Following the Train Tracks
We had once again navigated the car over to watch the passing freight train. I realize most people probably actively avoid sitting at railroad crossings, but with two train fanatics in the backseat I tend to seek them out.
They are watching quietly when a little voice said, "Where does the train go, Mama?" I reply with "I don't know" which seems to be my answer to most questions my three year olds ask. It is amazing how two little people can make me feel so completely clueless. "We should follow them and find out" came the logical response from the little voice behind me.
Normally, I would have automatically said no. I had no idea where this adventure would lead us, I wasn't entirely sure we could even follow the train, and honestly I didn't really want to drive the car around in circles. However, we didn't have any real need to rush home, so it was pretty hard to argue with his thought.
Follow it we did.
I am completely positive that there were at least two people, including the engineer driving the train, that probably thought I was crazy as we wove our way around town following the train (because of course there is not a nice paved road that just allows one to follow the train tracks with their three year olds.)
We have been on a train quest of sorts for over a year now. My son, and at times my daughter, has had an obsession with trains for at least that long. We have gone on train walks and visited every train related activity in our area. Every time I think his interest has waned and we venture briefly into the world of fire trucks or building or art, it has been short lived and something, like this encounter, will set his little wheels spinning again.
All of our previous train adventures however were initiated by me. Sure they were built around their interest in trains, but they were places researched and proposed by me. Following the tracks was their idea. The excitment that rose from the backseat when I said yes was worth the next 30 minutes alone. They watched for the train through trees and in between houses. They shouted and pointed. And when we finally watched the train engine drop off its freight and return to its shed they were satisfied.
They had asked a question, brainstormed a plan to answer it, and followed it to completion.
Their pride was evident in their play for the rest of the afternoon and when they announced to daddy that "the train goes to the shed by the factory" when he got home from work.
That simple half hour was meaningful to me as well. I was reminded to really listen to their ideas. I was reminded just how capable three year olds can be. I was reminded that it is okay to let go and say yes more. And I learned where the train goes.
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