Carrie Bickmore pays tribute to her surprising 2020 hero
Thank you for getting our kids through the toughest year in their young lives to date. You were there during the long days in lockdown. You distracted them when we needed to work with one of them at our feet. You made us laugh when we were stretched as a family.
You were there for me when I needed a good cry but didn't want to worry them. "Wasn't that an emotional ep?" I would say as the closing scenes tugged at my fragile heart.
You may be a cartoon, but I feel like I am writing this letter to a dear friend. It's hard to believe that your little animated family of blue heelers from suburban Brisbane could capture the hearts and minds of my family so wholly.
I think perhaps it's because watching you is like putting a mirror up to our family, and this year we were in a particularly reflective mode. The fun, the mundane, the guilt… we experienced all the feels as time slowed down in iso and the crazy momentum of normal life evaporated almost overnight.
Chilli (mum) and Bandit (dad), the way you parent makes me want to be a better mum. The way you handle disagreements between little six-year-old Bluey and her four-year-old sister Bingo is far calmer and more constructive than any of the techniques I have at my disposal.
Your joyful little games, bedtime routines, ways of dealing with iPad addiction and even the tough topic of death would make for a fine child-rearing manual.
As I heard my kids giggle in the other room watching the "Seesaw" episode for the 100th time while I sat on endless Zoom calls, I was reminded how quickly it all goes and how important it is to make time to play. That's something I am not good at.
Every morning I left for work filled with worry that my 13-year-old son had missed nearly six months of face-to-face school, scared that I might bring COVID back into the home and trying to remove the little hands wrapped around my legs. But, I was able to call upon you.
I looked them in the eye and reminded them that Chilli also goes to work so she can earn "dollarbucks". How refreshing that a cartoon mum has a job for once. Thank you.
Bandit, you saucy thing, how you make women all over the country swoon. It's so nice to have a dad in a cartoon that isn't a buffoon. You remind me a lot of the real-life dad in my world.
He also plays "keepy uppy" over and over, chips in around the house and feels your pain as you put your touch-footy dreams aside while the kids are little.
As our children spent months separated from their grandparents, they loved seeing how Bluey's nana couldn't use FaceTime either. They even made Grandma watch that particular episode so she could laugh along, too. You were a thread connecting the generations during extraordinary circumstances.
I am not the first to confess my love for you, my friend - and I won't be the last. Just know that when I think of 2020 and all its pain, one of the shining lights will be you, and the excitement that echoed through the house when your opening jingle played.
You truly are a man's (and woman's) best friend.
Carrie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm weeknights on Network 10, and Carrie & Tommy, 3pm weekdays on the Hit Network.
Originally published as Carrie Bickmore pays tribute to her surprising 2020 hero