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The Train

I found Robb’s Train.  It’s old and beautiful, and he cared for it with deep intensity.

That mostly means that he kept it wrapped and stored as we moved
from first apartment
to starter home
to new city apartment
to house
throughout our ten years.

I studied his careful packaging for storage in the basement.  I remembered how often he had talked about the dream of setting it up for the boys, perhaps to circle the Christmas tree.  He had many childhood memories with The Train, and he planned to sprinkle those memories into their childhood as well.

I thought how sad it was that he didn’t get to put it together for them, show them the whistles and bells, teach them how to run the levers.

And then I remembered: Yes he did.

Just one month before he died, he set up and introduced the boys to a grand display of The Train.  He circled their playroom with the track, and he enforced one rule: only play with the train when Daddy can help you.

He spent one evening after another, teaching his boys the love for the locomotive.  And he packed it up and put it all away just days before it would have been my heart-wrenching task to do with severe inadequacy.

He hadn’t waited too long.  He shared The Train with his small sons.

The list continues in ways that astound me: he left nothing undone.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. Oh, how wonderful!

  2. Let this be a lesson for us all–time is precious and not without its limits. A difficult “do it now” may avoid a more guilt-ridden “never able to do” later. Thanks for this tender and precious reminder. Glad you recalled Robb’s lessons with the boys 🙂

  3. Amazing, simply amazing. I’m so glad.

  4. What a gift for you to write about it with the same care and deep intensity. Sometimes I wonder at what age your boys will read the treasure trove you are creating for them.

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