Train, Train, Don’t Go Away

Dear Marshall,

One day we went to the library and they had a wooden train set on an activity table. You fell in love with it. You would have played with it all day, and I felt so horrible when I eventually had to drag you away from it. After that, you wanted to go the library every day.

What you didn’t remember was that you had a similar train set of your own. It was from your Uncle Eric. According to your grammie, your cousins loved that train set and played with it for years, long after the age at which you’d think it could still amuse them. Your uncle decided to pass it down to you rather than leave it in his attic to gather dust.

We didn’t let you play with it right away, though, because it seemed like a recipe for disaster given Livia’s bad habit of putting everything in her mouth. Magnets can be particularly problematic when there are young toddlers around, and of course these trains connect with magnets. But when you fell in love with the set at the library, I asked your dad to get yours out. It turns out that he had stashed it in the attic at the apartments. I asked him to bring it back, but he kept forgetting.

One day your grandparents came to visit. Your grammie didn’t see the trains, so she asked you where they were. You replied, “Daddy took them to the library.” Ha-ha!

Your father did finally bring them home, and you loved them, as expected. But a seed of worry started to grow in my mind. This gift from your uncle has strings attached. He wants us to give the train set back when his kids have children of their own. I see the potential here for much unhappiness. What if you destroy the set? You certainly are hard on them. And what if you love the trains as much as they did? How will you feel about giving them back? And if you don’t give them back, how will your cousins feel? Sometimes people get very attached to their childhood toys. Some adults have been known to spend enormous amounts of money trying to buy the same toys they had in their youth.

If there’s anything people shouldn’t fight over, it’s toys. So, just to be safe, your grammie and I bought you some trains and tracks of your own. This will give you the option of keeping some of the trains when and if your cousins ask for theirs back. And in the meantime, you have more trains than you could possibly ever need. Enjoy!

Love,

Mom

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