it seems there are not enough hours

And then, to pound out a post and have it vanish...and that's what it takes sometimes: sitting and making time to pound out post. Like taking the time to wipe down the bathrooms. This is tough stuff and I'd advocate for a four day work week.
It doesn't mean the blush is off the rose. I'm loving it still.

Anyway.

On Friday, we were dismayed to see a woman with two toddlers board our morning train. Okay, maybe I was dismayed - K is the kind of person who can become irritated when the aluminum foil won't unroll properly but he is very tolerant of noise and distraction. Me? Not so much.
She brought them in and sat them in the facing seats in the middle of the car. The boy looked about two years old and his sister could not have been older than three. The mom had a rolling suitcase and, at the sight of her, one of the women already sitting in the facing seats, fled - a nervous look on her face.
She was one of those moms who narrates: I know, Charlie, it's very exciting to be going to Massachusetts on the train...Now, Hannah, we mustn't put our mouth on the window...which I do not criticize (though it's not my style) but merely report.
I put on my iPod soon after she arrived as I didn't want to listen to the narration of Charlie and Hannah's trip, but even Moby couldn't drown out the strains of Mommy placing a speaker-phone call to Daddy so Charlie and Hannah could tell him they were on the train. My fellow passengers did not look happy, I'm sure I didn't either. Loud phone calls are looked upon harshly and this was above and beyond.
At some point I began to think of how she could have done it better. I mean: to travel at rush hour? alone with toddlers and luggage? from this train to the next...a car service into town maybe? A friend to come along for this first part of the journey to help wrangle? Driving instead of training? I talked to K a little about it but he wouldn't entertain my line of thought. This was the way she was traveling and he implied that I should shut up about it. And I did.
When the train pulled in, a man was kind enough to help her with her suitcase as she helped the little ones up the stairs. (The filthy stairs.) People were patient as the kids climbed slowly. I let my aggravation fade and then felt terrible - for her, about me, how could I only be doing this for only six months and be so jaded? How could I, so easily, forget dragging a new baby and a six year old, with a car seat and a stroller through two airports - alone. I felt ashamed of myself and spent some time feeling sorry for myself and her.
But she did it. She got them to the next train - they were on their way and I had my Friday. My toddler-free, get my coffee, lunch with grown-ups, important business Friday. I wore go-to-work clothes and didn't cut up food for a little one and did very little mothering. I was, for the very first time in many many years, completely independent.
When I got home, having had a long hard week, K took care of me.
My boys asked how things were.
Oldest stopped telling a story so I could tell mine.

And, after reading all of that - I'd like, very much, for you to read this, for Rae and I could not have more different lives.
Such
different
lives...and yet, I felt every single word she wrote as if I was living them.

Comments

I just looked at a year's worth of Rae's Flicker pictures. HOLY COW!
Her kids are seriously beautiful

I used to think packing up 2 babies to visit my Mom's (an hour away) for a week was a big deal.

When I see people with cranky babies and toddlers I don't get aggravated with them (just their parents!) I think "that poor baby needs a nap"
LemonySarah said…
Funny how universal it is - regular commuters do not like variation in the least. You know, I commuted from the burbs to Chicago by train for years. I was like everyone else - I always sat in the very same seat, always read the paper, always did the crossword, did everything at the very same moment. Any variation was reason for annoyance. The biggest annoyance? Those damn non-regular commuters. As innocent as they were, they were so damn distracting, therefore so annoying.

Commuters clearly require extreme regularity in order to cope.
MaggieO said…
I love Journey Mama! She's amazing.

I was glad to read your change of heart near the end of this post. Sometimes it seems as if in this country we want to regulate all children off to Chuck E Cheese land and not have to see them again until they're 18.
Eleanor said…
I was thinking about Journeymama throughout this post and laughed at the end when you linked to her. It is like that for me too, I can relate to every word you wrote here about your commute and I am also right there with Rae on the way to the Himalayas with four young children.

Blogging is amazing that way, and it brings me so much happiness.
eurolush said…
Great. So now I'm supposed to feel guilty for hating other people's bratty children? What's next...feeling bad about wanting to give ambush makeovers to the momjean wearing public? Never!
Bluebird said…
Delightful! Thanks for sharing.
I had read that and was thinking of it while reading this post, oddly enough. And I cringe, because sometimes I'm a narrator and I DON'T KNOW WHY AND I HATE IT AND I CAN'T STOP IT. It seems to be abating though, as my kids get older and are conversing more.
Anonymous said…
Sometimes I worry that I don't talk to my kiddo enough, that I should be constantly chatting it up with him. But it's just not in me.

I think you might not mind US on the ride in.

jbhat
Spruce Hill said…
I tend to be less tollerent of other people's children.

Nice post!
haus said…
My boy and I took a train trip one fall when he was almost 3. Quite an adventure. My favorite train moment came, though, as we were trying to board in Kansas City. I was pushing him in a stroller and pulling my suitcase while wearing a backpack. As a result I was moving a bit slower and people pushed ahead of us in the line for the elevator. We got on the next elevator, crowded into a corner, and as my son watched everyone cram anxiously aboard he said "wait a minute, wait a minute - everybody take turns!"

Which is pretty good advice, really, no matter your travel situation.
The Coffee Lady said…
Sometimes I narrate. It keeps me amused anyway. The children usually ignore me.

I'm only half sure why, but your story reminds me of the time a relative told me he thought disabled people should go to the supermarket at a special time, so they didn't take up all the parking spaces.
jenny said…
I remember taking the train at rush hour with the kids, just the once. The boy, maybe four or five and the girl not yet two. The stroller, winter coats, lollipops to buy their silence...the whole nine yards.

And the guilt, oh the GUILT. I know they hated me, I would've hated me. Commute disruption is not a good thing.

On the other hand, it's a train, whose last stop is in my small little town. And my kids? Silent and well behaved. And I didn't want to stay in Boston until they were tired and cranky just to avoid the stares.
Anonymous said…
Just want you to know, that I truly love you. (and I'm not a stalker or freak! :)...)
BabelBabe said…
but, Little Miss Sunshine, they WEREN'T cranky.

And they weren't especially disruptive (nothing an iPod couldn't handle).
Maybe the mom got a cheap flight and that was the only time they could go, and she didn't have money for a cab, or any family/friends to help, and she didn't scream and/or ignore the kids, she merely chatted with them. Clearly she was trying to keep them occupied so they WOULDN'T bother any of the very important commuters on their way to their nice quiet office jobs.

So really, guys, get a grip and thank your lucky stars they were so well-behaved. Annoying, maybe, but well-behaved and handled well. Give her some credit. We've (almost) all been there. I am glad you changed your mind by the end, BB : ) because you can pretend all you want you're curmudgeonly, but I know better.
Rae said…
I like the part of the post where you talk about your boys and husband taking care of you NOW. There is light! The end of the tunnel is not so far off.

That said, I'm having a great time. Mostly not annoying people because I've chosen countries to travel in where people don't get annoyed very easily. Especially not by children. There are many, many other disruptions.
Miz S said…
Ha! Eurolush always makes me laugh.