A commuter train passes behind our house every hour. It whooshes by quietly with a notion all is working right in the world. The commuter train is dull and boring. My husband can attest, he has taken it into NYC for twenty years. But one day we brought five children on that same commuter train, and suddenly everything was different.
As the train crept into the station a light, high on the engine declared its arrival. Squeals of delight and pent up excitement forced our grips tighter to five little hands as they waited in the cold. When the train stops the doors all open in sync and let off a loud blasting sigh. The children were frightened at first.
Children do not understand leaving and entering passengers or time schedules. They jump over the gap and rush in, looking at every single part, wondering what to do next. This is their train now; their adventure! The seats are red and silver. We guide them through cars, trying to find a spot for them to move around and talk facing each other. Their excitement cannot be harnessed. The doors close. They are not belted in like they are in an automobile. The sense of freedom is exhilarating and they look at the grown ups in an innocent yet wicked grin.
The train inches slowly out of the station. The engineer has seen our entrance and comes to our spot.
“Do you want to sound the horn?” He asks.
Only two are brave enough to go. As the train hits the intersections where red cross lights are blinking for cars to stop, the horn sounds in the distance a bit longer and more erratic than usual. The two return with their eyes as big as saucers. We then watch as the train picks up speed and scenery speeds past the park, then glides past the back of Grandmas’ home.
“There is Grandma’s house! Hello Mommy and Daddy.” The children all wave but it glides by in a blink.
Our house looks odd from that view. It is the opposite view from what we see every day.
The children notice everything. They point and chat together. The blinking red lights at intersections, the bridges, the sounds of the intercom, satellite dishes, other station stops, tracks and faster trains as we feed into a larger city track–clickity clack-swoosh. They want to touch every hook, every button, every shelf. They stand at the window and watch and watch and watch. They don’t want to sit. Bravery sets in to move seats, to wander, to discover more. They follow each other. The conductor comes for tickets. Even the tickets are magical as the hole puncher clicks through the funny paper, making marks. He hands the tickets back.
We get to our destination to once again watch the doors open in sync and let off a whoosh. We wait for awhile and watch people get off then on again.
The doors close and we once again return back the same way we came.
They are pros now.
Fruit snacks and Vege straws make a delicious picnic on a commuter train.
One discovers how to open sliding doors to enter a new car. Push, Push. open-shut. Repeat…One begins to jump from seat to seat. All follow. Giggles and laughter the entire way home.
The train slows. We hear the horn. We pass Grandma’s and the park. The train creeps into the station then stops. We gather our coats and put them back on.
Hands to ears anticipating the huge sigh–The doors open.Whoosh! They jump over the gap and give a loving pat to the side of the commuter train car. The train is their friend.
Hands to hold back to the car to drive back to Grandmas and see mommy and daddy.
All buckled in.
What an adventure!
Once at Grandma’s house, whenever the train rushed by, the “little’s” would stop and run to the window and exclaim.
“There goes the train.”
How could a commuter train ever be boring and dull.