They pack up their trunkies and teddy bears, pack up all of their precious treasures and start the countdown weeks in advance. How many more sleeps until we see Nana? Are we going on the plane today? Will we see snow and rain? These are the tiniest of travelers, ex-pat children who every summer make their journeys back to the lands of their births, or the countries of their parent's birth. Their second life begins when school lets out for the summer. The preparation, the excitement, the plans. Family on the other side are electric with anticipation. Aunties, grandpas, cousins -- all waiting, all counting, all hoping. But this year there is something else crackling alongside the expectation -- something deeper, something darker, something that doesn't taste as sweet as other years. This something has been blowing along in the wind, getting stronger and more sinister. I sensed it after the shootings in Paris, I tasted it when the plane went missing from Charles De Gaulle and I heard it this morning in the soft voice of my 7-year-old. Sitting in the back seat, half listening to the radio on the way to school she heard something that made her blue eyes blink behind her little glasses. An attack in Turkey! Chaos at Istanbul airport. I looked at her in the mirror, I saw realization dawn on her beautiful face. Those big eyes filled with tears. Her favourite boy is from Turkey, she knew he was flying home for the summer on this very day. She had played in his house yesterday, baked cookies with him, played the piano with him. My baby girl is 7, and she has felt fear. How many other children? Chubby legs, grazed knees, wide eyes. The terror of terrorism. Tonight we looked through her class year book and we said a little prayer for every little friend, that no matter where they are the world over, love will win out.
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