Recently, my darling daughter and I were heading downtown on the 1 train, experiencing more than the usual delays. As we reached the 96th Street station, we heard the announcement that the train would be going express…one stop short of our destination. Aaarrrgh!!!
As we joined the stampede off the train, there was a man struggling to get on with his little daughter in a stroller. Like anyone navigating our city’s subway system with a young child, he was especially stressed!
“The train is going express!” I said to him, thinking he might not have heard the announcement while his attention was focused on getting to where they needed to go.
“What?” He looked up surprised.
“The train is going express,” I repeated. “I thought you might like to know before you fight your way on with the stroller and then watch your stop sail past.” Pointing to my own daughter standing next to me, I continued, “I remember what it’s like!”
As we stood next to one another on the crowded platform, waiting for the next train that would take each of us to our local stop destination, he looked at my grown daughter (she’s really a five-year-old’s Soul in an adult’s body) and then at me, he recognized me as a contemporary and noticed the contrast in our children’s ages.
“I started late in life,” he told me, almost apologetically. “I was busy with my career and making money when I was younger, and I’m having babies when I should be a grandfather. I’m retired now. I think I made a mistake.”
“A mistake?” By this time, the next train arrived and my daughter and I were holding the doors as he pushed the jogging stroller occupied by the pink-clad smiling cutie onto the slightly less crowded train.
“Yes,” he said. “I should have done this 20 years ago, but I was too busy making money.” His face clouded with this admission.
“You can’t change the past,” I reminded him gently. “And if not now, when would you have her?” I asked. “Look at her! Would you miss out on this? If not now, then when?”
The train was pulling into our station and my daughter and I braced ourselves to get off. The man’s face brightened with his relieved smile. “Thank you!” He said. “I needed to hear that. Thank you!”
My work was done. I remind people of what they need to hear.
Have I reminded you? Please share!