The creepy feeling that someone is staring at me wakes me from a deep sleep. In my sleep disoriented state I open my eyes expecting to see one of my little kids from 20 years ago, their little faces pressed inches from mine waiting to tell me that they’ve had a nightmare and want me to snuggle them for a few minutes before they bravely make their ways back to their beds. But even before my eyes flutter open I am saddened by the thought that no, those little kids are all grown up and don’t need me to banish the monsters from under their beds anymore. I crack my eyes open and see a sight that has melted my heart for the last 30 years. David standing above me, his sleepy brown eyes sparkling with excitement, his entire being humming with electricity. As soon as he sees the blue of my eyes he excitedly informs me that it’s Saturday and the train is running today!
David has been planning this day ever since we got the word that our daughter, Jess, was bringing our grandson, Tanner, out to visit for a few days. Two blocks from our new condo in Scottsdale is this great little train park. It has swings and pavilions like most parks but it also has train engines and cars to be explored, a museum and gift shop. But best of all, it has a little kiddie train! The engine chugs around the perimeter of the park pulling its precious cargo of little kids and sometimes overexcited grandpas.
Come to find out, David has been standing outside Tanner’s door listening intently for the first peep that would indicate that he was awake. I was excitedly told that he had laid out Tanner’s Thomas the Train T-shirt (purchased in anticipation of this amazing day). David had a plan. As soon as Tanner was awake, they were going to have breakfast, get dressed, slather up with sunscreen, jump into the stroller and make a bee line for the train park. Now all David needed was for Tanner to wake up so they could get going. The logic, that I groggily added, that it wasn’t quite 6am, didn’t seem to curb David’s excitement as he left me to return to slumber and once again took up his vigil outside Tanner’s bedroom door.
Finally, Tanner woke up and the plan was put into action. Lickity Split, the two little adventurers were dressed, fed and out the door. Hours later, just as I began to worry about how long those two little birds had been gone, my phone dinged. David sent me a picture of him and Tanner on their third ride around the park. Tanner proudly sporting his Thomas the Train T-shirt, David happily sporting a pair of sunglasses that read “I Love Trains” across their lenses.
Later that night, after all reasonable people had gone to bed, David regaled me with his epic adventure to the train park during our cocktail hour. For a brief few minutes, I saw the little boy that had become such an amazing man. His eyes danced and he told me about the ride around the park. He was crestfallen when he told me how the train turned away from the tunnel on its first pass. Then his face beamed with joy when he told me that on the next pass the little train chugged into the darkness of the tunnel. Then to my surprise I was informed that cocktail hour was to be cut short—“The train is running again tomorrow!”