Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Trains That Never Came (and Why FB Is So Good)

A few weeks ago, I took the boys to Clifton on Charlie's last day of Spring Break. Charlie really wanted to have a train run over a coin that he placed on the tracks. We had tried to flatten a coin a few weeks earlier but after the trains passed, we couldn't find the coins. So this time, Charlie was prepared. He had the idea that he'd tape the coins to the rails so they couldn't pop off the tracks from the vibrations of the trains.

We pulled in and a VRE train passed right away. Charlie was thrilled. He took his tape and his two quarters and got them all set on the tracks. And then we waited. And waited. And then waited some more.

After awhile I told the boys we could go get a treat at the coffee shop and hopefully a train would pass by while we weren't watching it so closely. I'm sure I said something super motherly like "a watch pot never boils". Or maybe not because that doesn't sound like me. I was probably too busy convincing Henry to stop whining...  Yup. Yeah, that sounds much more accurate.

At the coffee shop, Charlie chose a seat by the window and stared back at the tracks. Just wishing and hoping. It broke my heart to see how much he wanted those coins to be flattened and all that wishing and hoping could not make those trains come. When you're a little kid, something so simple is so huge in your heart. Trains have been his lifelong love and I knew he just wanted that coin.
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I love that Henry wants whatever his big brother wants. I love that he will climb the table so he can see what Charlie sees and to be where Charlie is. It's something that never, ever grows old for me.

I love these images so much.
If we didn't have baseball practice that evening, we could've stayed. We could've waited it out. But instead, I gave Charlie another 30 minutes to wait in the chilly, blustery wind... for a train that never came.
As I sat at home later that night and took the color out of all of these photos so the disappointment could be really felt, I couldn't stop myself from sharing Charlie's little story on Facebook. Certainly a train would pass. They always do. It seemed like such an odd thing that such a simple childhood want could go unfulfilled.

The response on Facebook was shocking. So many people wanted to comment on the pictures as a way of sending a great big cyber hug to my little guy. And this is why Facebook is so good. Because it brings people together and people are good.

A week later, a friend who I have known since kindergarten but have only seen twice in 14 years, put a card in the mail to Charlie. She had seen my photos and wanted him to have that coin. She took her own kids down to some tracks and taped coins to the rails and then sent their flattened penny to Chuck.

She took time from her day to do something kind for my little boy. She didn't have to do that but she did it for absolutely no reason other than to know that a little boy far away would be happy.

I love that when you cannot always count on trains to be on time or to even run the rails where you are watching... you can always count on the kindness of others.

Sandy, thank you. We are so grateful for our coin... but even more grateful that there are people in the world with big, kind, and thoughtful hearts.

1 comment:

  1. Ok that brought tears to my eyes! The last image man that's a tear jerker!!! and I love how the little one is spread all over the table haha! So glad he got his coin!