It was when I was five and lived in the community of tiny half-dilapidated apartments. One afternoon, I was walking back home from kindergarten with my friends and their mothers. My mother needed to do some grocery shopping for supper and had asked my friends’ mothers to bring me back home along with their own children. This kind of things happened regularly in our community. Since we all lived within a walking distance, it was easy for us to help each other in small ways.
That day, I started having a chat with my friends’ mothers as we walked, and as usual, I got very excited. I thought it would be wonderful if we could spend more time together.
“How about you two come to my home for tea?” I proposed as we walked past the gate of our community. “That would be fun!”
“Well…” The two mothers looked at each other’s face, a little perplexed. “We don’t want to cause any trouble to your mother. I think she’s busy.”
“Don’t worry!” I said with a beaming smile. “She’s not busy! I’m sure she’ll be delighted to have you at home! Please come! Please come!”
My friends’ mothers finally gave into my enthusiasm and agreed to come over for tea. Excited, I marched up the staircase with others behind me, and called my mother at the top of my voice.
“Mommy, we have guests! They are going to have tea with us!”
My mother came out to see what this commotion was all about, and upon seeing my friends and their mothers at the doorstep, she panicked.
“I haven’t prepared anything!” She said. “The house is cluttered, too!”
The two mothers quickly apologized. “We didn’t mean to interrupt. It’s just that she was so eager to invite us that we didn’t want to disappoint her! Don’t worry, we will head back home.”
“Don’t go!” I pleaded. “We can have tea. You don’t need to prepare anything, Mommy. And you don’t mind clutters in the house, do you?” I asked our guests with a serious face. After all the exciting lead-up, I couldn’t bear the thought of the tea party not happening.
In the end, my mother let them in and we had a short teatime together. My mother brewed tea and offered some cheap snacks that were available in the kitchen. The adults chatted for some time, and we had a good time.
As soon as we saw off the guests, however, my mother turned to me and made one point clear.
“Never, ever, invite people to our house without any notice!”
When I asked her why, she said that there were certain things that needed to be done before welcoming any guest, such as cleaning the house and preparing some good snacks.
“Oh, that was so embarrassing!”
My mother exclaimed before going back inside the house.
Though I wasn’t fully convinced by my mother’s reasoning and I still thought a surprise tea party was fun, I never invited people to our house on a whim ever since.