Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Little Engine that . . .

To put it bluntly, Mike is pretty frugal. He always says, "I'd rather have money in the bank than stuff." For the most part, I agree with him and I certainly support him and love him for being so financially responsible.

Last week when we were in Home Depot buying wood, screws and a metal shelf, Mike was very focused on his proverbial list. He is not easily distracted by end displays bragging 'great deals' or 'must buys.' I, on the other hand notice all of that stuff. Which is exactly why a Christmas train marked 50% off caught my eye.

As I glanced at the box, I thought how much my two little boys would LOVE that train. And then with no warning, I got all choked up thinking about how few years I have left of little boys loving a train that would circle around our Christmas tree playing seasonal music.

I hurried to find Mike in the wood aisles. (Really there are some sections of Home Depot that could be quite enjoyable. Why does my husband always pick the boring sections?!) Speaking approximately 200 words a minute I described the Christmas train to Mike. In true Mike fashion, he rolled his eyes and said, "Do what you want."  It wasn't permission to buy it that I wanted. I wanted him to tear up with me and sentimentally say, "Oh dearie, our boys are only going to be young once. You must go get that train and put it on our cart immediately. They will love it."

He didn't.

Instead I pulled out my phone, typed a text to my mother saying, "If you were with me, you would tell me my boys are only young once, right?"

She didn't respond.
I was on my own.

I returned to the train display, choking up all over again as I read, "Characters bounce up and down while music plays." Without thinking any more about it, I picked up the train and met Mike in the shelving department. He didn't smile, he didn't tear up, he just gave me that trademark smirk of his that I absolutely adore.

As we pulled into the driveway 25 minutes later, a text message came through. It was my mother exclaiming, "ABSOLUTELY! I hope I'm not too late."

The train was kept hidden away until the Christmas tree was ready for the train to take it's place at the base of it.

Monday night the Christmas tree got all set up and Mike and Joshua left to retire to bed, leaving me and a couple of kids to finish up the last touches. My train excitement was ready to burst and I told Mike that we should invite Joshua to stay up a little longer and bring out the train.

Wanting to go to sleep, he pleaded slight sentimentality and asked, "I thought you wanted Drew to see it too? Wait until the morning." (Drew was already asleep in bed.)

I wanted to do it then.
And needlessly I selfishly added, "Our kids are only young once. I can't believe you are going to go to bed and miss this."

Mike ignored the fact that he had been awake since 4:30am and was dead tired, and he kindly and selflessly came and laid on the couch to observe this monumental Christmas train debut.

I wish I had had a video camera in hand to capture Joshua's ear-to-ear smile and reaction as the train box was set in front of him.

I was glad there was no video camera minutes later.

The track was hard to put together.
I had too many children (only Drew was missing) trying to help with both their hands and opinions.
We realized we needed a 9 volt battery. Thankfully Mike had one in a tool box somewhere.
Then we realized we needed 4 'c' batteries that of course we didn't have.

Trying to keep tears at bay (mine not Joshua's) we all retired to bed.
At 6:20am the next morning I was at Walmart buying the necessary batteries.
At 6:40am Drew was next to me wide eyed, grinning and THRILLED about the new train.
At 6:41am I text Mike and told him that the smile on Drew's face couldn't even compare to the $25 I spent on the train.
At 6:45am I was debating whether or not to wake up Joshua. (I typically have a very strict motherhood rule that you do NOT wake up sleeping children, but come on the train now had batteries!)
By 7:20am I was trying to convince Drew that he was not the sole owner of the train.
By 7:30am I had heard enough of the "Characters bounce up and down while music plays" promise and put the remote on a high shelf.
By 7:40am I gave Drew back the remote in preference of "Characters bounce up and down while music plays" music instead of screams while I got the kids ready for school.
By 7:51am I text Mike to have him remind me whose idea purchasing the train actually was.
By 8:00am Joshua had cried about 438 times for a turn with the train.
By 8:25am the train was put up high in Mike's closet
By lunchtime the train was returned to the track.
By late afternoon the train had 'magically disappeared.'

Today the train spent most of it's time in a box in the garage.

Thank heaven my kids are only young once.

Happy December!


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