Long Distance Tea

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Mothers have a special bond with their daughters. My mother and I have been no exception. When I was little, my dad was a traveling salesman. Mom was a stay-at-home mom, a “homemaker” as she was called back then.

Mom and me 1970-something

Mom and me 1970-something

On days she had housework (our house was always sparkling), Mom would send me out to play with my little next door friend, calling me inside for lunch and again when it was getting dark. Other days, my mom would play softball in the backyard with me, read to me, take me to the park or library, or sit at her sewing machine sewing while I played nearby, always intrigued by her big box of buttons. Other days, we’d drive to my grandparents’ house to take my grandmother (who never learned to drive, in Houston, of all places) to the big farmers market, where Mom would always get me a cold Icee. We’d come back, car trunk bursting with colorful, just-picked fresh veggies and fruits. When it was time to go, my grandparents would stand at the curb, waving, until we were out of sight. I can still see them standing there, blowing kisses, and would give anything to see them there one more time.

As I got older, Mom would take me out to lunch, shopping or to movies. I wonder which movies my daughter will remember seeing with me, something we often do together. My mom was also my scout leader, and taught me how to cook and bake. I owe a lot of my best recipes to her. She also taught me about keeping fit and taking care of myself. She still looks years younger, though she’s in her seventies. Going for lunch is something we still like to do, or shopping in quaint little shops; she delights in picking things out for my daughter who’s now a teenager.

One of my most favorite photos. It was my daughter's 12 birthday, and we'd had a fun afternoon, three generations!

One of my most favorite photos. It was my daughter’s 12th birthday, and we’d had a fun afternoon, three generations!

Living in New England, with my mom down south, we don’t just don’t see each other much. When my husband and I first moved up North, it wasn’t a big deal to fly down to see family, even for a weekend. Nowadays, air travel’s expensive and stressful- a real hassle. Our schedules are packed, my daughter has school, and it isn’t easy for my mom to get away for long, either.

We got to see mom for a short time at the holidays. We drove sixteen hours from Connecticut, and my brother and niece drove up from Texas, driving up the day after Christmas. It was a surprise for my mom and Richard, as Mom hadn’t had both her kids staying under the same roof in close to thirty years. My mom was thrilled. We were only able to stay twenty four hours, but it what worth it to see everyone. It was a short visit, but one of the best times ever!

My mom, my brother, and me when I was a baby

My mom, my brother, and me when I was a baby

Me, my niece, my brother, and my daughter at the holidays.

Me, my niece, my brother, and my daughter at the holidays.

Pajama party! My mom and her "girls"!

Pajama party! My mom and her “girls”!

Other than that quick visit, unfortunately we haven’t gotten to visit with each other much the last few years. So, Mom and I have started doing “Long Distance Tea”.

As a busy mom, I’m always running around doing something: chores in the house, the garden, or chicken coop, driving my daughter to where she needs to go, teaching a class, or doing something involving my interests. Often when Mom and I would call each other to catch up, we’d both be doing something else, distracted. We weren’t giving each other our full attention on the phone. Mom would often sound disappointed when I told her I’d need to hang up and go.

Now, we text each other in the morning, with a “tea time”. Often it’s in the afternoon, after my daughter gets home and I have time to take a break.

I make a cup of tea or decaf; Mom does the same. Sometimes we’ll have a little treat, too. We call at the designated time. I sit, drink my tea, and chat with my mom – uninterrupted with my undivided attention. We catch up, laugh, and trade recipes. I don’t forget to tell her things I want to share with her, something I’d often do when we’d talk “on the fly”. It’s scheduled time, not face to face, but it’s quality time.

My Mom

My Mom

As women, we’re hard-wired to multi-task, and keep busy. With smartphones, people have gotten in the habit of less human interaction, always looking at their devices. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing a family at a table in a restaurant, silent, not looking at each other but staring down at phones. Loved ones are a blessing!

**Here’s my challenge: Schedule “Long Distance Tea,” drink a cup of tea with someone, and use the phone – as a phone.

Until Next time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a comment 36 Comments

  1. What a lovely thing to do! I wish my oldest could find the time to do that even once a week but I’m lucky if she returns a phone call once a month. You are a great daughter!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Awww…maybe you guys can schedule a tea time. It’s so hard to slow down sometimes. Much love to you. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Denise Ross says:

    Wow Nicole, this is a fabulous idea to set aside a specified time to catch up with loved ones long distance.
    I’ve actually started slowing down too. Life is too fast and too much is going on all at once. I’m getting into the habit of slowing down and concentrating on one thing at a time and I find I’m far more relaxed even though I have lots of things to do. Once I’ve finished one thing I move into the next thing.
    I think I’ll take a,leaf out of your words here and begin a tradition of setting a tea time and connecting with my loved ones too. Beautiful idea.
    I dint have my mum anymore, but I do have a special mum and grandmother in law and I think I’ll start with them and add in my other far away family and friends. How much happier and peaceful in ourselves are we when we take the time to stop and savour the time to connect with our families.
    Thanks for the fabulous post and wonderful idea.
    Love that you get in so well with your mum and daughter and really treasure your time together. Truely Rich.
    God Bless you and yours.
    Hugs from Australia xo

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise, I hear ya. I am also trying to do what you mentioned. I am trying to concentrate on one thing at a time and not get so distracted. Taking that “tea time” break is a big help during the week! Schedule that tea with your loved ones, and drink an extra cup for me! Thanks for taking the time to comment and share…means so much. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Dori Troutman says:

    Good morning Nicole! What a great reminder! I talk to my Momma most every day and although we don’t schedule a time to talk, we do make time to visit. Sometimes we talk over an hour, sometimes just a few minutes. But always a sweet visit. And the funny thing that will make you laugh… my daughter and her little family live just down the road and she and I talk EVERY SINGLE DAY on the phone! :-) And I usually see her every day too! But we’ve noticed that when we are together usually the two little girls are right with us so to have private, quality time to talk we usually have to do it over the phone! Funny huh?! :-)

    Have a good week! :-)

    – Dori –

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Dori! I don’t think it’s funny that you still talk everyday on the phone to your daughter! I imagine that is how it will be with mine (I hope we live close by; I’ve already set the rule that she can’t go to college anywhere that I can’t get to by car, lol). My daughter and I text everyday when she is riding the school bus. I have started now that I send her a “funny” – some sort of funny joke or cartoon – everyday. Now the kids on the bus look forward to seeing what funny thing her mom is sending each day. I can see how with two little grandgirls you only get to talk privately on the phone with your daughter. I remember those days! Enjoy, as you know, they grow fast! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Deb Bosworth says:

    Nicole,
    I just love this post. It’s so true that many families are far from their roots then pile busy schedules on top of it and it gets harder and harder to give our loved ones our UN-divided attention. My mom lives in our home now and I still run around like a chicken with my head cut off so I’m taking a social cue from you. Mom and I need to set a date for tea or coffee, or a smoothie ( our latest favorite beverage). My aunt ( who lives in my home state, Nevada) and I do ” long distance coffee” just like you and your mom. We text, set a time and have an actual visit. Even with me being on the east coast we make it work and I cherish those visits with her. I am amazed at the clarity you have of time spent with your mom. What a blessing your memories are. Thanks for sharing them with us, Nicole!
    Farmgirl Hugs,
    Deb ( your beach farmgirl sis )

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Deb! You are so right about the way we are all so busy these days. It seems there is never enough time for everything. I thought as my daughter got older, it would be less crazy, but it seems we are busier than ever. I have to really stop and consciously take a break once and awhile (and I have to learn to say “No” – I tend to say “yes” to everything, but that is a whole other can of worms). I think as a society on the whole we are more that way now, never stopping.

      How blessed you are to have your mom right there with you! I remember reading one of your blog posts where you introduce your mom and thinking you all seem very close. Enjoy a smoothie with your aunt, and give your mom a big hug! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Deb Bosworth says:

    This also reminded me of another fun thing my Aunt and I do. She has visited us here in Plymouth a few times. So every week or so she or I will take a photo of someplace the other has been and send it with the caption. ” Where is Debbie, today” or Where is Karen, today”. I love doing it. It sure keeps us close and it does my heart good to see my home town surroundings. :)

  6. Krista says:

    This is a really good story. It’s wonderful to hear that people have good relationships with their parents. I am blessed to be one of those people. I am always spending time with my mom and even call her everyday even though I only live 30 minutes away. Your idea for long distance tea time is a great way to stay connected with love ones who live far away. Each day as I watch my son grow I realize how important it is to spend as much time with him as possible and cherish those moments.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Krista, How lucky you are to live only thirty minutes from your mom! I am so grateful that I can call my parents every day, and I do try to. My mom and I and our “Long Distance Teas” have become so special. It’s the next best thing to being together face to face. Unfortunately for my husband, his parents live in another country, so the time difference is huge, but they still try to talk every week at least once or so. Enjoy and savor every moment with that sweet baby boy of yours. Time moves faster and faster the older they get! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Beverly Kay Jones says:

    Dear Nicole,
    I’ve just finished reading your latest blog & looking at the wonderful pictures of you, your daughter, brother, niece, and your precious mom. I so much look forward to your blogs & they mostly leave me teary-eyed but happy.
    I grew up in Houston living right next door to your mom and her twin sister, Barbara. They were my childhood friends & share a very special place in my heart to this day. Just wanted you to know that I love reading your words about your mom because I have wonderful memories of her, as well, & of the unique, special person that she is!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Wow! Thank you so much! I have grown up hearing wonderful stories about you! How wonderful to get this comment today! Much love to you! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise, Thanks! It’s just something we came up with to keep in touch better than just a quick, distracted phone call. There is nothing like hearing someone’s actual voice. Text messages are fine for some things, but an actual phone call is the best, don’t you agree? Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Mary Ammerman says:

    Nicole, what a wonderful tribute to your mom who is my dearest friend forever.
    Having tea with her via text is wonderful….Love you, both!
    Mary Ammerman

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mary, I am so glad my mom has had such a wonderful friend as you these years. Love you too! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Gaye says:

    I am really looking forward to this! Although scheduling it will be quite the challenge right now. My girl Sarah has recently graduated and started teaching. She has three babes under foot from 5 1/2, 3 & 9 months!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Gaye, How sweet…a new teaching position and those sweet babies surely must keep Sarah extra busy, but even a busy mom needs a break – even for a quick cup of tea! Have fun! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Thank you, for writing this about our relationship through the years and our new “Tea Time” that has been such a happy time for me and a wonderful way to keep in touch. The years are going by so fast and I have missed you everyday. So sweet for Beverly Kay Jones, my childhood neighbor, to have sent a comment. She and her mother, Helen, were very close, and I loved her mother too. Very thoughtful and great comment Mary Ammerman sent regarding this blog about our relationship and “Tea Time”. She is truly a cherished friend and a great writer, herself. Love,
    Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mom, I am glad you liked this post. Missing you so much, and really look forward to our tea times. Hopefully we will be sharing a pot of tea face to face soon! Love you always, Nicole

  11. Marilyn says:

    Thanks for sharing this loving and moving post. The ladies in your family beautiful. My sisters and I were close to our late mom. We miss her so much.
    Marilyn

  12. Vivian Monroe says:

    Nicole, this is so sweet. Technology can be great but it can also be so overused. I too hate seeing people with their devices glued to them and their attention so focused on it they do not see or hear the people around them. But on the brighter side, I love my ipad and my face time with my grandson, so that he will know who I am when I get to come and visit. Maybe you and your mom could even face time each other during yall’s tea time, be like yall are sitting there together in the same room. :) I am very blessed this month to be able to spend with my grandson and prayerfully moving back home in April to be around all the time. (or as much as the kids will allow, hahaha) Can’t wait to have sleep overs with him at my house. Be BLessed and continue your tea times with your mom, and the setting is now set for your daughter to do the same one day if she is moved away. Neta

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Neta, Thank you! I agree wholeheartedly. Technology is wonderful and awful at the same time. We must use it like everything else – in moderation and not overdo it. I am not a fast food fan, but have you seen Chick Fil A’s new challenge? It is a box (called a “coop”, how cute), and families are told to put their devices in the box on the table while eating. If no one touches their phone during dinner, they all get free ice cream cones. Love it. Enjoy your little grandson; wish I could help my mom get her FaceTime working but so far it hasn’t happened. At least we speak every day and now she texts so we can do photos, too. :) Thanks for stopping by the blog! Farmgirl Hugs to you sweet farmgirl, Nicole

  13. Cindy Cope says:

    My mom and I lived far from each other my whole married life, but we made a point to stay in touch best we could. For the last 8 years we talked every day, sometimes using FaceTime so we could see each other as well. We, too, would grab a cup of tea and spend some time together. My mom passed away suddenly in January and everyday around 4:00 pm I think of her and wish we could make one more call. Life is fragile and very precious. Make the most out of every day you have with your loved ones.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Cindy, this comment has made me cry. I am so sorry for your loss. Sounds like you and your mom had a wonderful, close relationship. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Big Farmgirl Hugs to you. ~Nicole

  14. Ruth Yarbrough says:

    Nicole, I know you Mom treasures every minute of that time spent with you! I know how much she misses you and your sweet family. So many miles between you, but with this “Tea Time” you are close at heart, sharing, caring and loving! What a blessing you are to her!
    Love, Ruth

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Ruth! Thank you so much for those sweet words. Our trip to Georgia was so quick, but hopefully next time we will be there longer, and we can all meet for lunch! Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Cindy says:

    What a nice tradition to have! I’ve lived in FL my married life (34) years and my parents lived in PA. Mom and I made it a point to call each Sunday at 2 o’clock. We would chat about anything and everything for 2 and sometimes 3 hours. When she suffered a heart attack and congestive heart failure, I called everyday to check. When she passed in 2014, I would dread Sundays at 2. For a year or more, I would take a nap during that time since I missed her so much. I still have moments of sad Sundays but it has eased somewhat. Cherish every moment and conversation with your mom. It’s so hard when they are not with us any longer. Wishing you many more years of long distance tea!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Cindy, What a touching story about you and your mom. I am sorry to hear that she passed, and I can only imagine how much you miss her. Thank you so much for sharing. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  16. Sheila says:

    I just got a chance to read your post and had to write and tell you that my Mom and I did this also! It was our little ritual and continued until she passed away. We would look for new types of tea and send a teabag through the mail, then when it came we would both try the newest tea and discuss our reactions to the newest “find”. I miss our silly conversations about books and Masterpiece Theatre and new recipes and gardening. . . I am glad that you have the time with your Mom.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sheila, Thank you for this comment. I am going to see if my mom would like to share tea bags with me, as well! What wonderful memories you have with your mom. My mom just turned 75 – it’s so hard to believe. She is always young in my eyes! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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