Monday, July 15, 2013

Waiting for a Train

Alternate titles for this post: Kissing Anemones, 738 Riddles, Hope ‘Spring’s Eternal, With a Little Help From My Minions. The actual title refers to the Too Much Joy song that occasionally popped into my head, Pirate. Come to think of it, Little A. might like that one! Now how much do they swear…

As the kids and I retrace many of our steps this year, taking the auto train north, visiting my family, and taking S. to camp, life is giving me a crash course in how quickly—and beautifully—they’re growing.
To you, kids!
This year I felt more like a chaperone than a nursemaid. They’ve tackled the whole adventure so confidently, waiting patiently when called for, cracking jokes sharp enough to make me belly laugh, greeting people with grace, and generally rolling with the new.

I cannot get my mind or my heart around how much I like our kids. Of course I love them—but I really like these people! Who knew Adele would become the soundtrack of our car trip? Yes, at ages forty, eight, and five, we grooved to Adele the whole way. And how could we not? Who can pass up lyrics like “Kissing anemones/I’m willing to take the risk”?

Our kids are amazing friends, to us and to each other. Yes, they got a little frayed before we left—so did I, for that matter—but if I’ve got to ask riddles to pass time while waiting for a weather-delayed train, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather do it with. We would have loved to have Big A. along, but we still had fun.

In case you missed that, S. and Little A. WAITED for a LATE train. They did NOT meltdown. They were FUN.

To be more specific, they waited for me to finish packing, drove for three hours or more (we waited in traffic), waited for a late train, boarded, and waited to start. On the train, they enjoyed all the views from the train, the train bathrooms, walking on the train, the train dinner, the train bunks, the train breakfast, the view from the train, the train’s arrival…then they waited.


Yes, folks, for whatever reason, they unloaded our car LAST. By then the battery on my phone had died, so I took this picture with backup equipment, but do you see the vast, empty train station with the kids? Yep. But they waited beautifully!
Empty, empty, empty. (The guy in the shot was waiting for his brother to finish work.)

Most of the time they played at the trainless train table Amtrak thoughtfully provided. Little A. and another family cheerfully contributed an assortment of little vehicles so all the kids could play. It restored my faith in humanity to see all these little kids who didn’t know each other cooperating so they could all have fun. It was A Moment.

Go, preschool communism!
Meanwhile, S. passed the time by practicing her tween-ishness. (At least one—probably lots—more post on that!) I give her mad props, though, for overcoming earlier opportunities for tween-ishness.. When the kids got on the train, they happily unpacked all their toys on the little table. Of course, S.’s favorite Zooble, named Spring, immediately rolled into the crack between the seat and the wall.

Can we get a group “EWWWWWWW!”?

We couldn’t see it or, although we didn’t try TOO hard, touch it. I recommended regrouping and seeing if the porter could find it when he converted the seats to beds. No dice. I recommended regrouping (a fancy word for waiting) until morning. There was mild to moderate pouting, with a chance of slumping and sighing, but it WAS her favorite Zooble. S. gets nothing but praise from me for bouncing back as well as she did.

In the morning, S. took a flashlight (what? you don’t travel with a flashlight?) and a pencil, and FOUND IT HERSELF. It was A Moment.
'Spring' returns to us!
Back to waiting for the train…to unload. Eventually Amtrak did bring our car and we did get on the road. Our drive ran a little long—we waited in more traffic—but the Minions, both Gru’s and mine, saw us through. Finally, we reached a place of hugs, laughter, good food, showers (thank the powers that be!), and lots of comments on how much the kids have grown.

Now, can I Pause them right where they are?

Since we like to leave you in stitches,  here's your rimshot of the day.

S. constantly and graciously deals with comments on how much she looks like me. This was her impromptu response to a recent one:

“I have a joke for you. A girl is walking around wearing really big pants and everyone keeps saying, ‘You have your mom’s eyes’ or ‘You have your mom’s hair.’ And the girl, still wearing the really big pants, says, ‘It’s because I have my mom’s jeans.’”


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