When an Amtrak Riding Mom Travels Alone to DC

Sometimes when I return home from a trip-wait, no.Typically it’s a unit of “we” returning home from a trip; let’s start again. When an Amtrak riding Mom travels alone to DC, what will she do?

I went to a town that I love more than any other town, funny because it’s not even a town. Or a city. Or, hell, even a state. The founding fathers were weird.

DC: where my past visits have often included at least an hour of aimless, destination-free Metro-riding. Just sticking my fare card into the slot makes my heart do the electric slide. But when I hop a line without having to double-check the map, that’s when my brain does a boogie woogie. Once, years before the Small People entered Life, Stage Left, I rode the red line from end to end while JB and our friends went to a museum.

So happy. (Offers cheese and crackers to the fare card sitting next to me on the couch.) Okay, I’m weird, too.

On Wednesday, Momsrising had an event planned aimed at reminding legislators about the importance of early education, but I got to leave early for DC, because JB rocks like granite.

By the way, Clay Aiken was on my train,

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Small People Go to Washington

Yes, we went to a little Rally, but we really had planned a November Birthday Train Trip to DC long before said rally was announced.

I have decided that I love Amtrak for short, no-layover, trips. Otherwise, I think you are paying for the experience versus convenience. One lady had been on the train for 24 hours already when we got on that Friday morning. I couldn’t do 24 hours on a train with two kids. I could barely do the 7 hours that our trip to DC took. Not because of the children, per se. Being confined that long makes me all itchy and twitchy–the ADHD defies medication in those moments. Normally I would lose myself in a book, but that isn’t so much a reality when riding with Small People. You know, because they are screeching at each other, kicking the chair in front of them, or trying to pull the Emergency window release.

Now, if we had a sleeping car… but then train travel is definitely not cost effective. Ah, but it would still be cool to ride a train–in a sleeping car– across the country someday. Then do it across Europe.

Anyway, we went to DC via train and then rode underground trains through tunnels. Oh, happy day for the Small People. I was also reminded that there really is no full-proof way to predict a Small Person’s reaction. An adult’s expectations are so much more than a Small Person’s. The inequities between the available Life Experiences seems to make the adult reality–i.e., something that is most mundane or lame– really cool to the Small People. Conversely, that which you assumed would be super cool for them will turn out to be a traumatic mess. It’s part of how they keep us guessing.

Me: Zach, what was your favorite part of the Birthday Train Trip?
Zach: The fast train ride. Oh, and the fold-out bed in a hotel room. The fold-out couch bed was really cool.

Not seeing the White House, where the President lives.

Not the Memorials, even those that had waterfalls.

Not going to the rally; or leaving the rally to go to the Air and Space Museum (though I’m hopeful that space ships starts to replace dinosaurs soon).

Awesome was reserved for sharing a thin and lumpy mattress on a fold-out bed with Elliot. But damn, this is cute.

Me: Elliot, what was your favorite part of the Birthday Train Trip?
Elliot: Ride Fast Train. Ride in tunnels (the Metro). CHOO-CHOO. Woo-WOO!”
(big pause)
Elliot: Don’t like it, the backpack.

There you have it. Birthday Train Trip, an official success.

Plus, where else do you get the chance to snap this picture, which says sums up a lot of my feelings about being an American right now? Complete with miniature representatives of the country’s future, blissfully unaware of the significantly happy Mommy-moment happening a few feet away.

That’s what you’d see. There’s no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And, uh, if that’s what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them, then we’d better get those boys’ camps started fast and see what the kids can do. And it’s not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light. They’re right here; you just have to see them again!~ Jefferson Smith from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington