My mom, a seasoned Army wife of 22 years, once told me the story of an Army tradition lovingly known as “the little red teapot.” A fellow Army spouse of hers would gift new military families a little red teapot as their wedding present. Along with it, she passed on a written story of the significance of this teapot. She tells the story of how when she and her husband were PCSing all across the country, she immediately felt as if her new house became their home when that little red teapot was on the stove. To her, this little red teapot was a common thread through all of her houses, symbolizing comfort and peace in a completely new place. As she and her husband sponsored new service members, this Army wife ensured that everyone got their own little red tea pot to place in their new homes.
Fast forward 25 years and my husband and I are at our first duty station. I made my first Army wife friend. She had a green thumb and her beautiful home was flowered with lush houseplants throughout. Her place was one to envy. One of her most thriving plants was a pilea, also known as a Chinese money plant. Pileas are known for their layered, bright green, coin-shaped leaves. My friend’s pilea had sprouted tiny little “pups” which she propagated (plant mom speak for “repotted”) and gifted to me.
A few short months later, PCS orders sent our families in separate directions. I moved my pilea from Georgia to Kentucky in the front seat of my car. The pilea was the first piece of home I set up when handed the keys to our new home. My own little red tea pot.
My pilea is thriving and budding its own little pups. I’ll gift these to my friends here and tell them the story to keep the tradition going. As our community of military spouses grows, so will – quite literally – the pilea we take along with us. This plant has become my own version of the little red teapot – a gift that can be shared over and over again with milspouse friends and an instant symbol that you are home no matter where you are.