Trains, No Planes and Automobiles

Our empty nest is filling up once again as our three children arrive home for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The first to arrive was our middle son whose Tuesday afternoon biology lab was cancelled, allowing him to snag a ride home with a fellow student. Our middle child usually comes home with a large bag of laundry and a shaggy mop of dark hair (just like my husband used to have before he went white. Thank goodness all my kids inherited his thick hair, and not the fine, thin, superstraight locks that are bane of my existence. But I digress.) Since he is such a creature of habit, he didn't disappoint on either the laundry or the shaggy front, but he has added a full beard to the mix. This may take some getting used to. It does make him look more mature, but please don't tell him I said that.
Our daughter arrived from DC on Amtrak about 15 minutes later than scheduled. Which was a good thing as I had crawled east on the Schuykill Expressway, (also known as the "Sure Kill" Expressway in our household, as in, "You can sure kill a lot of time on the expressway") and arrived at 30th Street Station just as my husband called to tell me the train was late. I guess I just had to experience what Philadelphia's 30th Street Station is like at a busy travel time or I would have had my daughter take a regional rail line out to our suburb. But she has never taken the train from school before and she's young and petite and was bringing a heavy bag full of the books she needs for the paper that she's writing over break and I took pity on her. Luckily, our timing was great and the parking gods were with me. I had snaked around the station in a long line of cars, getting increasingly anxious about what to do if I actually had to attempt to parallel park. Remember, I grew up in Nebraska and this Cornhusker does not have a parallel parking gene. But I found two metered spaces empty and could pull in--whew!--and thus spared myself from blaring horns and angry looks from other drivers. I was there for four minutes by the time I collected my daughter and returned to the car.
After six years of having to fly home from either Miami or Los Angeles, our oldest can now travel to us by train and that's how he'll arrive later tonight. He's probably traveling light, is more experienced and at 6'2" is not at all petite so one of us will be collecting him from the regional rail station.
With the nest much fuller, my husband and I will be re-living one of the aspects of early parenthood--sleep deprivation. It's already started. I turned out the lights around 11:30 last night and woke sometime after to the thud, thud, thud of my son's size 11s on the uncarpeted stairs. And woke again around 1:30 to the smoke alarm. My daughter was washing her hair and the steam set off our super-sensitive alarm. But it is soooo good to have them home. I'm off to work, but only for the morning as we have an early dismissal for students and staff. Then it will be time to relax, maybe take a nap and listen to my children's stories about their lives and just enjoy having them near. I'm wishing the same contentment to all of you.


  1. Enjoy your family being home. I smiled as I read and thought of your description as the Norman Rockwell version of the 21st century. Love it! Lights on, smoke alarms, thuds on steps! Somewhere in there, they will be tapping away on their Aps on cell phones. How quickly we adapted to the silence of children out of the house only to have the ~wonderful~ upheaval!

  2. Enjoy your Holiday with the children! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Yup, it's the train for our daughter too -- she's arriving home tonight. Have a great Thanksgiving with your kids!

  4. This will be my house in the next year or two and I dread that empty feeling - son is now a senior in high school....yet I yearn for that feeling!

    Enjoy the time with all the kids together, at home! You can always catch up on sleep when they leave!


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