The Train Week.
52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 31
I showed LittleBrother an Instagram photo of some Thomas trains.
“Oh! I do love trains.” He paused. I read his thoughts. “Do you think I could bring some trains out here on the porch for our evening outside time?” I nodded, sipping my evening iced coffee through a straw.
The in-and-out process with three to five trains at a time soon picked up speed as BigBrother joined in. “Did you get Henry’s wagon?” “Yeah! But I can’t find the other Emily.” Because we have two Emilys; why wouldn’t we? And two Percys and two Thomases and two of several other trains. Little feet ran in and out of the house, the screen door slamming the way a screen door is supposed to slam on a summer evening that isn’t too hot, that isn’t too cold, that comes in as “just right” for evening hours spent outside. Slam, thump thump thump, the clang of cast iron trains being dropped onto concrete, thump slap flap, slam, and repeat.
Eventually, all of the trains found their way onto the front porch, found their way to life again.
It’s been awhile for the trains. I envision them conversing with British accents inside their drawer in the toy organizational tower in the playroom.
“Chip, chip, Cheerio, good chap! Do you know why Master Booey hasn’t played with us lately?”
“Bloody hell if I know!”
“Must be his blasted trousers!”
“Well bust my bumpers.”
And on and on they go, in a sad, train-focused, British-y Toy Story storyline of once beloved toys, forgotten and forlorn. Both boys loved Thomas more than any toys ever. Always covered with tracks and wayward trains and Bertie the Bus, walking across the floor of our old house became difficult at times, painful at others. By the time we moved into the new house last year, the boys had discovered other things, moved on to Bigger Kid Things. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the trains, vowing to keep them forever so that my hypothetical grandchildren might play with them someday.
But the two of those boys that still live under this roof and are far too young to consider giving me grandchildren in the way, way distant future got those trains out this week and played with them as they’ve never been played with at any other time. Eventually they came up with the idea that the trains needed to go through a “bubble storm.” Out came one of the bubble guns and they took turns creating a storm of bubbles for the trains to speed through, crash through, and chug with all their might through to the other side, to safety.
Note that I said took turns.
When Thomas was popular in this household last time, the taking of turns wasn’t always the case. Hence the two Thomases and so on; it’s hard to share when you’re not quite three and not quite one, or not quite four and not quite two. It’s hard to share, period. They’ve gotten better at it over the years as we have worked on the Hard Lessons of Growing Up which include Not Being a Total Jerk and Sharing Things with People.
I have hope after watching them join their imaginations together to revive a love of trains on the porch that perhaps one day they will learn the lesson of He’s the Only Brother You’re Ever Going to Have. They sure did a good job of it the other day.