Yup! Once again, I found myself running around trying to find an item for my kid’s class presentation – that I’d just been told about 20 minutes before school!  In this case, he needed a little toy train as a prop.  Apparently, it was a book report for “Freedom Train”.  As I frantically dashed around the house, it dawned on me… there – were – no – trains!! …(???)…

How was that possible??  It seemed I’d spend the past 3-5 years of my life stepping on Thomas the Tank engine, Gordon, James, Percy, etc, etc.  (yes, i know them by memory) Basically Thomas the Tank engine and his 50 gazillion friends!!  Let me repeat – our house was FULL of trains.  Both my boys loved them.  We also had lego trains, model trains, electric trains… and now, suddenly… there were no trains in the house.  I was stunned.

Was it that my kids suddenly cleaned up?  How could there NOT be trains in my house?  Sadly, it slowly dawned on me… the kids were growing up.  In the past couple of years, the trains had been worked farther and farther back into the closet.  And finally, my wife had packed them up.  The boys had moved on to soccer and video games.

It’s a tough moment to realize your kids are growing up.  Today, it was especially poignant.  Not only did my boys no longer care about Thomas and his friends… I somehow, hadn’t really taken note.  It had slowly creeped up, or they creeped out – I guess… I’d been stepping on less and less trains.  Yelling less and less, after kicking tracks across the living room floor.

I got a bit wistful, realizing all the “useful engines” were gone.  Actually, I’m pretty bummed.  More starkly, in my crazy day-to-day survival, I hadn’t really noticed.  How could I not really catch on to the fact that my floors, which had always been strewn with trains and tracks and crossings and crossing signs and little plastic trees, were suddenly bare and empty??

I guess it just happens.  That’s life.  We move on.  But now I realize – stepping on all those trains late at night and cursing… have actually become good memories.  Weird hunh?

Well, anyway, we finally found a box at the very top of the closet  – in the very back corner – and in it, were Thomas & Friends.  My son chose “Gordon” I think.  And that was that.  Once again, the frantic panic was over… and my kid headed off to school.  Now, it’s really quiet.

And I’m missing the trains…