The giant bottle of bubbles sits just inside the back door, ready to be lugged outside at a moment’s notice. It’s been there for at least a month, slowly losing more and more solution as the days go by.
“Want to go blow bubbles?” My son will ask me, hand on the doorknob. His eyes shine when he steps onto the patio and I plunk down the bottle and an empty plastic cup. Bubbles…They’re so simple, right?
Oh, but they’re also magic.
“What would happen if…” one of us will start, and that’s where the fun begins. The bubble solution is, at its most basic, soap, water, maybe some glycerine. But it’s the perfect medium to experiment with.
“What if we add blue chalk?” My son asked me last week before dunking a broken stick of chalk into his cup of bubbles. “Will the bubbles be blue?” He mixed vigorously and then pulled the wand out to reveal that no, they wouldn’t be any different. But the chalk he found was now damp and the color smeared more brightly on the patio as he etched out shape after shape, brow furrowed as he colored a scene.
“Look! It’s the solar system.” He points to and names each orb and then stops. “There are only EIGHT planets. EIGHT.” He’s very serious before he looks at me and grins. “My teacher said that when she was little Pluto was a planet? But it’s not a planet anymore.” I have to stop myself from laughing. Yes, dear one, I remember when Pluto was a planet.
Would we have talked planets, comets, and meteors without bubbles? Probably. Would it have been quite as fun? Probably not.
Bubbles are magic.
Another day we both were tired. His bedtime was drawing near but quiet time just wasn’t cutting it as it normally was. We needed something more than the normal bedtime story and song routine.
“Want to go blow bubbles?” I asked when my eyes landed on the pink bottle by the door. In a flash his hand was on the knob, toes on the patio. The breeze ruffled his hair filled with surfer-esque highlights from hours spent at the pool, as he handed me the giant bottle.
“Mama. I appreciate that you asked if I wanted to blow bubbles,” he said as he sat down and looked over the lawn. I sank onto the glider and felt the warmth of the golden hour sunlight on my skin as he breathed bubbles into being and chased them across the lawn.
I caught myself remembering when my grandmother taught him how to blow gently enough across a bubble wand to produce the oily-slick spheres. He was two and so proud of this newfound skill, demonstrating it over and over, until I realized that the big bottle of bubbles was a necessity in our life.
As I sat that night and watched, my son slowly worked on blowing the biggest bubble he possibly could. How quickly time moves. Two years ago, he blew his first bubble and now he tries to transform a smidge of bubble solution into orbs the size of his head. I caught myself wondering if he would still be blowing bubbles two or three years from now.
Before I could sit with that thought too long, he sat down beside me. “Okay, mama. I’m ready for bed now. Let’s go inside.” He curled into his bed and wrapped me in a hug.
I made a mental note to keep that big bottle of bubbles by the back door well past when he says yes to the offer to go outside and turn soap and water into weightless pop-able bubbles that float across the yard. This time, like the bubbles we blow, is fleeting. But this time? It’s magic. And so is that giant bottle of bubbles by my patio door.