Without hesitating, the six-year-old little girl with pigtails and freckles on her nose answered, "Coming to your house."
Well, if that doesn't melt your heart, nothing will! Tonight, Emilee's friends, Adam and Jenny came to visit us with their three daughters, Ella, Natalie, and Laura.
After dinner, Hannah and I made a pot of tea, and sat in our kitchen nook... and the little girls wanted to know what we were doing. So we got a tiny tea cup out and poured a little of our tea for Ella to try. She looked in the cup, then at our cups, and said, "Why does it look different?" Well, we explained, we like to put milk and tea in ours. So Ella insisted on having milk too, tried it, liked it, and shared it with Natalie, who also liked it. So the tiny cup was drained quickly and had to be refilled.
They went outside to play, and about five minutes later, Ella came back and asked for more tea... and then ran to the door to announce to her family that she was going to have a tea party with us. So of course, Natalie ran to join us. She stared at the tiny tea cup and said, "Can I sit on the lap?" Hannah said, "The lap? Do you mean my lap?" We laughed as she climbed up, and Ella dragged a chair in, and Natalie pointed to the tea pot. "I need some tea from that, and then some sugar, and then some milk." I love it... she is picking our tea tradition up pretty fast. She used the spoon to stir it carefully, gently blew on the steam, and took a gulp that splashed down her chin. "Here, take some smaller sips like this," I demonstrated how to hold and sip, and batted my eyelashes. "That is how the Princess of England drinks her tea!" Oh, that was all those girls needed to hear. They took turns sipping like princesses, and begged for more... with more sugar.
Hannah explained to the girls that at our house, the first cup of tea means you are getting to know each other, the second cup means you are friends, and the third cup means you are family. "So now, we're family!" I said to them. "We're like sisters...!" But they didn't think that was right. That unspoken expression on their faces said there were too many years between us. So I ammended my statement, "We're like your aunties! Is that ok? Can we be your Aunties like Emilee?" At that they smiled big - they love Emilee a lot, and yes, we could be aunties.
Hannah and I agreed we need to get a couple more little girl-sized tea cups, and we promised them that whenever they come over, we will have little princess tea-parties. After all, our house is their favorite place in Fort Wayne!