I know we typically live in a little bubble together—in our own world of kindergarten drop-off and preschool pickup, music class and dance practice. We’re used to slow time at home and have had hundreds of chunks in time where life was exactly that. Slow. Mundane. Repetitive. Weeks when one of you (or all of you) had high fevers, keeping you out of school and activities. Postpartum seasons after one of you were born when we all hibernated for a while. Days planned within our busy weeks when I know we all need to just stay home and take it easy.
This bubble is different, yes. But you don’t really know that.
Because here in our bubble, it feels familiar. It feels comforting. It feels safe.
In our bubble, we have enough.
Enough food (I even stocked up on the fruit snacks you like that we don’t typically buy!), enough craft supplies, enough toys. You have a warm bed with lots of pillows and plenty of stuffed animals to keep you company. You put together adorable mismatched outfits, picked out from the abundance of clothes in your closet. You have fuzzy blankets to snuggle up with, dress-up clothes to play pretend with, streaming services to be entertained by.
In our bubble, we are healthy.
You’ve only been with your immediate family members for days now. We’re doing all that we can to keep you—and us—safe from the germs. We stocked up on Gatorade and Pedialyte, saltines and chicken broth just in case. You’ve been fueling your muscles and bones with kale and yogurt and probiotics. (And M&M’s.) We have nice soaps and shampoos to scrub you clean. You’re growing and developing and (knock on wood!) you seem to have left your runny noses and coughs in winter, ready to welcome spring.
In our bubble, we are learning.
You’re watching interesting shows about animals on Disney+. You’re learning about hippopotamuses on the free (and awesome!) zoo cams streaming online. You’re recording yourself reading books to your friends, gaining confidence every day. You’re drawing and coloring and creating—on your own time, in your own flow, as we navigate working and schooling at home. We’re making mistakes and testing one another’s patience levels. You are learning, and so are we.
In our bubble, we have fun.
We have dance parties to the Frozen 2 soundtrack, we create along with Art Hub For Kids YouTube videos, we laugh with our toddler when they tell us their made-up knock-knock jokes. We do wacky voices and make silly faces and wear pajamas a lot. There are crayons everywhere and toys we’re tripping over. I am trying to ignore the mess as best I can, reminding myself that this “extended home time” is not forever. It’s just for now.
In our bubble, we ride the emotional roller coaster.
We are free to express the (very many) different emotions we’re having day-by-day—or more realistically, minute-by-minute. One second one of you is frustrated while the other is crying. Then you’re all laughing which quickly and mysteriously turns to whines of boredom. We’re all exhausted yet filled with manic energy at once. We’re happy but sort of confused. We’re feeling the feels in our safe zone, with each other.
In our bubble, we are together.
When it’s all said and done, we are lucky to be together. So I am cherishing that. We have what we need, which most importantly, is one another.
There are other parents who are called “essential workers” and even though your parents are home with you, those parents still need to go do their jobs at hospitals or delivering packages, off to the firehouse or stocking grocery shelves. They know they may get the germs, but they are doing their jobs anyway. They are brave, like superheroes.
The other day, one of you said, “Mom, can we go to the pool?” To which I replied, “Well, it’s not open yet because it’s not hot enough yet. And we have to wait for the germs to stop spreading.”
You said, “Oh, right. When the germs are gone. I forgot!” You smiled and moved on to making a playdough snowman. I said a silent prayer of thanks, knowing that while you are registering something is different around here, you don’t know the intricacies of it.
We’re in our bubble for now.
And we can’t stay here forever.
I don’t want to, anyway.
Because the world awaits.
And when our bubble pops, I believe it will be even more beautiful.
And even more compassionate.
And even more resilient.
But for now, while we’re here, I’ll try my best to relax a little. To dance a little more freely while we play your favorite song. To read your books even more enthusiastically than usual. To color with you during a work break. To lay with you while I get you down for your nap. To bake with you when you ask me to. To play tag in the backyard. And “I Spy” in the living room. And Monopoly on the weekend when both parents are available. ( )
My heart shatters for others whose bubbles might not be safe and cozy like ours. For the kids separated from parents. For the sick people battling this virus.
So for them, we will be grateful. We’ll appreciate the safety of our bubble. And we’ll stay in it because right now, that’s the best way we can be helpers.