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Today is National Train Day!  Did you know that? shares that in 1869, “The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads were speeding across the wild, American frontier, laying tracks for what would soon become the first Transcontinental rail line. Construction was often done at great peril, as vast areas of the west were truely wild and unsettled. Once completed, train service would be connected from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, making the world a whole lot smaller.”  Can you imagine living during that time?

My son has a love for trains.  In fact, he is drawing the whole family into it.  (Isn’t it funny how when your child loves something, it is as if you are suddenly and newly tuned in to anything “train?”)  A couple weeks ago, we headed out to ride the rails on a (somewhat) local scenic train ride.

I was probably as excited as my son, but for me it was more along the lines that this was going to be nice family-time and I was going to watch the thrill and excitement on my son’s face as we rode his “most favorite vehicle of all.”

The train ride was scheduled to be a three hour round trip.  It was a neat old train.  We cheered when it arrived and were thrilled when it began to move.  The four of us sat facing each other as we zoomed, albeit casually, past the beautiful natural surroundings.  There was a food car and a souvenir car, both of which we visited.

The crux of the trip was that at 2 hours and 45 minutes into the trip, we had not yet reached the half way point.  And that was pretty much when the ride started to turn south.  Apparently, the train had a large crowd which delayed most of their stops.  To say it mildly, we were tired.  Dan had spent a good deal of time “walking the aisle” from the front to back of the train, alternating children.

Thankfully, the train made up a lot time on the return trip and with less crowds, we were back at the original depot in four and a half hours.  And even though my son was ready to get off five minutes prior, the actual act of departing made him very sad.

Exhausted and beginning our journey (by car) home, I turned to Dan and questioned, “So, did we have fun?”  I just really wanted to know.  I mean, we were supposed to have fun . . . but did we?  I wasn’t so sure.

Even with my love of planning fun family outings and creating those special moments that thrill my kids, it is good to remember that not everything works out the way I plan.  But the reality is that we still spent time together as a family.  We did create memories.  Dan and I can laugh about the “3 hour” train ride that never seemed to end.

And now when anyone hears of my son’s love of trains and asks if we’ve ridden the railroad, I just secretly roll my eyes and say, “Yes, why yes we have.”

What family plans haven’t gone as you had planned?  Can you laugh about it yet?