My daughter wished to ride a train for her 6th birthday. I swear it was the coldest day of the year, in fact it was below freezing with a bad windchill. I groaned within myself! I did not relish the difficulty and the stress of trying to navigate the cold, stations, walking, and the train with a 3 and 6 year old. However, I am a mother, and mothers do difficult things for their children.
We got to the front-runner station and I somehow held on to the 3 year old while getting the tickets. Kids under 6 ride free, so I had to pay for my birthday girl, as of that day. When we got up to the tracks, I found that the train only goes out once an hour at this time of the day and we still had 35 minutes in the freezing cold!!!!
Back we headed to the car where I tried to entertain them. Is this worth it I thought? The cold required coats, gloves, hats, boots, and I grabbed a couple blankets. When it was time for the train, we headed back up. It was pretty stressful trying to hold onto the mittened, 3 year old (who never stops moving or talking) and keep my eye on the six year old. Finally we were on the train. The kids were elated!!! It was such an adventure to them as they had never gone on a train before. They squealed, and bubbled, and frankly disturbed the whole train (much to my embarrassment), with their excitement.
We got to the Ogden train station and decided to walk to the Tree House Museum. I thought that it was just down the street, but it ended up a LOT farther. I thought we would never get there! The little ones of coarse had to stop and step in EVERY snow bank, try to break every icicle, eat the snow (heaven forbid), walk on each grate, go off the path, and head in two different directions at once. It was not easy to hold onto them, the purse, their blankets, and watch out for their safety at the same time. (Let me just say here, that I know I am a ridiculous worry wart, but I can’t seem to help it)!
When we FINALLY got to the Tree House Museum, it was closed! No I’m not kidding. They have early hours only that day of the week or something. So, flexible, spontaneous plan b, me, took us to Fat Cats arcade center. We were starving by this time so we went to their grill for pizza. The kids loved it, and finding out it we had a birthday child, the waitress brought hot brownies with ice-cream and tons of tokens for the arcade!!! It was all great except when the waitress reminded me how old I looked by asking if their GRANDMOTHER would like a spoon too! I simply said yes, rather than explaining that these were my babies that I had birthed in my mid 40’s. (My sisters will laugh at this situation, but my mother, who also had a child in her 40’s will commiserate with me).
After the blaring lights and sound of the arcade games, trying to keep them together and “in my sight,” the potty, choosing the prizes, etc., we headed back on the same long walk. The kiddos enjoyed and explored all the way, while I sweat their safety. Just as we were nearly, and finally approaching the station, I saw the train pulling in. No Way! It was impossible to run with two, winterized, “little-ins” and make it in time! Shoot! I did not relish waiting 30 minutes in the cold with the kiddos for the next train.
When we got up to the tracks, I put both kids on the bench in front of me and tucked their blankets around them in the freezing cold. Thankfully, a train approached soon after. (I guess I had misunderstood the schedule). As it approached, another mother asked me if this was the right train and I turned to respond. As the train pulled in, I turned back to grab my little ones, but the 3 YEAR OLD WAS NOT ON THE BENCH! I panicked, then saw him down the platform a ways with the train rolling in. I sprinted for him and of coarse he TOOK OFF, laughing as he ran from me. Somehow, with the super-human momentum of only a mother, I grabbed him and quickly turned back to my daughter as the doors opened.
The sign said to “Hold onto your children as they board the train,” but in all of that chaos, I couldn’t gather everything and everyone well. Some people got on before us, but as my daughter stepped forward to board, the doors closed on her blanket, with her body still on the platform. Plus, she dropped her toy, which nearly fell on the tracks!! Man that was scary!! Some people stepped forward to help, pushing the OPEN button, releasing her blanket and allowing us to climb aboard. Holy Cow, I was shaking and exhausted! My daughter was a bit shaken herself, but after we were seated and the train headed off, we began to relax and enjoy. We even Face Timed, big brother in the Army AIT in Georgia.
As I sat there exhausted with my little ones, I contemplated some big changes I was planning on making. I had decided to take my little kiddos out their amazing, college children’s school and bring them back home with me. Could I really do this? I am an older mother, and these little guys wear me out. I also have a business, and how in the world was I going to run it with them under foot? Yet, many thoughts and inspirations from God and my heart, were telling me, that I NEEDED TO BE THEIR TEACHER AND THAT I NEEDED TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH THEM!!!
I looked at my little girl, so happy with her birthday wish come true. What a curlie, cutie! She came over and climbed into my arms thanking me for taking her on the train and telling me how much she loved me. As her brother bounced up and down on the seat in front of us, Em and I cuddled, looking out the window. We watched as time and the world passed by. The sun was going down and we saw the most beautiful picture out the window. The clouds were hanging really low, the golden light of the sunset was sandwiched between that, and the earth beneath. It was surreal. I looked at this with my Em snuggling sleepily in my arms, and it was as if in that moment, Heaven and earth connected, like a message from God. He seemed to say to me, “You’re on the Right Track!”
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