The Boys in the Bubble

September 20, 2021

After a year and a half, Aiden and Peter are back in school. Sher and Yaj had made the pandemic decision to keep them home, so the boys have spent the past 18 months enjoying (I confess, sometimes merely enduring) each other’s company. Their parents made sure they didn’t miss an academic beat (math and writing practice happened daily) and they learned lots of other useful stuff as well. They also grew taller, grew teeth (in Aiden’s case) and grew even cuter (Nana’s unbiased assessment).

But the time has come to re-enter the World of Upper Dublin, and the guys are super excited about it. They both come home eager to spill the schoolyard beans (apparently there’s a boy in Aiden’s class who is just “hilarious” and I gather most of the hilarity ensues from the funny animal noises he knows how to make—would that it was so easy to make adult audiences laugh!) Peter is most enthused about “writing words” in Preschool this year, and is trying hard to sort out the three teachers who divide classroom duty (“Was it Mrs. Betteridge today, honey? Nope? Mrs. Haney? Nope? Mrs. Shapley? Nope? Well, it had to be ONE of them, Peter!” ) After bedtime last night, I eavesdropped from the hall outside their room as the two brothers compared notes. “My principal is a man, Peter, and yours is a lady.” “How many playgrounds does your school have? Mine has two!”

What strikes me most is my grandsons’ innocence. At seven and almost five, they are children of wonder, and find the darnedest things captivating. Last week we had dinner guests, and Aiden sailed out on the deck with his latest cartoon creations, which feature various types of shower heads (what’s strange about that? Hmmm?) This keen interest in bathroom fixtures led to a trip to Lowe’s, where Aiden found Heaven in the shower head aisle. The boys are equally mesmerized by chandeliers and sconces, and just last night asked if the King’s dining room had a chandelier like ours. Mind you, ours is the most modest of overhead light fixtures, but I guess a seven year old’s house is his castle, so he can easily picture our little chandelier illuminating Buckingham Palace dinner parties.

Having gone through this a “few” times, I am well aware that this wondrous stage doesn’t last forever. All too soon Silent and Sullen will come a-calling, along with Sleepy and Grumpy. By middle school, I’m guessing the shower head cartoons will have slowed to a trickle (get it?) and my two will be trying hard to be just like their perception of the cool kids at school. It’s called growing up, and I think it’s highly overrated.

For now, though, I will watch with a pang as the Bubble our sweet boys been living in slowly deflates, and be so grateful that we were able to share some of their childhood’s golden moments, moments even a dark and scary world could not extinguish.




    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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