Bubbles are a big deal at our house. James’ speech therapist showed us early on in his life just how much they could do.
He would do anything for these glorious rainbow soap spheres.
We’ve used them to help him say the “b” sound (reinforced by bubble blowing), sign and say “bubble,” sign/say “more,” eventually “more bubbles.” Then he learned to tell us if he wanted them to go “up high” or “down low.” Practicing the lip control and airflow control to blow them himself. Standing, taking a couple of steps, walking across a room, you name it.
Shortly after Georgia could walk, she knew how to make her brother happy by going to the cabinet and getting the bubbles.
The one thing we could never get him to do is pop them mid-air. While other kids frantically chased after them, popping in stride, he would watch them with the most euphoric look on his face, every muscle in his body tightened with intense focus. The only way he would pop them is if they landed on the floor or ground, when he felt their journeys were complete.
The other day, I tried to see bubbles like he sees them. I tried to look at them with his astute eye and intense focus. Letting the rest of the world fall away.
I saw the reflections of the windows drawing in sunlight, interspersed with effervescent rainbows.
I saw the images of myself, James, and Georgia, amusingly distorted in the lighthearted way only a bubble could create.
I saw bubbles that merged together, joining forces as they traveled whimsically toward their next adventure.
I watched them in their unpredictable paths, changing with someone’s breath or laughter or quick wave of the arm.
I know James sees much more than that.
Why would anyone want to pop them?
It’s James’ way- seeing and feeling things on a different wavelength.
It’s why when we pray, he doesn’t want to stop.
It’s why getting out his icons is the first thing he does each morning.
It’s why he reads my emotions like a book, oftentimes before I do.
It’s why when we think he’s paying least attention, he shows us that he hasn’t missed a beat.
It’s a gift.
And sometimes, on hard days, when there’s a royal meltdown when the bubble container closes, I wonder if it is a gift. I know many, including myself sometimes, would call his interaction with bubbles a stim.
And I wonder if as his gut heals and he gains more conventionally accepted knowledge and skills, he starts to treat bubbles the way others would- a game, rather than a mystery.
I will embrace whatever comes, as it does. But I am grateful for the chance to view the simple things in mystical ways.