Blowing Bubbles

00002a9c_mediumThere was a time when I was moon, sun, and stars to my boys. Their days began and ended with me: a morning hug around the neck, a goodnight kiss in the dark.

It was exhausting, but it was also gloriously uncomplicated.

These days their need for me grows more nuanced by the hour. I no longer have to follow their toddling legs around to make sure they aren’t sticking forks in the outlets or finding coins to swallow. Nowadays it’s conversation and shared experience, text and email.

I miss my babies and my sturdy, chunky toddlers, my excited pre-schoolers, but I realized the other day what I miss even more is blowing bubbles.

Remember when a bottle of soap bubbles was enough? When those filmy baubles floating into the air coaxed a smile or a gaze of wonder? It’s been a while since I’ve had that kind of magic at my fingertips.

I know there’s magic deep down. There are layers of love and listening and trust that are building up over time, foundations and steps that will be high enough for them to stand on one day, by themselves. I know those things are vital and necessary and important.


But sometimes it would be nice to grab a bottle of bubbles and see the world light up in those brown eyes again.

Increasingly it is difficult to find things for us all to do. They would rather play on an X-box and I have boxes of my own to tick. The pendulum swings from wildly busy to mind-numbingly not–from hummingbird to sloth depending on sports schedules and homework, travel and school. My (oft lame) suggestions of family outings or trips to the museum are met with half-hearted shrugs or outright dismissal.

I miss the times when just being with me was enough to do. Swinging in the playground,  running in endless circles or digging in a sandbox. The glee is contained now. It still bursts through sometimes, but it has to pierce a thicker skin. Or it could be they are away from me for such long chunks of time I don’t see it as often.

53fa9a98c673904e53b3406b003f659aLife is immeasurably easier. There is quiet, there is peace. There is reasoning. I am exhausted as I watch mothers of young toddlers following them as their little wills go faster than their legs can carry them, mothers ready to soothe a scraped palm when they pitch forward to the ground, who swoop them up and plant a hundred kisses on them.

I miss the magic kisses too.

But mostly I miss the bubbles, the way we would chase them through the sky, their little legs following as fast as their hearts would let them.

I miss a time when most of the magic was me, when the day rose and set with a hug around the neck.


17 thoughts on “Blowing Bubbles

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      1. Ah, when he was little my son so often preferred my husband that I was never the best thing. And of course, there were the years when my husband was old and stupid and annoying, and it was far easier for Son to talk with me… I think now we are both the best thing, the best parents. We only had to wait 20-some years for that to happen. 🙂

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  1. Oh my goodness yes. There were the years when I could join in on video games with our son, but now the games he plays are way beyond my skill level. Now about all I can get him to do with me is an occasional game of Banangrams (in his mind it’s a pity game). Oh and he’ll help me with stuff on my computer or phone. Again, pity. Sigh. It’s just not the same.


  2. Very nice and heartfelt. Sigh. My “babies” are all grown up and have started their own families. Now I get to play the grandparent role, which is spoiling the grand-kids and telling them stuff about their parents that make their eyes go big and round (ie, what THEIR parents were like kids). We went from being the center-of-the-universe to Ugh,-can’t-they-do-ANYTHING- that- won’t-embarrass-me to Mom, Dad, how do you deal with… The only advice that I can pass on is to listen. REALLY REALLY listen, without preconceptions. Sometimes the words you really need to hear are the tiny whispers between the big and loud words. Because those whispers talk of what is deep inside, while the loud words are bravado and projections.


    1. Very true and very wise advice. Do you have what I call grandparent amnesia whereby you forget all the things your own kids did? (You kids never fought! You never talked back, always ate your brussels sprouts). But I think listening without preconceptions like you say is key. And probably the hardest part.


      1. I think my daughters (we had 3 girls) would like that we had amnesia, but alas, we do remember – both the good and bad times. Childhood interactions between siblings plant seeds with very deep roots, and adult relationships are coloured by these subterranean links. As parents, we could witness but we couldn’t always change. That’s the really hard part of parenting – knowing when to intervene and when to stand back and letting things develop. I think our jobs as parents is to provide a safe base from which the exploratory journeys can be launched, knowing of course, that their ship can always come back to the home port. Based on your observations and your writing, I think your boys are fortunate to have the parents they do.


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