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.
Life 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.