We Blew Bubbles
One of the greatest joys in childhood is to watch that magical liquid on that transformational wand fill with air and float around defying the very gravity that holds us to the earth. Granted, this is an outside activity and, in the mountains of West Virginia, outside activities are very limited for children due to the weather. So, there are three options. One is to brave the weather, the other is to forego bubble blowing, and the third is to forego calling bubble blowing an outside activity. This decision is generally made based on the adult’s priorities and sadly, these generally do not consider the magnificence of this activity in the eyes of children.
While my grandchildren were in foster care, their foster parents were a bit older than myself and my daughter which may have played a role in their decision to forego outside activities when the weather fell below 70 degrees. Now I do not like the cold (thus the decision to move to warmer weather) but I can suck it up down to about 40 degrees.
Now, while the children were in placement, we sent gift bags at each visit (more about these can be found on Still your Children: Supporting your child during out of home placement. and Making the Most of Visitation: When you try to parent a child two hours at a time ) and sometimes bubbles would be in these bags. One day, at a visit, we were informed by my granddaughter that she had asked to blow bubbles the day before and they had told her it was too cold. Perhaps to them, it was and this post is not about their decisions but rather about ours.
It was a bit rainy that day so we had gone to the mall for our visit. We had eaten, done some shopping, played in the soft play area, and had about 10 minutes left before we would have to put them into the provider’s car, hold back our tears so they would not be upset, and wave goodbye until the next week.
How do you make a memory in ten minutes? You make a mad dash into the Dollar Tree, grab up some bubbles, and stand under the awning blowing bubbles that float off into the falling rain! The pure joy in their giggles, the smile on my daughter’s face, and the approval of the visitation provider are all edged in my mind forever.
Bubbles became very important after those ten minutes. Bubbles showed the children that we would stand with them in the rain. Bubbles showed the children that, even if only for a few moments, everything could feel happy again. I guess bubbles showed us the same thing.
Fast forward several months and countless containers of bubbles later, the children were coming home. The CPS case was dismissed!!! The following Wednesday, we had an MDT meeting to discuss reunification and it was determined that it would be immediate. We had to stay in the state until the judge signed the paper but we could leave from that meeting and pick up the children!!!
Now, due to the advice of so many as well as our plans in place prior to the case, our plan was to leave the state as soon as the children were in our custody and not to return to our home in West Virginia. But, we had to wait on one piece of paper. We were so scared during those hours that the nightmare would start all over but we did not want to be scared. We wanted to enjoy this time.
Thinking back to the ten minutes outside of the mall, if these few hours were going to be all that we had, it was going to be a happy time but being outside, where there could have been CPS stalkers or another threat to our family, made us cringe. We wanted away from all of these threats and knew that we should stay inside until the lawyer called with the paperwork that would allow us to leave.
We refused to feel like prisoners anymore though! My daughter began laughing as she ran through the house and I heard what sounded like an air pump. Immediately, giggles filled the house that had been so empty for the previous years as the bubble machine filled the air in our kitchen. The magic of those bubbles will forever be engraved in our story of healing.
Minute Memories Last Forever!