The Serious Traveler

The second little traveler will spend her life fighting the injustices of the world. She believes in standing up for the underdog and that everyone deserves a second chance (especially the beagle).  As much as she can laugh harder than the other three travelers put together, her seriousness sometimes sets her up for a fall. She believes in organization and planning, her library books are always returned on time, she plans which accessories she will wear to school the night before, and homework is done straight after school at the table while eating her after school snack.

If you are over the age of 15 she will struggle to make eye contact. She will not speak unless spoken to and even then it is done under sufferance. Our friends will compliment her on a hair clip or an achievement in sport and her head will automatically duck in under my arm. It breaks my heart as I want the world to see what we see, but it will come, she will grow and it will come. On the flip side, she is more than comfortable with her peers and has a social calendar comparable to Kate Middleton. I watch her at parties with friends, giggling in animated conversation.

I’m fascinated by the second little traveler.

She also scares the complete shit out of me.

This morning at 6.05 the second little traveler was dressed in her soccer/football uniform and ready to go to school. She had to meet the bus that would be taking her to Dukhan at 7.30. I listened to her hurry her siblings along “get your shoes on – they’ll be no watching the television until you’re fully dressed, teeth brushed and completely ready” her brothers are quick to take action, they know better. They do as they’re told, they’ve learnt through experience. Her older sister wandered by and whispered to me “I’m staying out of her way, she’s a little stressed about the tournament”.

“I’ll load them in to the car Mum, you just hurry up and get downstairs” the second traveler says as I blow-dry my hair. I nod and try not to smile – this is serious, there is no time for smiling. When the second little traveler is serious, we must all be serious.

“I think we’re going to be late, you need to ring the coach and tell him that we’re on our way, and ring Gina too incase she’s already there, she can pass the message on”. Gina is a far more organized mother in the second little travelers eyes.

She hands me my phone and in a steady tone instructs me to “make the call – you need to make the call”.

I feel like a hostage who’s about to deliver the demands “hold that bus now, put 2 million unmarked notes in a black briefcase, do not discuss this phone call with anyone – oh, and do we need to bring a brown bag lunch?”

And then it happens.

She farts. A big loud accidental fart.

We all freeze, I look at the travelers looking at each other for direction. Is it funny? Are we allowed to laugh? A voice comes from the back of the car, it’s the third little traveler.

“Lucky you got that one out before you got on the bus.”

She erupts with laughter, big hard hearty laughter and everyone is laughing. The fourth little traveler has tears streaming down his face, he loves a good fart joke. I look in the rear vision mirror and they are reliving each moment of the fart, the story has changed to her farting on the bus, farting on the field, farting at lunch and farting all the way home. They all giggle and congratulate themselves on their hysteria.

As I kiss her goodbye she reminds me of what time I’m meeting Gina to drive to the tournament.

“Don’t be late” she says

“Don’t fart too much” I reply.

She looks at me sheepishly and smiles “just don’t be late”.

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