I met a fairly young mother who had two young children on the train ride back to the Bay Area from Portland. She recently lost her husband who was involved in a fishing boat accident when they were living in Alaska. They were on the train to San Diego to stay with family as the first stage of starting a new life.
Her two young boys were six and five months, respectively. I really can't imagine how hard it is to raise two young children alone, let alone losing a spouse in a tragic accident. Children are rambunctious and really deserve to have enough space to run around and play. Given today's economy, I can understand the justification for taking the train over air travel. Unfortunately the ride to San Diego from Alaska takes a few days and trains don't offer much in the way for entertainment.
It was obvious to me the long ride was taking its toll on the mother, so I offered to look after her kids while she took a much needed rest on her own. The older boy kept occupied with the simple video games on my computer which left me with the infant. He was such a sweet baby...not like other babies I've come across. He let me pick him up, kept quiet, and wasn't very fussy. He did seem rather ill, which is understandable given the type of travel. The baby really liked being held (well, I suppose all babies like to be held) and seemed content with the kind of attention that I offered.
Even though babies wear diapers and do not control their own body functions, they have a certain "innocent" smell...even if they are germ sponges. The baby I was taking care of had quite the runny nose. For some time I played with him, wiped his nose, hummed to him, anything to keep him occupied. As standard baby procedure, the baby threw up on my shoulder. It happened so fast...I guess I had my head turned briefly to check on his older brother. It got all over the right shoulder and sleeve of my jacket and jeans. Unfortunately for me, they were the only pair of jeans I brought on the trip. I guess this kind of event would bother most people, but given the nature of the situation, I quickly cleaned myself and the baby up and returned to entertain the lad. I'm sure onlookers were appalled by the sight, but I figure that babies throw up...that and pooping are about all they do.
Eventually, as dusk settled, the boy and his baby brother had to return to their mother for dinner. Come morning, I would be departing the train in Sacramento so I turned in for the night...baby barf still on my jeans. This probably sounds weird, but I really felt good about starting the year with a baby throwing up on me.
Submitted by Anonymous
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