Today was better.
It might have been because the sun was shining, or maybe because we went out in the canoe to explore an uninhabited island. It might have been the fact that I had a plan for the day.
Most likely, though, it was the bubbles. It’s impossible to feel bummed when soap bubbles are involved; even more so when the bubbles are the size of a watermelon.
This morning, after breakfast, I pulled out one of the project books I had brought along with us and showed the kids the page titled “Giant Bubbles.” Appointing N the potioneer-in-chief, I stepped back and watched them mix warm water, corn starch, glycerine, baking powder, and dish soap according to the instructions. I helped E make bubble wands out of dowels, metal washers, and string.
Finally, an hour later, we stood on the dock and tried to create giant bubbles. There were mostly failures, and then suddenly there was a huge bubble that stayed intact. It floated on the breeze and then descended toward the water. “This is it,” I thought to myself, “it’s gonna pop.” It didn’t. Instead it bounced off the surface of the lake and floated upwards again, a wobbling globe of rainbow colours.
It’s hard to say who was more enchanted by the bubbles, the kids or I. We stayed on the dock for an hour, gradually peeling off layers of clothing in the hot sun, and worked on replicating that first bouncing bubble. Eventually we got the hang of it; but even after dozens of successful bubbles, it never got boring. We only stopped because it was lunchtime.
Our collective mood changed for the better today. Whether it was the element of the unexpected (which bubble will pop? which one will last beyond the next dock over?) or just the sense of beauty and delight the bubbles inspired that did it, I don’t know. I also don’t care. Bubbles are magical; and whose vacation can’t benefit from a little more magic?