One year ago, on a trip to New Hope Girls, I was determined to blow bubbles with our girls. As an anti-trafficking organization, we serve young girls who have endured the unthinkable and unimaginable. One of the ways we walk with them in hope and healing is by how we intentionally facilitate happy memories and experiences.
There is something so therapeutic about inhaling deeply, exhaling slowly, and watching delicate beauty form. The beauty usually provokes smiles, giggles, and laughter – making it the best kind of beauty.
My idea for blowing bubbles was also was in part because it is something I like to do with my own children. It makes me happy to share some of our favorite things with my amiguitas at New Hope.
A Memory Making Mission
On that trip, one of our “bigs,” Sabrina, walked with me to a toy store and we scooped up dozens of individual tubes of bubbles. I threw in a couple hula hoops too, just for a bonus element of fun.
Once we returned to the house, we enjoyed the simple childhood pastime with the girls. Racing and chasing their bubbles. Gently popping them. And of course, blowing them in each other’s faces and shrieking with delight over the silly sensory experience!
Fast forward a year later, to my most recent trip to New Hope Girls. One of my little friends walked up to me and sweetly asked, “burbujas?”
My Spanish still has a long way to go and it took me a minute to remember what that word means, bubbles.
As I realized what she was asking for it dawned on me that the memories we had made a year prior had stuck. She wanted to blow bubbles together, again. That realization flooded my heart with gratitude. To think, our time together was that special for the both of us.
What did I do next?
I get the privilege of being like an auntie – or Tia – to these precious girls. My role with our organization is stateside and it means that twice a year I get to come visit and bring a whole lot of fun with me! That means I did exactly what any Tia – or auntie – would do. Off to the toy store I went, in pursuit of more burbujas.
I felt like I won the lottery when I found not just bubbles – but bubbles with unicorn figurines on the cap. Not just any ol’ unicorns either – one option was a pink unicorn! I was delighted because I know my little friend loves everything unicorn and all the better if it can be pink, her favorite color.
To Be Known
I returned to the house and passed out bubbles, letting everyone pick their favorite color option. But when it came to her, I handed her a pink one.
Normally, I would let a child choose, because getting to make choices is fun! But for her, I wanted her to know I intentionally picked something she would love.
“¿Quieres rosada, si?” You want pink, yes?
As she stretched her hand out to receive her pink unicorn bubbles a sweet smile emerged on her face. She nodded and gratefully received the gift. She quietly savored her new bubbles, turning them over in her hand.
The day carried on and I spent much of my time in our workshop, updating processes and collaborating with my amazing coworkers. But before leaving for the day, I went back by our Safe Home and checked in with my little friends. My unicorn-loving buddy came up to me and asked, “how did you know I like pink?”
“Because I know you. Even though I live in the United States I ask about you often. Joy sends me photos of you and keeps me updated on how you are doing. And, when I am here, I notice what you like. You have a big pink unicorn in your room. Your birthday party was all unicorns too! I also see so many pictures of you in pink. So, I thought you would be very happy with pink unicorn bubbles.”
She smiled so big. Huge. It stretched across her face as she considered all that I shared.
To See and be Seen
It feels so good to be known, doesn’t it? To be seen and noticed.
Even more beautiful is to experience being “seen” in action, through acts of care or thoughtful gifts. It affirms that in a big, vast, and complicated world you are worth acknowledging for the unique person you were made to be. Being “seen” is affirmation that you are valuable – down to tiny quirks and preferences that make you unique.
As good as it feels to be seen, I think it feels equally good to see others. Knowing my little friend fully understood the intention behind my gift made my heart soar. I felt the big love between us.
Hold space to see and be seen by others. That type of interaction celebrates connection and care. Be intentional with how you approach important relationships and be purposeful in the gestures that will affirm their value.
Simultaneously, give others the opportunity to know you in detailed and unique ways. If you also love pink unicorns, make sure those closest to you have an opportunity to know that about you 😉 We all have quirks and unique qualities that set us apart from everyone else. When others know these things about you they have an opportunity to know you personally and love you well.
Allowing others to see you could extend to an even deeper level, involving the tough stuff and struggles. In your transparency you create a pathway for authentic connection. Invite others into the intricacies of what makes you, you.