfect angel. She was being incredibly polite, and she was very intent on what she was being told. When the lady talked to her, Princess would talk back in a very quiet and respectful voice. It was almost like she was showing reverence for the incredible opportunity that she was being given. If you would have put her in a Japanese-style dress and moved the tea equipment in front of her, she would have looked perfectly natural. In short, she was not acting at all like a 5 year old.

It’s moments like those that make me realize how incredibly fortunate I am to be a father. Those fleeting instances where you are able to see how your kids will grow up (and like what you see) are amazing. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing one of your kids actually displaying all of the traits and values that you have been trying to instill. To be perfectly honest, it took my breath away. It was incredible.

After it was all said and done, the instructor actually asked us if it would be ok to take some pictures with Princess. I guess she must have been as impressed with her as we were. Whatever the reason, it was a pretty special occasion for all of us.

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