When my grandsons, now in their teens and twenties, were around two or three years old, they were enthralled with trains. When any one of them visited, I could count on train tracks and trains snaking around the living room like a giant obstacle course.
There were hills and curves and bridges and turn-abouts. Houses, trees and cars dotted the countryside and make-believe was in full swing on Grandma’s oriental rug.
The first grandson was still in a stroller but just beyond toddler stage when I took him on his first real train ride during the Christmas season. He was beyond excited as the two of us drove into the main train station, parked the car, got him out of his car seat (a major challenge), hauled out his rather large stroller and headed in to purchase our tickets.
The entire time, he stared wide-eyed at the trains coming in and going out of the station, not quite sure what to make of it all. The only thing he was sure of was that he was not going to let go of Grandma’s hand.
We got the diaper bag, stroller, my purse, grandson and me into the station. We then managed to balance everything and buy the tickets for the half hour trip up the peninsula to the next major town. This was becoming more of an adventure for me than I expected. I need at least three more hands.
I was not quite sure how I was going to actually get us on the train, but managed to get things better consolidated before our train arrived. Grandson was being the perfect grandson, which was admittedly not how he usually behaved, but he was so excited he was more than willing to follow directions.
When our train arrived, I lifted him up onto the bottom step. He scampered up the stairs and sprinted into the car while the conductor laughed and gave me a hand with the stroller. The car was virtually empty and my young grandson had chosen two double seats facing each other. He was already kneeling on one seat, with face pressed up against the window and excitedly watching and waving at a passing train. I sat down in the seat facing him.
The train started and the two of us just looked at each other with wide eyes and grins. We were on such a special adventure, without mom, without dad, without big sister — just the two of us riding the rails.
We went by one decorated town, then another, watching cars and people and construction. Such wonder and excitement!
When we reached our destination, we sort of tumbled out, got re-organized and headed into town to have lunch and do some window shopping. I was a little surprised that grandson had become a little quiet and pensive, even with all the Christmas decorations. But, he perked up over his favorite lunch, and then in a toy store where, of course, he got to chose a small pre-Christmas gift.
Then, the reverse trip back, marveling again at all the wonders of the train ride, but the whole time grandson was a bit more quiet and thoughtful than usual.
Later, when reunited with mom and dad, I realized what had happened as, with great excitement, my young grandson relived his day.
Mom, Dad!! We went on the train! A real train! And then we got out and Grandma lost her car so we had to go have lunch and get me a toy and then get back on another train. When we got off, we found her car so we could drive home!