01 August 2006


I always seem to find bubbles on my birthday.

Last week I turned 33 and sat five rows from a velvet-curtained stage, sandwiched between my husband and two little blonde girls on booster seats who kept switching places. Before us was a party of dancers in colorful panty-hose suits who appeared to lack skeletons. They were somersaulting over each other’s heads, galloping through hoops twenty feet in the air, and balancing chandeliers on their foreheads while assuming the dead cockroach position. It was magical to be at the circus, and I was surprised at how often my mouth fell open in amazement and how genuinely I laughed when a cat bride and groom came rolling along in a stagecoach pulled by a poodle.

This wasn’t a circus with juggling clowns crammed in a Volkswagen, or tightrope acts with roaring tigers; it was a sophisticated circus. A dance of acrobats. Ballerinas who could fly and twirl from satin ribbons high above the crowd. [The cat wedding was just a bonus.]

Then my favorite part happened: bubbles began to float down from above and fill the theatre as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” played. I lost interest in the dancers swaying on stage and became enraptured by a rain of bubbles drifting toward my head and vanishing into my skin. I felt peaceful and happy, caught up in a sense of wonder that only finds me once in a long while, when all the distractions of life dissolve. I became like a seven year old again, curled up in my Crayola sleeping bag on the living room floor watching The Muppet Show while my sister braided my hair.

There was also the time that we almost burned the kitchen down. My sister and I were attempting to cook a chocolate mousse recipe we’d seen demonstrated on our favorite show, ZOOM. Our babysitter must have been in another room talking on the phone as we knelt on chairs and stirred away bubbling pots on the stove. The details are vague, but I remember that a dishtowel caught on fire, and somehow the glass coffee pot exploded and there was chocolate pudding everywhere. That was a night full of distractions.

A few years ago, some friends took me to lunch in Franklin for my birthday. Afterward, we walked around the square looking at the shops. I was wearing a black dress and a turquoise necklace and I remember it being a really good day. We walked along the sidewalk for awhile, eventually coming to the shop that made homemade soaps and fizzy things for your bathtub. The smell of lavender and roses drifted outside and mixed with the bubbles floating down from above the doorway. I stood there and popped them with my fingers before they could land, my head tilted back to watch them bouncing toward me.

Sitting at the circus, being pelted by soft bubbles, I thought of an idea. One January when our little kid has a fifth birthday or so, I will bring a bubble machine home through the winter snow and will fill our house with the fragile orbs to celebrate. And maybe, hopefully, just like our child, I will find myself still caught up in the magic of them too.


Jenni said...

I love bubbles, too. So does Harley - have you ever tried them on Mia? You'll be the best Mom ever if you get your kid a bubble machine!

Lauren said...

is this the second subtle pregnancy announcement i'm reading on a nashville blog in 2 days time? are you guys expecting a baby in january? if so, congrats! (and wishes for an entirely sick-less pregnancy!!) curious, lauren

jason said...

happy belated birthday, cousin! hope you had a great one. love, jason

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