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I miss Thomas the Train

Feb 23, 2012 - 18 comments

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.  

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377493 tn?1356505749
by adgal, Feb 23, 2012
Your journals are always so beautifully written, and often bring tears to my eyes.  This one is no exception.  It's not silly...not even a little bit.  As I am discovering each new milestone seems to close a chapter on something else, and although today and tomorrow are so exciting, I too often long for yesterday (and wish I had the ability to keep them little for just a little while longer).  Why do you think I am in no hurry to toilet train...lol.  I go through a little bit of what you describe everytime I am packing up clothes that no longer fit (although I have not yet been able to bring myself to part with a single thing..).  Or a toy that is too young for him.  Currently it is the transformation his bedroom is undergoing...from a nursery to a toddler's room (oh how I will bawl when we pack up that crib and finally set up that toddler bed.  I keep finding excuses not to..).  Everything we choose for them is done with such love and we get so much joy from seeing them light up or squeal with delight over so many of these items.

Who knew that seeing our children grow up would be so very hard.  So, I am extending the same invitation to you as I recently did to my close friend Krichar.  We are going to snatch up our beautiful little boys and run away to NeverNever Land where they still little boys forever.  Care to join us?  



134578 tn?1546634665
by AnnieBrooke, Feb 23, 2012
I did that this morning over a battery-operated car.  Found myself saying, "Everything was possible back then!" and then nearly tearing up.  How dumb, I know ... everything is possible now, too, and when we bought the car probably I was waxing nostalgic over the sleeping swing I had packed away at that time.  :)

Here's Shel Silverstein:

Wall Marks

Those scratchy marks there on the wall,
They show how short I used to be.
They rise until they get this tall,
And Mama keeps reminding me
The way my dad would take his pen
And as I stood there, stiff and straight,
He'd put a ruler on my head
And mark the spot and write the date.
She says that it's my history,
But I don't understand at all
Just why she cries each time she sees
Those scratchy marks there on the wall.

377493 tn?1356505749
by adgal, Feb 23, 2012
Oh oh...here come the waterworks again....what a perfectly fitting poem...

1035252 tn?1427231433
by Ashelen, Feb 23, 2012
Thanks Kay and Brooke now I'm bawling too, lol.I've always been the sort to feel the passage of time and know what I will eventually lose. My senior year was a study in pre-graduation nostalgia. So every time one of my babies hits a new milestone,  there's an ache for what they're leaving behind... Ah I dread time passing but can't wait to meet the amazing people my babies are growing into. A mother's pain is knowing that we spend every single moment of every single day giving our all to eventually let go. Can I join y'all on that island?

134578 tn?1546634665
by AnnieBrooke, Feb 23, 2012
* bawl *

973741 tn?1342346373
by specialmom, Feb 23, 2012
Oh my.  I've been crying all afternoon and now I'm really a mess.  That is a great poem that I could hardly get through without little yelps that scared the dog.  Thank goodness no one is home.  I need to get it together before school is out!  

I definately would like a one way ticket to NeverNever Land and would honestly leave this very minute.  Sign me up.  Make my reservation for three.  I'm packing our bags (including all of these trains!!)!!



134578 tn?1546634665
by AnnieBrooke, Feb 23, 2012
Ladies, please say with me before we all dissolve:

"The best is yet to come."

Maybe if we say it enough, we'll believe it.  Fat chance.   I even tear up thinking that some day my son won't want to hold my hand.  

377493 tn?1356505749
by adgal, Feb 23, 2012
DH was wondering out loud the other day about what kind of girl our son would eventually date...DATE??  Nope, because he's going to want to still spend every single friday night reading books and watching movies with mommy....won't he?  I hate her already....

Kay, giving Peter Pan another try.  As soon as I hear back, I'll let him know we are picking you and the boys up on our way.  Ivy?  Brook?  Add you all to the itinerary?  Just say the word....

973741 tn?1342346373
by specialmom, Feb 23, 2012
My son told me that he wasn't going to call me Mama anymore but Mom instead.  Mom???  Mom.  I tried to talk him out of this change but none of my arguments worked.  Luckily first thing in the morning he usually forgets about being "cool" and still calls me Mama.  

but . . . "The best is yet to come." . . .  right?  Right?  (not sure yet but will keep repeating).

Yes, Amanda-----  as soon as Peter Pan gets back to you let me know!

1035252 tn?1427231433
by Ashelen, Feb 23, 2012
Waaaah!!! My daughter has an in with Tinkerbell but I'm sure she'll stop believing soon (sob) so if I need to exercise that contact better do it sooner than later! A friend of mine said the other day that I will be a fantastic mom when my kids are teens because I have the right blend of calm and anal retentive...I laughed,  then immediately got quiet.  Two minutes later and I was sobbing.  LOL ah really the best IS yet to come... Whether they are straight, gay, parents, chronically single, married, workaholics or lazy...there is a huge world out there full of amazing experiences and people to share those experiences with... And knowing how many awesome memories lie in my past (all rotten things aside ) makes me excited to anticipate all the things they will find that make them happy. And the hard things will only make the happy ones all the sweeter. Er...can you tell that I give myself a coping peptalk often?? LOL

134578 tn?1546634665
by AnnieBrooke, Feb 23, 2012
Nostalgia is such a killer.  :)  I can remember intellectually that there were blocks of time taking care of Augie as a baby where I felt really pulled, things weren't getting done (I'd be in a house with dishes to do and bills to pay, high-centered and frustrated by the mess and all the other demands on my time, worrying about my fading career skills and how grumpy my husband was going to be when he got home and saw the messy house and dinner not exactly ready).  If I could truly remember THOSE times, I could make it through the nostalgia now.  But of course I don't remember those, just like we don't remember pain.  :)  I simply melt at Augie being such a very sweet kid, and regret in advance that it has to change.  I am just trying to keep my regret for the sweetness of the past from spoiling my ability to enjoy the present.  

I could pile so many stories on to the list.  I gave away some baby clothes to a cousin, most of which were fine, but some of which I couldn't part with, and squirrelled a little box of them into the attic.  Toys the same.  A friend told me that her daughter had sold her wedding dress on Craigslist, and her problem was that she (the friend) wasn't ready, so what if her daughter had no sentimental feeling about it.  (I haven't put away the wooden toy train set we have because I liked playing with the one they had at my nursery school, never mind if Augie liked playing with it.  Some of this must be about finishing our own childhood.  :) ) I think that some of the nostalgia is also based on how hard I worked on the thing, like going on eBay and finding just the perfect piece.  No investment, less sentiment ... maybe.

Rationality all said, and explanations all clear, I'd still go to Neverland with Augie in a heartbeat, right now.

1006035 tn?1485579497
by skepticalpeach, Feb 23, 2012
It is not silly to cry over a toy at all! I have the hardest time giving up any of my DD's clothes. I have bags and bags of her clothes in storage. I also keep all her drawings; I even keep her Valentine's from her friends. I feel like such a sap!

184674 tn?1360864093
by AHP84, Feb 23, 2012
Aw, this is such a touching journal! Both my boys are crazy about Thomas. Trevor's favorite train was Thomas of course, but he had a special place in his heart for Trevor the Train too, for obvious reasons.
What I really enjoy with my kids is their age gap being five years apart--and them being at ages 2 and 7 right now. My 2 year old is obsessed with all the characters my oldest used to be (Thomas especially--we've got so many Thomas toys and continue to add to the collection). Let's see...Thomas the Train, Lightning McQueen, Bob the Builder...and then the newer characters that have emerged since Trevor's toddler days, like Super Why and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But Thomas and Bob the Builder are the main favorites at my house. And with the age gap my boys have, there's enough of a connection for Trevor to still be interested in watching the shows and plalying with the toys to interact with Greydon. Plus, there's also the slightest hint of sibling rivalry mixed in, because Trevor would still like to take any opportunity he can get to watch a few episodes with his brother--or by himself--just to avoid doing something else like homework or chores, lol--so resorting to Thomas and Bob is never too boring or babyish just yet, much to Greydon's pleasure in having a cool big bro and best friend.
I already miss the days that I know are soon coming to a close for both of them soon. The days when seeing them sit and play with those toys with each other, while building forts out of those big, interconnecting Playskool blocks that take up the whole darn living room just so they can create an opportunity for a demolition that they'll have no desire to clean up without complaint, with Thomas or Bob blaring their catchy theme songs in the background. One day, sooner rather than later I'm sure, they won't have the interest in each other to play like that anymore--it'll all just be video games and...whatever else "big kids" do.

134578 tn?1546634665
by AnnieBrooke, Feb 24, 2012
Augie looked at me this morning and said, "I love you, I love you, I love you, at my heart."  How long do I get that?  Not his whole life, I know.  *sniff*

973741 tn?1342346373
by specialmom, Feb 24, 2012
I hope that there is a little imprint on their heart with our initials on it that stays forever.  I know someday I won't be the object of my children's affection-----  but I hope my initials are on his/their hearts forever.  (sniff sniff)

My son came home with a book the class made for him today as he has been 'student of the week' and people had to write things they thought about him.  Every girl wrote you are good looking, cute or both.  

I dread the day I'll have to 'share' them.  Are we allowed to point out that they loved us first?  Oh no.  I just got an image of my mother in law.  Strike that.  Ugh.  

I scheduled to have a friend over with younger kids and told my boys that it would be nice if they set up the track for/with them . . . just to get them to play with it one last time.  How pathetic am I?  (don't answer)

You ladies all made me feel so much better ------  it is nice to see such a group as this of great, devoted mothers that have loved and cared so much for their beloved babies that they want to keep them that way.  

I'll wait for the call that it is time to go to Never Never Land . . .

134578 tn?1546634665
by AnnieBrooke, Feb 25, 2012
I'm glad you mentioned your mother-in-law.  If mine had ever said anything like that to me, I would have been pretty annoyed.  :)   But she never acted like she was resentful of me.  Maybe there is something in the long, grinding, annoying teenage period that heals mommy of being overtly possessive and sentimental about her snotty, pimply, judgmental and aloof son.  lol   Do you think moms love their little boys so much because they are pure love embodied, before hormones come into it and make a clash of wills out of the most simple activities?

The best is yet to come.  :)

134578 tn?1546634665
by AnnieBrooke, Feb 25, 2012
Sorry, Diva, I note I should have said "do you think moms love their little children so much because ..."  Most of us were talking about boys but you weren't!  

2060307 tn?1389578835
by tuts40, Mar 24, 2012
SpecialMom,

Awe, just leave the trains right there, for maybe just a bit longer.  ...Nobody will mind, nobody at all.  :-)

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