This is my happy cupboard. Well, it’s not really a cupboard, more a corner of a shelf in a cupboard, but it’s mine, and it makes me happy and I’ll take that.
It’s not always easy. We all have times when it feels like you are barely catching your breath before the next big thing hits. Sometimes it’s excitement, like the bustle getting ready for Christmas. Sometimes it’s not so exciting, when you are frantically running around hospital visiting and trying to keep it all going. Sometimes you are just numb as you plan a funeral and sorted the loved one’s last belongings.
I hold on to my happy cupboard. This small packet is lemon and ginger tea. I remember first trying it at college as I tried to be a rebel. Of course, half the cafeteria was drinking herbal teas, just to be different from their parents, but that wasn’t the point. I drank it without any sweetener and thought myself alternative.
This packet is the brand of tea I discovered in my second year at college. It’s Irish Breakfast tea and an obscure stall on the market was the only place that sold it. It brewed dark, and strong and kept me awake through the hours of studying. It reminds me of the friends I had there and the good times – and sometimes it even reminds me of the facts I painfully learned.
This is green tea. I bought when I started work. I was trying to balance insane hours with healthy living. Switching brands felt like I was doing something when I was just adding a few pennies onto my grocery bill as a patch over too much fast food and alcohol. It always reminds me of the time the boss found what we had put in what he thought was his secret whiskey drawer.
They all have memories. This is camomile tea which I drank on my first holiday to France and I fell in love with my husband. This is a small tub of spicy chai tea bags, the same sort we drank during the caravan holiday on the East Coast where we couldn’t get warm and my husband proposed, blurting it all out after leaving the ring at home. This is peppermint tea which was all I could manage to drink when I was pregnant with my darling son – it was the only dratted liquid I could keep down. And this is a small box of loose Earl Grey because it reminds me of the first cup of proper tea I drank while I watched my newborn son sleep through his first morning.
This packet of tea in my hands, though, is a deliberate choice. Tomorrow is my son’s first day of school. I have everything laid out already, with the forms completed and the uniform ironed and named. And as I rush through tomorrow morning, I will have a cup of jasmine tea and make another memory for my happy cupboard.