Our family just spent an amazing weekend in Florida over spring break. We decided to drive for the first time since Brian’s parents moved there over 13 years ago.
The drive down and back was amazing. Both children sat in the back and played on their different devices with relaxed but intent looks on their faces. They rarely asked “are we there yet” or “I’m hungry, can we eat?”
At one point, I recall with fondness, I looked back at them while both were quietly reading library books to themselves. I looked over at my wonderful husband, with whom I had finally shared more than a few comments in passing because of his busy work schedule, and thought “life is good”.
Now, close your eyes and listen closely to an imaginary record needle scratching along the length of a 45 and I’ll tell you the real story.
Farts, with a capital “F”.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that a road trip with a grown man, a twelve year old, and an eight year old is a simple thing.
It began shortly after pulling out of the driveway. Brody must’ve eaten fruit. Allot of it. He took pleasure from shocking us, and at one point Brian asked him if he needed to take a shower or at least change his pants.
Marah, our beautiful newly turned 12 year old, who had spent such focused time in the bathroom getting her hair just right before leaving home, preferred to remain quiet; deadly quiet. Every once in a while, Brody would yell “Crack the window!!!”. She wouldn’t make a sound, and the only evidence that she even knew what she had done was a tiny little smile. Refusing to make eye contact with any of us, she kept on reading while earplugs saved her from hearing our gagging.
Brian was well behaved on the drive to Florida, although I will admit his new obsession with yoga presented some shocking views. Sitting in the driver's seat, I found myself unable to watch the road when he attempted “happy baby” from the passenger seat next to me. Before I could even respond, there were loud cackles coming from the back of the van and the remaining members of the clan were also in full “happy baby” pose. The semi truck on the right gave me a kind honk that jarred me back to the present. In almost 25 years together, I’ve never seen such flexibility in my spouse.
Brody’s stomach seemed to have settled down by the end of our time in Florida, which is good. His father, however, was more than happy to claim the new crown of “Fing” (my new word for “fart king”). On the ride home, we came close to having to stop in Columbia, Missouri, in order to fumigate the car. It came down to this: divorce, or at least he had to stop until we were away from the one place I hate more than any other in the world. Yes, I would rather suffocate then stop near the home of the Missouri Tigers. Brian blamed his attacks on Mizzou, claiming the drive through Columbia naturally brought out the worst in him. I had to agree.
At the end of the day, here is what I will REALLY remember from the drive. It will be the unbridled, from deep in the belly, laughter. My family laughed out loud. They chuckled. They snorted. They cackled, smiled, and grinned. We teased each other, made funny faces, and even funnier noises in response to those simple human acts. It wasn’t disgusting, it was hysterically memorable, real, and all too human; because Brian and the kids made it so.
I wouldn’t trade that drive for a million dollars. Even if I AM missing a few singed nose hairs.