That afternoon, we got to the Fairfield train station nice and early to buy tickets at the ticket machine (which was an adventure itself) and then we got to sit and wait on the platform. We watched trains zoom by and others stop. Lilly asked her usual Lilly questions, wanting to know where everyone was going and why there were so many people getting on and off the train and why couldn't we just walk across the train tracks and how come there was so much trash on the train tracks... You get the picture. Jack just watched. And sucked his thumb. I think he was in shock--he had seen so many trains go by before but had never been this close to them. It took until we got on the train for him to get going, and get going he did!
If our train ride was a movie, it would have been a black and white movie, with Lilly, Jack and Hannah starring as bright, colorful characters. The train was full of commuters. Heads down, no smiles, commuters. No one offered us seats, even though I had Hannah in the stroller, and was holding Jack's hand with Lilly by my side. This actually surprised me and made me judge people--something I don't like to do. I know that if I was on a train and saw a mom walk onto that train with her three small children, I would stand up in a heartbeat. It wasn't that people didn't see us. Everyone looked up at us and then went right back to intently staring at their phones. I couldn't be angry for long though. The smiles and looks of awe on Jack and Lilly's faces made me forget everyone else. Even Hannah was pointing saying, "tain, tain" (train, train). Every time the doors closed after each stop, Jack would yell, "all aboard" at the top of his lungs. When we zoomed by a train going in the other direction, they would point and cheer and clap. Lilly and Jack anxiously awaited the conductor's arrival so he could punch their tickets. He never made it down our way on the ride in, but the conductor on the way home made up for it, by punching smiley faces in their tickets. I saved those tickets and know that whenever I see them, I'll smile.
Jim, Ellie, Lilly, Jack, Hannah and I had dinner outside in Stamford at one of our favorite restaurants, and then took the train back to Fairfield. On the ride home, Jack was sitting on Ellie's lap, and Ellie patted Jack's stomach and said something like, "Wow Jack, your tummy is really full," to which Jack responded (in a not-very-quiet-two-year-old voice) "Auntie Ells, my tummy hurts. I have to poop." You should have seen the other peoples' faces. Priceless. Just priceless. Everyone was laughing and smiling. There were lots of dads on the trains chuckling away. Meanwhile, I asked Ellie to please not touch Jack's stomach again, and told Jack he was going to have to wait a few minutes until we got home! There's never a dull moment taking these three out into the world. The innocence and genuine excitement for life that children have is beautiful. I'm savoring it, because try as I may, I know that one day, a ride on Metro North won't conjure up laughter, joy and clapping. That's also part of life. If Jim got on the train every day to go to work and starting cheering as trains passed by and yelled, "all aboard" every time the doors closed, he would raise a few eyebrows. So, I'm enjoying these little ones. At five, almost three and one, life doesn't get much better.