The last time I blew bubbles was with my three-year-old daughter, Daisy. I had just picked her up from daycare, where she had actually already spent the entire day blowing bubbles with other three year olds. But they gave each child a small container of bubbles to bring home, so they could each share the fun with mom and dad. She was so excited to show us her bubbles, she spent the entire drive home from day care jumping between singing “I love bubbles, I loooovve buuuuuubbles,” and asking, “can I blow bubbles now, mommy?”
I would look at her in my rear view mirror, and although I totally wanted to tell her yes, let her blow all the bubbles she wanted, I knew it was a better option to say, “You can blow bubbles as soon as we get home, babygirl.”
She would respond with “okay, mommy,” and went right back to singing loudly and off key about the bubbles, shaking the bottle from side to side in the process. As we pulled into the driveway, she sang one last chorus the loudest she could. I turned off the car, walked over to her so I could unbuckle her from her car seat. “I blow bubbles now mommy??” she asked, sure that I meant that the split second she could see home, she would be able to blow bubbles.
“Let’s go into the backyard,” I said, “we can blow bubbles with Lucy.” Lucy was our 2-year-old German Shepard that we had gotten as a companion for Daisy.
“Okay, yeah!” And before we could even get to the door, she was shouting, “Lucy! Lucy! Come blow bubbles with me, Lucy!” She ran through the house, and Lucy ran up to her, careful to stop before they collided. As Lucy and Daisy walked through the house to the back door, I grabbed a much larger bottle of bubble from a hidden location that Daisy didn’t know about. Really, they were just in one of the cabinets that we made child proof so she couldn’t just go through it. I set the jug of bubbles on the counter where she could not see them, and opened the back door, telling her “go outside and blow your bubbles.” I grabbed the hefty jug of bubbles, and followed them out into the backyard. She ran out as a three-year-old does, with zero balance and absolutely no grace, but somehow still capturing the attention of both me and the dog. She got out to the center of the yard and stopped dead in her tracks. As she ran out, I sat down on the porch, and set the jug strategically behind myself.
She went to open up her bubbles, excited to finally be blowing bubbles, only to realize that she could not open the container. She turned around, ready to start crying because obviously the world is ending. She looked at me and said “it won’t open.”
“Bring it here,” I told her, and she walked over to me, much less excited. It’s amazing how sometimes their emotions react like the flip of a switch. I took the bottle of bubbles from her and twisted off the cap for her. With that, I turned the switch labeled ‘excitement’ back on in my three-year-old and she took the bubbles back much faster than she handed them over. She started to run back to the center of the yard but only got about halfway there because she can’t actually multitask yet, and she had to stop running to blow bubbles.
I got up and turned on our backyard lights, which consisted of strands of white lights like those that you put up around Christmas that ran along the cover for our porch. The sun was low in the sky, so though there was still some natural light in our backyard, but I wanted there to be more. As I walked back towards Lucy, she blew bubbles and then ran to the center of the yard and blew more bubbles. The sight was something off of a brochure you find talking about how great the town is to raise kids.
As Lucy continued to blow bubbles, they flew up gracefully with the little bit of wind and caught the light of the sun within them. Just a small glint of light, reflecting off the edges of the balloon, creating a small rainbow on the outline. It was as if everything was perfect inside this little bubble. And before I could completely characterize what I was looking at, Lucy jumped up and popped the bubble with her finger. As she continued in this pattern of blowing and popping bubbles, her father got home. He snuck up behind me, wrapping his arms around my stomach, and giving me a kiss on the cheek before running off to play with Daisy. Matthew loved that little girl more than anything.
“Matthew!” I called out, stopping him midstride. I handed him a wand from the large jug of bubbles. He took the wand just as Daisy turned around and realized her dad was home. She had been so engulfed in her bubbles that she didn’t even hear him come outside, or realize that Lucy had already left to greet him. As she turned around, he began to create these massive bubbles with the wand. The expression on her face was one of awe, as if she had never seen something as amazing as this large bubble that daddy had created just for her. In a more delicate fashion, she placed her whole hand on the side of the bubble and pushed it upward, watching her reflection float up higher and higher until it burst on its own.
“Elise!” Matthew yells, “Bring the bubbles over here.” He had run out of bubbles on his magic wand, and needed more to keep the fun going. As I walked out to the center of the yard, I couldn’t help but notice the genuine enthusiasm displayed not only on Matthew’s face, but in his eyes. As Lucy blew bubbles towards her father, he showed her almost as much excitement as she had originally displayed for blowing bubbles. I handed Matthew the bubbles and continued to watch as Matthew, Lucy, and Daisy interacted with each other and the extraordinary bubbles.
As I glanced at my watch, I realized it was six o’clock. Though it was a Friday night, Lucy still needed to eat a proper meal at an okay time. “Matthew, I’m going to make dinner,” I said. He responded, “okay, sweetie,” without being distracted from amusement in front of him. As I went inside to fix dinner, I couldn’t help but to think about how much I love their relationship.
Matthew has always loved our daughter. The relationship that Lucy has with him is beautiful. I remember, about two months ago, the live action Beauty and the Beast came out in theatres. Belle is her favorite Disney princess. So Matthew surprised her with her very own Belle dress and tickets for the second weekend it was out. On the day of, he helped her with her hair and made sure she was as ready as she could be. He filled her Belle backpack with snacks and her favorite candy, and he got his blue suit out and put it on, and off they went. She was so happy. She spent the next two days telling everyone about it. All of her daycare workers knew all about her weekend. Her fourth birthday is in 3 weeks and though Matthew hasn’t mentioned what his plans are, I know he has something in mind.
I finished dinner and set up the plates for the three of us on our little round table. As I walked outside, I could see that they were still immersed in the bubbles. “Matthew, Daisy, dinner is ready. Come on inside.” As I was saying this, Matthew had just blown an enormous bubble but did not let it go, and instead balanced the bubble on the wand. It was as if they were in they were in their own little world. I could see the disappointment on her face as she figured out that this meant that they couldn’t blow bubbles anymore.
“Do we have to??” Daisy asked. “Yes, we have to go eat,” Matthew chimed in. “But I want to blow more bubbles!” she said, with the stomp of her foot. “We can blow bubble more tomorrow baby girl,” I reassured her. “Promise?” she asked. The promise of tomorrow was enough to stop her tantrum dead in its track.
“We promise,” Matthew confirmed, and he held his pinky out in the process. Daisy connected her pinky with his, and came over to do the same with me. She focused intently on the two pinkies, positive that this was the most important promise she would make today. Because when you’re three years old, keeping promises is important, especially pinky promises. As we walked back towards the house after following Lucy, Daisy plopped herself in the middle of us and reached up to grab both our hands, no longer angry about having to go eat dinner. We swung her up onto the porch, and we made our way into the house to eat as a family.