My wife and I took the car to the dealer yesterday to once and for all address the check engine light, and get a peace of mind as we move into the cold days of winter.  So we took the subway to work and preschool.  

I take the train every day, but we hadn’t taken the boy on the subway in about two years so I was anxious; I was totally against commuting with Devin during rush hour in the city.  My wife, however, convinced me that it would be fine, and it was.  We prepped the boy before we all went underground saying things like “there will be lots of big people on the train” and “you’ll probably not get a seat kiddo” and “stay very close to us.”  When we arrived at the platform underground he was in awe, and visibly a bit nervous.  The nervousness did not last long at all.  “Train tracks just like Thomas’!” He shouted as he struggled to get a closer look.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the train breezed into the station prompting the smile that spread across his cherubic face.  It was priceless. 

We stepped onto the train as a family and we found a place where we could stand together.  The doors closed with the familiar “ding dong” sound that I remember from my youth signaling that our little journey was set to begin.  Once the train was in motion Devin said, and a little too loudly I should add, “Mommy, I like the train.”  My grinning wife then brought her eyes to mine and said “great, now people are going to think that we’re a bunch of bumpkins that have never been on the subway before.”  I just adore her sense of humor.  We laughed as we were jostled by hard-faced New Yorkers. 

As the train moved from station to station Devin impersonated the whooshing sounds of the brakes, smiling the type of smile that only a three-year-old in a state of pure bliss can.  When we got off of the “iron horse” at our Mid-Town Manhattan stop we started toward the conductor’s post at the center of the train so that Devin could get a glimpse of the real thing as apposed to Tom Hank’s animated character in the Polar Express.  And we got a good one.

The conductor was in full MTA dress from head to toe, his hat giving him the authentic look that we had hoped for.  He was an older gentleman with a deep voice and a serious look of duty.  Devin started waving wildly at the man that was probably someone’s grandfather acting like the full-blown train groupie that he is.  The conductor nodded politely and mouthed a hello that made my boy’s year.  “He looked at me!  He looked at me!  The conducted looked at me!  He said hello to me!  Not you, me!”  For the rest of the day he talked about his first real experience on the subway (he was an oblivious toddler the first time he rode the rails).  It’s moments like that that remind us how life can have moments of unexpected joy even during something as mundane as commuting.