Feb 23, 2012
Sometimes it is the silliest things that hit you hard. Today, I ran full force into one of those "things".
I've been on a mission to clear things out. You just gotta do it once in a while and when you have young kids, it should probably be on a semi frequent basis. Well, I do go through things and give the good stuff my kids outgrow to friends, donate it or pitch what doesn't look worthwhile. There is one area in our basement that I have stayed away from. Why it is so emotional, I don't know. Well, okay. I do know why. It represents so much.
My oldest boy discovered Thomas the Train when he had just turned two. We had this little guy and his infant brother and needed something to do on a Saturday afternoon and my husband found a train show in town we could go to for some cheap fun. Little did we know. There were many fabulous train set ups that obviously were some 'engineers'' pride and joy. Intricate and meticulous. My boy looked at those with awe. It was more of a grown up type of show but they had a couple of booths that were mixed in. My son not only found them but he glued himself to the trains there. This is where he discovered Thomas the Train. He saw the bigger Thomas that you can put batteries in and they run on a plastic track (if you are a Thomas expert as I am, you know of this type of Thomas). He then saw Gordon (Thomas's friend) and put it in his hand. I don't think it came out of his hand for about a year. Oh, he had to have that train. We bought it and he took it everywhere. He loved loved loved it.
Then we discovered the videos (which we watched really old ones on our old vcr!!) and dvd's at the library. Then we discovered the Thomas aisle at Toys R Us. Then mom discovered ebay. And the rest was history. We slowly obtained a collection of Thomas the Train that would make anyone proud to have. Each train was picked for a reason. Each addition of a bridge, curved track, station stop----- all pondered over as to whether it was the best one to get. We could recreate those videos we watched with our collection to a tee. And that is just what my son did. For hours. Every single day. For years. We have many wood trains and we actually have some old collectibles that I bought through train auctions for a pretty penny ----- had to get that story just right. We have the metal trains. They are inexpensive and fun to take places when on the go and because they are cheaper, less of a trauma to replace if lost when they leave the house. Different tracks with different types of trains, metal, wood or plastic. We knew every single train that Thomas had ever met and were friends with them too.
My boy had some very difficult years. I remember sneaking in and looking at him at night with tears in my eyes. My beautiful boy who I had such dreams and hopes for but knowing he'd have an uphill battle. He didn't interact with kids his own age much at all, but with Thomas, he always felt he had a friend. Sounds strange that the persona of a toy train could take away lonliness in my boy. But it did. Thomas was loyal. Thomas enjoyed his company. Thomas would never make fun of him or be mean. What a good model for a friend.
My younger son played with Thomas and friends a lot too but not with that same passion or love.
I've left our train collection in the basement, collecting dust because now that my boy is 8, it has been a couple of years since he has played with them. He's moved onto Indiana Jones and Star Wars. I've decided to make room for something else in the coveted spot where Thomas and friends are now residing. I thought I could just box it up and save some to give him when he is older for nostalgia sake and clear out the rest but I am finding this very emotionally difficult. It is saying goodbye to something very special. It is saying goodbye to my son's old friends. It is admitting that those years are over and he is growing up. That is hard for me to do.
I long for the simplicity of days spent setting up train tracks. I miss seeing his little smile as he comes around the corner, always with train in hand. I have such love for this child that I don't want to let go.
It seems so silly to shed such tears over a little blue train.