Andy is so into our Christmas tree. Every morning when we head down the stairs he waves as the tree and says, "Ohhhhh". It's so cute! He loves to walk around it and he'll touch the branches, lights and ornaments with just one finger.
My family always had a tradition of my dad putting his Lionel train around the tree. As the years went on the arrangement would always get a little more intricate as he bought new components (well, OLD parts, but new to him) and tried new arrangements. In recent years he would spend days getting it all set up. I mean, this was serious business, usually involving charts and sketches. My dad's biggest thrill was running the train for visitors. Really special folks would even be able to run the train themselves.
Since my dad's accident my parent's haven't bothered with a Christmas tree, plus my dad really doesn't have the strength or dexterity in his hands, so the trains have remained packed away. Last week when we were setting up our tree we tried a different arrangement in our living room and a plan was hatched. I asked my dad if he would come over with his trains so that he could supervise Brian setting up the train around our tree. Yesterday Brian went over to their house and helped my dad select everything that we would need for today.
My parents came over this afternoon the the train building began. It was a really nice, relaxing and pleasant day. Andy was sleeping when the building was finished, so we all watched Christmas Vacation. We had pizza for dinner, and afterwards it was time to introduce Andy to the train. I just knew he would be thrilled. I think everyone else knew it too, and we were all looking forward to his joyful reaction.
Let's just say we didn't get the reaction we were looking for.
It turns out that he was scared to death! He cried and cried, but did settle down when Brian held him on his lap. I think it also helped to run the train a little slower. After a few rounds Andy got much braver and pretty soon he was loading and unloading the barrel car and giggling like mad.
All in all it was a great night for everyone and we built some wonderful family memories. Now we are looking forward to next weekend when Eric, Kari and the kids come out. It will be so fun to see all three kids joyfully playing with the train. And fun to see my dad enjoying the kids with his beloved trains.