All Aboard

February 19, 2010 @ 8:43 pm | Filed under: ,

Yesterday the five younger kids and I stood on an Amtrak platform in downtown San Diego, waving wild goodbyes as Jane’s train pulled away, headed for L.A. Big moment for us: the first venturing-forth-alone of one of my chicks. Jane is spending a few days with my friend Kristen and my soon-to-be-goddaughter, who is seriously the most beautiful baby you ever saw. (And I don’t say this lightly. I’ve had some mighty pretty babies myself.)

I thought I would be more freaked out about putting Jane on a train alone, going to Los Angeles for pity’s sake, but to my surprise I was more excited and happy for her than anything else. Maybe it’s all the time I’ve been spending in the high-school Betsy-Tacy books lately: I feel positively Mrs. Ray-ish about this trip: just tickled pink that Jane gets to have such a fun adventure. (Though of course we are missing her like crazy.)

Betsy was just Jane’s age, fourteen, when she went off to Butternut Center for a week on the farm with friends of her father’s. I was exactly Jane’s age when my parents sent me to Germany for seven weeks with a few other kids from school, to stay with some families who had known my English teacher when her husband was stationed in Kaiserslautern. Germany! With no cell phones, no internet! Mom and Dad, now that I know what it’s like, you amaze me.

It was an incredibly fun trip and I am so glad they let me go.

Jane seems to be having an incredibly fun trip, and I am so glad we let her go. 🙂

But I had to laugh at myself just now, when I checked her Facebook page for about the tenth time today and saw no new update. Yes, I am actually complaining that my teenager doesn’t spend enough time on Facebook.

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13 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Somebody's Grandpa says:

    Hmmm, sounds like your parents might have been “living vicariously through their children.” (And perhaps now they are living precariously through yours.) 🙂

  2. Melissa Wiley says:

    Ha—so it’s one thing to send your own kids off on adventures, and another thing entirely when your kids send your grandbaby to the big city all by herself? 😉

  3. Somebody's Grandpa says:

    I like yes and no questions.

    The answer: “Yes.”

    To paraphrase the Great Spock: “Jane, you have been and ever shall be my grandbaby.”

  4. Ellie says:

    My 20yo (who has had his share of solo amtracking ‘cross country) says: “please tell me somebody was meeting her at the station?!” *smile*

    At 14 I was train traveling BY.MYSELF. through Europe. Ai yi yi.

    Hope she has a fabulous time! 🙂 I love teenage-hood: they can do big things like this, but you still get to keep them at home, too.

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    Oh yes, in fact Amtrak requires that anyone under 16 be signed in and out with paperwork and ID at both ends. 🙂 It was really very comforting, and I was so impressed with Amtrak’s service!

    There was also an “interview” where they asked her what she would do if someone bothered her on the train, or if she had any kind of trouble at all. Of course it was the same thing I had grilled her on already.

    The porter and conductor spoke to Jane and me on the platform, and the porter sent her up to business class for free. 🙂 He recommended that I purchase a business class ticket for her “next time” because that means “there are two of us to keep an eye on her—the conductor and me.” He was a real sweetheart about it. And it’s a great tip.

    Jane said he brought her a snack tray and everything. 🙂

    Krissy and baby Vivi met her on the other end and the conductor had Krissy’s name on the form with my signature.

    I share all this by way of FYI for other parents contemplating teen train travels. 🙂

    Ellie, it’s so true about teenagers—so great to send her off on an adventure and know I’m going to get her back very soon!

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Though after what I’m hearing this morning about homemade cinnamon rolls, she may not want to come back.


  7. Hannah says:

    So is she going to help with the new baby, since she has plenty of baby experience at home? What fun to take the train! It’s so scenic between SD and LA!

  8. Joann Estis says:

    Our first send off was to Rome. Then Mexico (both trips sans cellphones). Oh and I recall taking a teenager to Virginia once and a dear friend put her on an Amtrak train. It is a joy to see them become independent and self-sufficient!

  9. Melissa Wiley says:

    That was such fun, picking C. up in Staunton and putting her on the train in Cville! Except we wanted to keep her!

  10. Kathryn says:

    I hope Jane’s trip continues to be great fun :). Impressive service from Amtrak – sounds more like travelling by plane than by train. My almost 15yo has been using trains for a while, as it is the easiest way to get to the next town, but has had a couple of unscheduled train adventures. One time she ended up half an hour too far north in pursuit of the purse her friend left on a train (the rail staff tracked it down, but they had to go and collect it from lost property in another town). Another time she ended up too far south by getting on the wrong train. Lesson learned: always check the departure board! I love seeing them get more independent 🙂

  11. Lisa says:

    It IS fun to see them “try their wings”….

  12. Alice Gunther says:

    Put that lassie on a plane to New York for a real adventure.

  13. Alice Gunther says:

    Put that lassie on a plane to New York for a real adventure.