Lately, Sonny has been very much into trains. His picture book of locomotives is at the top of his personal hit list, and most evenings we walk to the train station so that he can watch the trains go by and run himself ragged up and down the handicapped ramps. He’s been talking about riding the trains as well, not just looking at them, so this past weekend I decided to give him a treat. I intended to take him on the commuter line: One stop up, then turn around and come right back again.
He was jubilant. He was boisterous. He kept saying “Yes!” and “I cannot wait!” He would not walk next to me on the way to the train station — he kept running on ahead and had to be called back. He sat with his mother and sister on the train platform while I went to the opposite platform to buy tickets from the machine. When I looked over, he waved and hooted.
And when the train pulled into the station, he burst into tears. He pulled away when I tried to get him on. “I don’t want to ride the train!” he said. I got him on nevertheless and we sat together in a pair of seats. He kept crying — not a genuine, from the gut cry but the whine of a bad child actor. Poorly acted or not, I didn’t doubt its sincerity. Nor did anybody else in the train car.
We arrived at the next stop, found the right train back, and boarded. He was stoic now, though by no means happy. He sat looking out the window, silent. All right, fine. I’d prefer he actually enjoy this experience, but if this is the best I could get, I’d take it.
This experience has made me very, very nervous, and I shall tell you why: In two months’ time, I am taking my family to Florida. Sonny is going to go on his first airplane flight. He is very excited about it… for now.