Jacob & Dad & Trains

Back in July, our family took a train trip from Kansas to New York for Debconf10. And then in September, we went to Indiana.

The only train service from here leaves at about 3AM in both directions. So starting about November, Jacob started asking me, “Dad, will you wake me up in the middle of the night to go to the train station TODAY?” He didn’t seem to get it through his head that we didn’t have another trip planned, although we surely would at some point. It just couldn’t possibly be, right?

So around Christmas, I booked a round trip from here to Galesburg, IL for just Jacob and me. We’ll get on the train at 3AM Saturday morning, get to Galesburg about noon, and then head back home at 5PM, getting home again at, well, 3:30AM.

Jacob is super excited about this. When the tickets arrived, he didn’t yet know about the trip. I thought he’d be excited then, but the ticket sleeve had a picture of a toy train that he didn’t own, so he was somewhat sad. But starting the next day he was very excited. We wrote “Amtrak” on the Jan. 15 spot on his pharmacy calendar (a local pharmacy gives them away free each year). He carefully checked off each day as it went past. And he’s been getting increasingly excited all week.

Tonight he couldn’t really think, couldn’t really play, couldn’t really calm down. He jabbered about how he would sit by the window, how precisely I would wake him up, and his eyes would open up “right away” and we’ll go straight there. He talked about how he will look out the window at the dark night, and was extra excited when I told him he’d see snow out the window like one of the Amtrak videos he likes to watch on Youtube. He already placed his order for breakfast in the dining car: “French toast with syrup on top.”

He ran past the computer while I was looking at things to do in Galesburg, and saw I had a map up, and immediately noticed the train tracks. Then he pointed to the station, and said, “Dad, that says ‘Galesburg Amtrak’.” A rather stunned dad replied, “Yes indeed it does, Jacob.” I guess it was some combination of pre-reading and detective skills, but that surprised me.

Anyhow, this is the first trip with just Jacob and me. We’re going to have a blast, I’m sure. I may, however, wind up going 24 hours without sleep if his adrenaline level is any guide…

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