Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Can I tell you a backstory? Can I preface it by talking about how indescribably wonderful my friends are? Is it possible to preface a backstory?

I think I've established that I have really incredible wonderful friends. Some people win contests. Some people are gifted in music or sports or scrapbooking. Me, I've managed to find the cream of the crop and make them my friends. They're too wonderful to turn me down.

Backstory: A couple years ago, when I was pregnant with Gemma, the Exquisite Elizabeth took me to tea. When she made the offer, I was both excited and nervous. Tea? How quaint does that sound? Tea? Am I going to break everything and end up sprawled on the floor and kill the Exquisite Elizabeth with embarrassment? It was with nervous excitement that I fancied myself up and met her for tea at The Brown Palace. I'm going to wait a second while you click that link just to see what the place is like. Sorry, what the Palace is like (photo gallery).

the view, looking up from our seat

The tea was way more than I had even anticipated, mostly because I didn't know what to anticipate. As we sat there sipping tea and munching on tiny delicious sandwiches and heart-stopping scones and swoon-inducing desserts, I vowed that when Ainsleigh turned eight, I would bring her back here. I was in heaven. Why have we stopped having tea time? This would not be the first, nor even the twelfth time I've pined for the upper-class of Jane Austen's time. *sigh*

So, back in November I was trying to figure out what to do that was special for Ainsleigh at Christmas time. I was considering taking her to tea then but, duh, only a fool would try to call The Brown Palace at the end of November to get a reservation for December with all the decorations and such. (sidenote - I'm a fool) I had mentioned to the Exquisite Elizabeth that perhaps I'd try to get us in, but then quickly backpedaled when I heard the reservations lady's scorn at my request. "For her birthday," I told the Exquisite Elizabeth who loves an excuse for tea.

Looking down at teatime from 6 floors up

A couple months later, Joel's job situation turned upside down. The Exquisite Elizabeth emailed to ask if we were still planning tea. I guess not, I replied. Bummer. Maybe another time.

About a month later I was driving the kids to pool and flipping through the mail at stoplights, as I generally do. An envelope, bearing the seal of The Brown Palace fell into my lap. Confused, wondering if I had inadvertently made a reservation, I opened the envelope. Imagine the flurry of emotions that swept over me as I beheld a giftcard and note indicating that the Exquisite Elizabeth and the Sensational Shira wished Ainsleigh and myself a glorious afternoon tea in celebration of her 8th birthday.

Tears poured down my cheeks as I managed to drive us the rest of the way to the pool. "Why are you crying," Donovan asked. At first I could only shake my head, then whisper, "Because we have friends who know how important this was to me. And they are making a dream come true." I didn't even care when I got double-takes as I walked into the rec center with a red nose and tear-streaked face.

When I explained what we were going to do, Ainsleigh was ecstatic. "Can we curl my hair?!" Absolutely. Donovan was a little bummed he couldn't come. More than a little, actually. I tried to explain that it was a really girly thing to do, but he had heard "tea" and "scones" and "DELICIOUS" and didn't want to hear anything else. Tough luck, dude.

So last Saturday was our tea date. The Exquisite Elizabeth and her Charming Charlotte joined us and it was everything I had imagined and more. Even in the restrooms, it's gorgeous. "It's so fancy here," Ainsleigh breathed in awe. "I KNOW!" I squealed.

She was delighted with the sandwiches (especially the chicken salad, though there was also cucumber and a curry egg salad. why yes, we'll take another plate of sandwiches, thank you! sidenote: generally I don't enjoy eggs. I NEVER enjoy egg salad or deviled eggs or, well, really any eggs cooked by others. But this egg salad? Was out of this world. I ate three of those little things and am now furiously scouring the internet for a recipe) and loved the scones and savored the desserts. But the best thing was to see her pour the cream into her tea and lick crumbs off her fingers and hear her reverently say, "I love this," while waving her hand to encompass the food, the hotel, the finery of it all.

Dream come true, all of it. I have phenomenal friends. I am feeling keenly grateful. It was something we will never forget.


Lisa said...

I got a little teary thinking of your Exquisite Elizabeth. So glad that you have cream-of-the-crop friends.

The Johnson Family of Colorado said...

Sarah, how fun. I need to do this with Laura. My favorite picture is you and Ainsleigh at the very end. I would send that one to the Brown Palace. :) It is so brochure worthy!


loewymartin said...

What an incredibly sweet thing to do! Your write up has me all teary and the pictures are gorgeous.