Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

Blue Star Voices

Blue Star Museums, the Windy City, and the Girls

Helen Blake, 6, is thrilled when she creates a jumbo bubble with a hula hoop at the DuPage Children's Museum. Photo by Molly Blake

My two daughters couldn’t be more different.  And while I know not to pigeonhole them by filing them into cutesy categories, there is little doubt that they have different personalities.  One likes blue, the other pink. One is partial to sauce on her noodles, the other is a fan of olive oil and parm. But on a recent visit to a Blue Star Museum---the DuPage Children’s Museum---they were both elated, electrified, and beyond ecstatic. Quite a feat.

Set on a busy street in suburban Chicago, the museum’s Lego-bright colored blocky framework is unmistakable. Walking in, we were met by the cacophony of squeaky children’s voices. The three of us were swept into the first activity room swarming with tots, and their trailing parents. The girls darted headlong into a dark room where they posed, a la Charlie’s Angels, against a blank wall. A bright light flashed and their shadows were momentarily frozen in time. Next up: the bubble lab where they gleefully dunked hula hoops in sudsy water to create mega-sized bubbles. There were plinko-like mazes, blocks, a tunnel suspended in mid-air, and clear pipes thrumming with forced air that shot scarves and foam through its tangled web.

My girls darted here and there. They shouted with excitement, “Mama---come look at this!” Their eyes wide with excitement, their hands busy---little engineers, doctors, or maybe even pilots in training. They crawled, ran, skulked, and sneaked through the mirrored labyrinth and never once did they argue or fight. A respite from being sisters and military brats and a chance to just be.

Growing up as a military child is often viewed as challenging and even disappointing. And it can be. My husband was deployed when my daughter was born, but she’ll never remember that. He’s missed a lot of birthdays and holidays but nothing---NOTHING---compares to seeing my two girls sprint into their father’s arms at a flight line homecoming. Geographical and even political decisions can affect their lives. There are new schools, new friends, and treasured lifelong friends. But there are little moments---like when we walked into the museum and my girls proudly announced that their daddy was a Marine. Those times make it all worthwhile.

There isn’t a large military presence in the Chicago area. In fact, before meeting my husband, I knew no members of our military. And so I appreciate the fact that this museum realizes that there are members of our military here---as we are in every town, in every city. We are as different as my girls but Blue Star Museums unites us all.

Molly Blake is the website editor and newsletter guru for Blue Star Families. She is also a freelance writer. She and her husband, a Marine Corps aviator, live in Yuma, Arizona.

This blog post originally appeared on the Blue Star Families blog. Please visit the Blue Star Museums website for more information about the program and to find participating museums.


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