Today is number 4's birthday. He is two. He is head-over-heels in love with trains. You can hear them in the distance from his bedroom and he never misses one.
"Nnn-nnnn-nrya" he says when he hears the sound of the horn from far away.
"Yes. Choo-Choo train," I reply, vigilantly listening to his garbledy-gook.
After my mom and I took him to his two-year check up at the pediatrician this morning (no , he didn't have shots on his birthday!), we went downtown and hunted trains. King said when he thought there was a 10 o'clock train. So, off we went in search of it. No luck. We drove down a little further and saw a Norfolk-Southern office. I pulled into the gate and asked the young man if there was a train that would be coming by soon. Just as I asked, I heard the sound of a train whistle. (I could also hear the sound of an excited gasp from the back seat.) He showed me where to park to best see it. We got out of the car just in time to wave to the engineer , who tooted the whistle especially for my newly two-year old boy.
Number 4 waved and the engineers both waved. I wondered if they were crazy over trains when they were his age. His little body was frozen, barely breathing as he watched that enormous engine rumble by. And another. Then, so many that we couldn't count them all, boxcars filled with gravel rolled past. Finally, as the last one passed by, he took a big breath and smiled.
When the older kids got home from school, and King got home from work, and "Poppy" came over bearing gifts, we had cake and ice cream. The cake had a little plastic train on top. And lots of candles for him to blow out. (We've been practicing!)
As I type this, he is safe and sound in his bed totally zonked after a jam-packed, way too much fun day. I wonder if he is dreaming about today...his very HAPPY BIRTHDAY.