Ben is off from school this week, and although I have plenty of work to do, I have to shelve it and pretend that I’m on vacation, too. Tony’s doing the same, so we took the boys to Train Town yesterday. We’d been once before, when I was pregnant with Eli; it’s a low-key, hokey kind of place, with a big steam train meandering through woods and past waterfalls and miniature replicas of 19th century Sierra mountain towns. That first trip, we rode the train once and then went into town for ice cream.

This time, as we rode the train and tried to keep Eli from falling out (he was leaning over the side, intently studying the train’s pistons and couplings), Ben noticed the amusement park rides. These hadn’t made any impression on that first trip, but there’s a small carousel, a Ferris wheel, a plane ride, even a miniature roller coaster. Ben kept eying those planes, and after our train ride, asked to buy a ticket for the airplane. “But you have to go on by yourself, you know,” I cautioned. “It’s too small for Daddy and me, and it’s too big for Eli.” Ben went over and read the sign himself: “Children only. No adults allowed.” “That’s ok!” he answered brightly. “I’m up for it!”

Well! My cautious boy is spreading his wings. He rode once, doing his air traffic controller play-by-play the whole time, then jumped off the plane, beaming, and asked to ride again. So he did, and in a day with two exceptionally happy boys, the best part for Tony and me was watching Ben, flying that plane.

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