My Dad took a 11:20 train home this morning. I offered to drive him to the train station with Isabelle in-tow since she had never been to the Amtrak Station before. I thought she might enjoy seeing the trains and sending him off. I never imagined it would turn into a sob fest…
We arrived at 11:07 a.m. I parked in front of the station. My Dad, herein known as Zayde, which is what Isabelle calls him, fed the meter for 15 minutes while I took Isabelle out of her car seat.
Once we were inside the station, we walked to the gate. “Doo-doo” Isabelle said (that means choo choo) pointing towards the train.
“I’ll carry her down,” I said to Zayde.
It was a LONG flight of stairs, but she held on tightly. Once we got to the bottom I put her down on a bench to take a photo of her and Zayde. But, she wasn’t interested. She wanted to see the Amtrak train. But Zayde had to board the train. So as soon as I snapped a couple of candids, I said, “Say good-bye to Zayde.”
Zayde picked her up, gave her kiss on the cheek, and a big hug. When he said, “I’ll see you soon. Go back to Mommy,” that’s when she lost it.
“Zay-deeee!” she yelled as he walked up the platform, past the conductor, and into the train.
“Blow a kiss!” I told her, knowing he’d look out again.
Together we blew a kiss to Zayde who reappeared at the train door just three minutes before it was ready to pull out of the station.
That’s when the crying began. Isabelle cried, “Zay-dee, Zay-dee, Zay-deeeee!” over and over.
Zayde reappeared as she tried to jump out of my arms and on to the train.
“Maybe she wants to go on the train,” I said.
I looked at the conductor who was watching you have a fit. “Do we have a minute to get on the train?” I asked.
“Just a minute,” she said.
I walked over to the platform, took a big step over the gap with Isabelle in my arms, and showed her the inside of the car.
“This is what the train looks like, Isabelle,” Zayde said. “See all the people,”
I saw all of the people too. They must’ve seen and heard her crying outside since they looked at the three of us with the saddest eyes. It was as if they knew the situation was about to get worse.
“One day I’ll take you on a train, Izzy,” Zayde told you. “I’ll take you to New York. Would you like that?”
“Yes!” you answered.
Then he leaned in and gave you another kiss.
“We have to get off of the train, Isabelle,” I told you.
“Nooo! Doo-doo! Doo-doo!” (Choo-choo! Choo-choo!) she said.
“Help me get over the gap,” I said to Zayde.
Zayde held my arm as I hopped over the gap on to the station’s platform. When we looked back at Zayde Isabelle was bawling her eyes out.
“Zay-deee! Doo-doo! Zay-deee! Doo-doo! Zay-deee!” she wailed as I whisked you past the conductor who was getting ready to close up the doors to the train.
I carried you up the stairs and she was still crying. “Would you like to see the model train?”
“Yes,” Isabelle said through her tears.
“I know it’s hard to say good-bye to someone we love. You’ll see him soon. Let’s go look at the model train, okay Izzy?”
A lady in an Amtrak shirt offered a kind smile and said, “She loves her pop-pop, doesn’t she?”
“Yes, yes she does,” I said.
“That was so sad,” she said gesturing to the platform where the scene just unfolded.
“It really was,” I replied.
How many people had their hearts ripped out watching the departure at the train station? All Isabelle wanted to do was get on the train and ride off towards New York City with Zayde. And all she got was a few minutes in front of a model train.
* * * * *
After dinner, Isabelle mentioned choo-choos. Therefore, I took out Steam Train, Dream Train by Shelley Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld. Do you know what she said at the end of the book?
“Zayde soon. Zayde soon. Zayde soon.”