family · friends · slice of life

Blessing Bracelets

Last month, I celebrated a milestone birthday. One of the loveliest gifts I received were blessing bracelets from Lynne. Inside of the jewelry box, there was a tag that said:

This is a Blessing Bravelet. Whenever you wear it acknowledge one blessing in your life for each pearl on the bracelet. Each time you are drawn to the bracelet, silently find four people or things you can be grateful for.

Be grateful for: Your children, a flower, your dog, a perfect cup of coffee, a roof over your head – just find something. The more you wear the bravelet and the more blessings you find, the more you will be blessed.

In one year, if followed, you will be aware of a profound change in your life.

My birthday went off without a hitch. I’ve embraced this new decade of my life with open arms.

IMG_2436However, there have been some stressors that have popped up recently that are making these blessing bracelets more important than ever. (I don’t like to be vague when I write, but I’m choosing not to write about what’s been happening in detail out of respect to those close to me whose challenges are weighing on me — heavily.) I donned both bracelets this morning and touched each pearl, counting my blessings aloud.

  1. Isabelle
  2. Ari
  3. Marc
  4. My mom
  5. My dad
  6. Driving a car that works.
  7. Residing in a safe and comfortable home.
  8. My long-time friend, Alexa, who is giving me incredible guidance right now.

It’s important to count your blessings even when you’re feeling overwhelmed. As a result, I will be wearing these bracelets a lot as I navigate the next month of my life. Thank you, Lynne, for this incredible gift. These items are so much more than pieces of jewelry!

family

Parental Visit

I was awakened at 2:00 a.m. by Ari’s cries. My husband rocked him back to sleep. At 5:00 a.m., I heard Ari crying again. I trudged down the hall, scooped him up, and rocked him back to sleep. But he woke up as soon as I put him back in his crib so I l fed him. By the time I was finished, it was time for Isabelle to get up for school.

Needless to say, I was exhausted as a result of going to bed late and then being woken up twice last night. Luckily, my parents were in town this week. This afforded me with the chance to snooze until it was time to do Isabelle’s hair for school. And then I did something heavenly… thanks to my parents being here: I went back to sleep. 
I got out of bed again at 10:25 a.m.! I can’t remember the last time I saw that time on my night table’s clock! I worked for almost three hours and then left the house for an appointment. While I was out, my parents cared for Ari and Isabelle (once she returned home from school). I returned home to find two kids doing their thing under the watchful eye of my parents. Despite my fatigue, I remembered that I am lucky.

But now, they’re heading home. Unlike many of our neighbors and friends, we don’t have family nearby. I can’t call up my parents on a random afternoon and say, “Can you come over to help me?” Nope. We slog it out on our own (most of the time).

One day, I hope to live closer to my parents. For now, I’m thankful when they come to visit. At least tomorrow is a Saturday so my husband is around!

family · slice of life

Two Kids Living in My Heart

baby-feet-1527456_640I’m seven-and-a-half months pregnant, which means there’s a LOT of talk about babies in our house these days. Isabelle has learned where babies come from thanks to The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall and several conversations with us. Isabelle knows that before she was in my belly, she lived in my heart. (See this post from last year for my explanation of where she resided before conception. I must say, my response to her question about “where was I before I was born?” stuck.)

Recently, Isabelle wanted to know how Marc and I met. He told her, “on the computer.” Since that sounded shady to me, I explained JDate to her. Yesterday morning, Isabelle had more questions while we were getting ready for a marathon coloring session.

“Where was me when you and Daddy met on the computer?”

“We met on JDate, Isabelle. That’s a site on the internet where Jews go to meet other Jews who want to have a Jewish family.”

“Oh. Well, where was me?” she asked.

I looked at her and didn’t answer. She smiled. “I was in your heart?!!?”

“Yes, you were in my heart.”

“Was I in Daddy’s heart?”

“Yes, you were in Daddy’s heart too.”

“Where was my brother?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Was my brother in your heart too?” (Keep in mind, even though her brother is still in my belly, she talks about him as if he’s already here.)

“Yes, of course, he was in my heart,” I replied.

Isabelle got quiet for a minute. I could tell a big idea was brewing.

“We were in your heart together, Mommy. We were playing.”

“Aw, that’s so sweet,” I replied. “I like thinking of the two of you playing together in my heart. That makes me happy.”

“Yeah, but it was dark,” she said. I started to worry where she was going to go with this, but she turned it around. “We couldn’t see each other well, but we were playing in your heart together.”

“I love that,” I said drawing her in for a hug.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com  for more slices of life.
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.
college · family · slice of life

You’ve never too young to do a campus tour!

Our cousin, Hallie, is a freshman at Penn State this year. (Well, she’s really Marc’s cousin, but I adore her so I claim her as my own!) Our fall got away from us so we didn’t make it up to Happy Valley until this weekend to visit. This was fun for us, but HUGE for Isabelle who’s been wondering about college. (READ: She’s had college on her mind ever since I made the mistake of telling her she’d go away for college when she turns 18. I said this six months ago. She was NOT happy about leaving home and brings it up often. About a month ago, Isabelle told me she’d only go on one condition. I had to go with her. Apparently, she thinks I’m going to commute to Penn State’s University Park Campus with her to get my doctorate while she gets her B.A. Somehow I think she’ll change her mind about this arrangement about ten years from now!)

It was fun to look at the college experience through Isabelle’s eyes while we were up at State College. Here are some things I observed by watching her.

1) Basketball places are fun places to dance! Isabelle embodied this quote from William W. Purkey at yesterday’s basketball game.

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth.

This kid LOVED the music from the band way more than she loved the actual game. She jumped around and danced every chance she had. She danced in her seat, in front of her seat, even on the stairway (which freaked me out since I was convinced she was going to fall down the stairs).

Isabelle is seated between Hallie and Marc at a rare moment that she wasn’t out of her seat dancing.

2) You can snack any time of day when you live in a dorm. Hallie showed us her dorm room, which she shares with a roommate who happened to be home when we stopped by. Isabelle was a little confused about why they were living together, without their parents. Once she realized they were both away for school and could go home on vacations, she turned her attention to their stash of snacks. She was amazed they kept pretzels, Goldfish, applesauce, chocolate, etc. in their room. Heck, she even managed to con her way into getting some pretzels from Hallie’s roommate. There’s a part of me that wonders — after visiting the dorm — if we’re going to find snacks stashed in her bedroom sometime soon.

3) You can eat ice cream whenever you want when you’re in college. Hallie took us to the infamous Berkey Creamery for a mid-afternoon treat. The Creamery serves gigantic ice cream servings! I have a feeling Isabelle overheard Hallie tell me that the dining halls also serve ice cream because Isabelle later asked Hallie if she eats ice cream every day. Hallie, who gets kids, quickly told Isabelle her teeth would fall out if she ate ice cream daily. Whew!

Isabelle enjoyed a very large ice cream with blue and white (Of course!) sprinkles at the Creamery.

4) Lecture halls have fun desks. Hallie took us into one of her lecture halls that will accommodate over 400 students. Isabelle was fascinated by all of the desks and tried a few out. I don’t think she realized you have to listen to long, sometimes boring, lectures when you’re a student. Some things are better left unsaid.

5) The Hub is a fun place to meet people! We toured the student union, which is spacious and gorgeous. Isabelle took in the first floor. By the time we arrived on the second floor, she took it upon herself to meet and greet students who were working or chatting with friends. She must’ve walked over to 40 people and said, “Hi.” All of the students — even the ones who looked like they were deep in thought — were kind to her and said hello back.  (And, yes, I tried to stop her from bothering people!) Some even asked Isabelle her name and struck up a conversation with her. She left excited about all of the new people she met.

There are some newly-constructed steps in the Hub that are meant for sitting. However, Isabelle saw a student laying down with his iPhone on one of the steps so she had to copy him.

6) Libraries are quiet places. We didn’t spend as much time as I would’ve liked in the library because Isabelle was way too excited to lower her volume. We left within four minutes of arriving.

Isabelle and Marc exiting the library.

7) Campus museums are only fun if you get to go inside. There are two lion’s paws outside of the Palmer Museum of Art. Isabelle dutifully posed in front of them, but once she found out there was a museum inside of the building, she raced to the door so she could enter. Unfortunately, we arrived there five minutes before closing so my child was utterly disappointed she missed out on a museum.

Posing in front of one of the paws outside of the Palmer Museum of Art.

8) Sometimes you have to do things other people want you to do when you’re at college. We didn’t make it to The Nittany Lion Shrine with Hallie since we wanted to check into our hotel before we took her out to dinner. We went on Sunday morning since it was located about a minute’s walk from our hotel. Isabelle didn’t want to go since it was cold. Once we got there she wasn’t keen on waiting for the other families who were before us to pose for a photo. Finally, once it was our turn, she put on a happy face for the picture.

The three of us at the Lion Shrine. (I’m the blue blob behind the lion. Not exactly the best image of me. But that’s what happens when you convert photos with Waterlogue!)

9) You eat brunch when you’re in college. We used to be big fans of brunch before we had Isabelle. Nowadays, we eat breakfast before 9 a.m. on weekends since we’re up with Isabelle by 7 a.m. Even though she was up early on Sunday, we didn’t check out of our hotel until 10:30, which meant introduced her to the concept of brunch. Considering her brunch consisted of chocolate, I’d say she was sold on the concept.

We went to a creperie that served gluten-free crepes, which was a real treat for me. We ordered Isabelle chocolate crepes and chocolate milk. Hey, you only live once!

10) College towns are fun to walk around. Isabelle loved walking around State College. She especially loved going into the gear stores to shop for something. She walked away with a 50-cent magnet, which was a great deal for us even though she has nowhere to hang it! She wanted to keep shopping because (as she declared), “I like this town!” However, it was time for us to head home.

* * * * *

It’s hard to believe we were in State College for a little over 24 hours. We packed so much into our time there! We got to see our cousin AND Isabelle got her first taste of college life. While I have no idea where she will go to school, she left with a positive impression of Penn State. Perhaps one day she’ll think about going to college by herself without her old mom in town. Until then, I’ll plan on going back for my doctorate about 13 1/2 years from now.

family · growing up · Jewish · slice of life

My Grandma is gone.

Yahrzeit candles are lit in memory of every year at sundown on the eve of the anniversary of the death. They're also lit on sundown before the start of of Yom Kippur, as well as the last day of the holidays of Passover,  Shavuot, and Sukkot.
Yahrzeit candles are lit in memory of every year at sundown on the eve of the anniversary of the death. They’re also lit on sundown before the start of of Yom Kippur, as well as the last day of the holidays of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

Isabelle noticed an unlit Yahrzeit candle on the island in our kitchen before she went upstairs last night. (My mom is at our house through tomorrow.  Today marks the lunar calendar anniversary of my grandmother’s passing.  My mom is staying with us through tomorrow so she brought the candle to our house to light it.)

“What’s dat for?” Isabelle asked.

I said something like it’s to help us remember my grandmother who is gone.

“Who’s your grandma?” she asked.

I reached for a photograph of my grandparents that I keep atop my desk.  I pointed to my grandmother and said, “That was my Grandma.  That’s Bubbe’s mommy. You’re named after her.”

“Who’s dat?” she pointed at the little girl in the center of the photo.

“That was me. I was nine years-old in that photo.”

She was perplexed by the fact that I was ever young.  So our conversation turned to how I could have ever been a girl.

Whew!

With my grandparents at my uncle's wedding in 1986. (A Waterlogue version of the frame on my desk.)
With my grandparents at my uncle’s wedding in 1986. (A Waterlogue version of the frame on my desk.)

This afternoon, my mother pulled me aside once Isabelle returned from school.

“What do you want me to say if she asks about the candle?”

“Has she asked about it yet?”

“Yes, she did this morning when we were eating breakfast.”

“What did you say?”

My mom told me her approximated answer and then followed up with, “What do you want me to say to her?”

I pondered. “A children’s author named Patricia Polacco talks about death as letting go of the grass. You could say Grandma let go of the grass.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” my mom scoffed.

In hindsight, I realize this was ridiculous to say to my mom. I was teaching fifth grade in Manhattan when my grandmother passed away in March 2007.  We had done a Patricia Polacco Author Study and my students knew that letting go of the grass equated death.  Therefore, we talked about my grandmother’s death as her letting go of the grass after her passing.  (My gosh, that was such a great class of kids.  We had our own little language.) 

“Well, I guess it’d make more sense if you were familiar with Patricia Polacco’s books,” I responded.

“So, what do you want me to tell her?” my mom asked again.

I thought. “You could say something about Grandma being old.  Or you could say she was tired and went back to live with her parents in heaven.”

I looked at my mom and she looked back at me. We were both clueless whether heaven was a concept we should be introducing.

“You could tell her heaven us up there,” I said.

“Do you want me to say that?” she asked. “I want to say what you want me to say.”

“I don’t know what the answer is. All I can tell you is that I remember going to Uncle Irving’s funeral when I was four-years-old.  And look at me.  I’m not permanently damaged as a result of attending the funeral. Whatever you say will be the right thing.”

Fortunately, Isabelle went to sleep tonight without another question about the Yahrzeit candle.  It will burn out later and will be thrown away tomorrow.  Most likely, she won’t remember it was ever shining.

But I know there will be questions about where my grandmother is again.  And I don’t have an answer ready.  It is so hard to talk about death without scaring a young child.  I want to say the right thing, but I’m not sure there is a right answer.

We talk about my grandmother all of the time in front of Isabelle.  Talking about her keeps her memory alive.  I’m not planning to stop.  But one day, not long from now, I know the question about where she is will surface again.  And when that happens, I hope I have some kind of answer ready for Isabelle.

Right now, I have nothing.

family · poetry · slice of life

The Birthday Girl Sleeps

Casey

Warm Snuggly

Resting Breathing Sleeping

Sweet First Birthday Girl 

Niece

  

family · OBSERVATIONS · slice of life

Family Snapshot

My grandmother and her siblings names are written out, as are the names of all of the cousins around the table. The "first cousins" I refer to in this piece are labeled in green. (Click on the image to enlarge.)
My grandmother and her siblings names are written out, as are the names of all of the cousins around the table. The “first cousins” I refer to in this piece are labeled in green. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

I sat outside on a not-too-muggy Washington morning since I didn’t want my asthma to flare up since the cats were inside of the house.  My cousins filtered onto the patio over the course of the morning. At one point I noticed I was the oldest one at the table. Beside me was my cousin, Jared, who got married the previous evening. His platinum wedding band was so shiny I could see my reflection in it. Next to him was his younger sister, Arielle, who was snuggling Isabelle on her lap just like I did with her when she was a little girl. Isabelle has loved her ever since we visited her in San Francisco, where she’s started her post-college life.  Beside those two were my cousins William and Jonathan, who are the most polite and caring eighth and fourth graders, respectively, you could ever imagine. Moving around the table was Ike, a talented bass player who is still in college.  And on the other side of me is Josh, Arielle’s twin, who is no longer my little cousin seeing as he towers over me now.

“When was the last time we had a family reunion?” William asked.

That was kinda what this was, I thought.  My thirteen year-old cousin was thinking exactly like I was.

“I think the last time was at Gabe’s Bar Mitzvah in 2011, but you weren’t there,” I said pointing to Josh and Arielle.  They were away at college.  “And before that it was at your Bar Mitzvah,” I said pointing to Ike.  (Of course, Isabelle wasn’t present for that one.)

“Wasn’t it at someone’s 80’s birthday party?” Ike wondered.

“Whose?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he shrugged.

“Me either,” I replied.

And then the conversation switched back to something else.  I looked around at my cousins and my daughter. We span 33 years. We’re from two different generation levels (Ike and Isabelle are on the same generation level. This is due, in part, to the fact that the six first cousins, of which my mom is one of them, were born 30 years apart.) We live over 7,000 miles apart in suburban towns and big cities like Beirut, Rochester, Chicago, and San Francisco. And here we all were… sitting together around the same table enjoying each other’s company.  I made a move to go inside to get my camera since I didn’t want to forget that moment.  But then Isabelle got up and began running around the table. Jonathan went after her like the dutiful big cousin he is. She ran into the house and Jonathan went after her leaving the group somehow changed. The hope of my digital family snapshot was gone. But it really wasn’t since the power of words allows me to recreate that moment again.

A picture from the wedding hora, taken the previous evening.
A picture from the wedding hora, taken the previous evening.

SOLSC on TWT

family · slice of life

I’m an aunt!

I checked my phone around 5:45 a.m. No missed calls. No iMessages.

That’s not good, I thought.

You see, my sister-in-law went into labor at 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning. By the time I woke up today, it was already 26+ hours of labor. (As someone who labored for 25 hours, I know just how awful that is!)

As soon as I saw my husband I asked, “Did you hear anything yet?”

“I’ll check my phone,” he replied.

He checked. No missed calls. No iMessages.

We went about our morning like we usually do. But something drew me downstairs for a glass of orange juice right before Isabelle woke up. About five minutes before her wake-up, I received an e-mail from my brother-in-law. His wife had the baby at 5:35 a.m. (Just ten minutes before I initially checked my phone this morning!) Attached to the e-mail was the photo of an angelic looking baby girl and a very tired daddy.

And that’s when I realized it.  I’m an aunt.  An aunt… me!  Growing up as an only child, I didn’t know if and when this day would come.  I knew it was highly likely once I married my husband, since he has a younger brother, but it’s been a little over six years since our wedding. But today, I am an aunt.

I raced upstairs and told Marc she was born. He checked his phone. No missed calls. No iMessages.

“Your brother sent a picture via e-mail.”

He went into the mail app on his iPhone, clicked on the message, and beamed.

Moments later, I went into Isabelle’s room. I tried to keep our normal morning routine, but I couldn’t resist telling her the good news. (NOTE: I hadn’t told her anything about a new baby cousin. You see, in the past three years we’ve known four couples who’ve lost babies between the fifth – eighth months of pregnancy. It’s completely heartbreaking. G-d forbid something like that happened, I didn’t want to have to explain it to Isabelle. So I kept my mouth shut.) I showed her the picture of my brother-in-law holding his daughter.

“Who is that?” I asked.

She studied the photo closely. He didn’t look like himself since he was wearing blue scrubs. Finally, she said, “Uncle Adam.”

“That’s right! Who is he holding?”

“A baby!”

“Yes, that is a baby. That is his new baby. Uncle Adam is now a daddy. That’s his baby.”

Isabelle looked thoroughly confused. It was as if she was wondering, where did this baby come from?

“Aunt Chris and Uncle Adam had a baby. Her name is Casey. Can you say her name?”

“Casey,” Isabelle repeated.

“Wow! That was so clear!”

We chatted for a few more minutes about the baby while she studied the photo. She asked to go to the hospital to meet the baby. (I told her that wasn’t possible since the baby is too little for visitors Isabelle’s age.) She asked to go and see the baby once she’s out of the hospital. (I told her we’d go to New York to see Baby Casey in a few weeks.)

“What will you do when you see Baby Casey?”

“Hug her. Kiss her. Love her.”

OMG! The answers were too cute. With that, I told her we were going to make a video to send to Uncle Adam, Aunt Chris, and Cousin Casey.

And that’s exactly what we did.

While recording the video, Isabelle stated that she wanted to see more photos of Casey. My mother-in-law sent four more. I showed them to Isabelle after lunch. Here’s what she thought:

So Isabelle is a big cousin, my husband is an uncle, and I’m an aunt. How very exciting!

Check out the other slice of life stories at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.
Check out the other slice of life stories at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.
family · food · Jewish · slice of life

We’ll Nosh Some Hamentashen!

20140309-151118.jpg
Clockwise from top left: My father-in-law & I making hamentashen, Isabelle coloring her ‘cards’; Filling the bags; A good-looking hamentashen (Created with Moldiv.)

How do you teach a three year-old about Purim?

You read books.

You sing songs.

You eat Hamentashen.

In the case of Purim, I decided to go a step further. I decided we’d not only make hamentashen, a jam-filled triangular cookie, this year. I also decided we’d deliver them to some friends and our next-door neighbors who celebrate Purim.

Even though Purim is a week away, I decided today would be the perfect day to bake and deliver Mishloach Manot. Why? Because my in-laws were in town. Therefore, Isabelle could have the two of us and the two of them alongside her as she baked them. Plus, that would allow them to bring two Mishloach Manot bags back to Connecticut for her cousins.

Isabelle donned an apron and brought her step stool into the kitchen. She was interested in watching me roll the dough and use the cookie cutters. However, once she saw the fruit fillings come out for the cookies, she began to lose interest. She pressed a few of them with me, but soon after that she retreated to her play room to do something else.  😦

Fortunately, my mother-in-law stayed with me. We baked them together. We also got the guys (i.e., my husband and father-in-law) to help us out. My father-in-law was a little hesitant about making hamentashen, but he rose to the challenge, making the best hamentashen* of all of us!

Thankfully, Isabelle was willing to color the Purim coloring pages and stuff the bags herself.

I delivered two bags while she ate lunch. My in-laws will deliver two of them to Connecticut this afternoon. The rest we’ll deliver after Isabelle’s rest time.

Check out the other slice of life stories at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.
Check out more slice of life stories at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.

*By best I mean best-looking before and after they went into the oven. You see, making these cookies is something of an art form. Most of the hamentashen we made today opened up and look more like jelly puffs. However, this was the first time all five of us ever made hamentashen. They may not have been all looked perfect, but they all tasted! Want to try making hamentashen? Click here for the recipe we used.

family · OBSERVATIONS · picture books · slice of life

All Aboard!

9289584612_d7eb151b56_cMy 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.

* * * * *

Steam Train Dream TrainAfter 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.”