The Little Things

by cindy

For me, the greatest thrill of parenthood—or grandparenthood—is watching a child—or a grandchild—discover the world. The delight that shines in each child’s eyes as he experiences something for the first time is just beyond compare.

Yesterday, we took the Rooster on an Adventure. We boarded an Amtrak train in Lancaster and headed to Philadelphia where I had an appointment. Rooster had been on short train rides before—Strasburg Railroad and the B&O Museum—but this was a much longer ride on a real train. He questioned everything—how to work the lights above our seats, what the racks over the seats were for, why the seats reclined. And he investigated every thing he could—joining me in the bathroom and admiring the push-button flush, noticing the tiny sink, trying to unlock the door, uh, before I was ready.

It’s the little things, you know.

While the train was in motion, he stood on the seat with his face and hands pressed against the window and his little legs gently bouncing in sync with the rhythm of the train. He gleefully identified “front loaders” and “crane trucks” and “moo cows” and “flags” as the train whizzed past the countryside.

The little things.

Once we arrived in Philadelphia, we climbed into a taxi for his first-ever ride in one. His eyes grew huge as he twisted his body to peer out the window at the tall buildings. “Really big buildings, Mama! Really high up! All the way up into the sky!”

The little things.

After lunch, we walked along the street downtown looking at the buildings, the people, bits of interesting architectural details. He was impressed by the city buses and less impressed with the noise. He was thrilled to spot a McDonald’s, though we didn’t eat there. As he began to tire, he started trying to spot Baba’s car amongst all the traffic, thinking, I assume, that we’d find the car and head right back home. Later he understood that we had one more taxi ride and one more train ride before finding that car.

The little things  count.

There was only one part that slightly marred our adventure. After the train left the station in Lancaster that morning, a rather surly Conductor began to collect the tickets. He didn’t seem to notice the bright-eyed little passenger who eagerly held out his very own ticket. He didn’t seem to care that this was a really big deal for a very small fellow. I piped up and said “I think this little guy here was waiting to hear someone call ‘All Aboard’.” Grumpily, the Conductor answered, “If you want to hear that, you’d better go to Strasburg. They do all that kind of stuff over there. I don’t know why they do it. They don’t even get paid.”

It’s the little things that count, buster.

There was something, however, that the Conductor didn’t know. Someone had already announced our departure. As our train first began to crawl out of the station, before that conductor had even entered our car, I had heard a sweet, soft voice quietly repeating what train conductors have said for decades. I heard the Rooster as he whispered, “All Aboard.”

The little things count and they are everything.