Mother’s Day. Those two simple words conjure up so many warm and fuzzy images in the minds of mothers across our city. Delightful images of sleeping in, foot rubs, and a clean kitchen are some of the visions that dance in our heads, and many of us anticipate this day months in advance. As the mom of a two year old, I am still getting used to my role as the “mother” in Mother’s Day. My own daughter is still too young to bring me breakfast in bed, or make me a card with “I love you” written in dry pasta, but nevertheless, I have tried to make this day special in both the years I have been able to celebrate it as a mom.
For my first Mother’s Day, I convinced my less-than-enthusiastic husband to run in the annual Forzani’s Mother’s Day Run and Walk. Since it was Mother’s Day, he got to push the stroller, while I ran the 10 km unencumbered. I had a fabulous time, but that was the problem: I was the only one having fun. My daughter, although snug in her luxurious stroller, was simply bored. It was then that I realized what would truly make the best Mother’s Day: spending the day with my daughter doing something that made her truly happy, since her smiles and laughter are the best moments I’ve experienced since becoming a mother.
With that realization in mind, this past Mother’s Day, I hung up my running shoes and went to Heritage Park. My daughter Jordan was, and still is, obsessed with trains. Anything that can make a “choo choo” sound is fascinating to her, and she once accosted a young boy at the mall to try and get a better look at his train shirt. What better way to make my daughter happy, then to take her to the very special “Day out with Thomas” at Heritage Park?
If you have not been to this event at Heritage Park, make it a priority to do so this year! Although the admission is quite expensive at around $25 per person, it is so worth the money if your children are anything like the hundreds who filled the park that day. Any child who likes trains, or has even seen the Thomas show once, will be blown away by the experience. The day was overcast and cloudy, but that did not damper the spirit of all of the children, and adults, who were thrilled to have a chance to ride on the “real” Thomas!
As we walked into the park, we were greeted with our very own train tattoos. I’m pretty certain that my daughter could have turned around and went home happy just from that experience, but luckily, we actually entered the Park and continued with our train adventure. With each person assigned a departure time, we had about half an hour before we had to board Thomas, so we went into the giant tents where there were train tables galore! Jordan and her friend played with all of the train tables, and completed some crafts before we went to line up for the train.
At exactly 2:30, the train came into view of the station, and there was a collective gasp; not just from the children, but also the adults. I was expecting some lame cardboard cut-out of Thomas plastered in front of the real engine, but no, this was ACTUALLY Thomas! I don’t know who was more excited in my group: the one-and-a-half year old, the four year old, or the two thirty year old moms! The train engine itself was so impressive that we all just stood there staring with our mouths open until the kind conductor reminded us that Thomas was on a strict schedule that day!
We completed our two loops around the park, which was a great way to see where we wanted to go next. When we got off the train, and after saying “bye bye, Thomas” at least ten times, we decided to go for a horse-drawn buggy ride. On our way to the horses, we were side-tracked by the gift shop. I assumed that everything there would be ridiculously overpriced, but there were so many fun things for all ages, and all of it was quite reasonable. For $20, the two kids each got a Thomas umbrella and a train whistle (the latter we regretted instantly…those things are loud!), and were so proud, they insisted on showing them off to everyone we passed.
While waiting for the horses to arrive (and hoping our hearing would soon return), we went into one of the smaller stores in the Park and got to watch an impressive display of model trains. The train design was so much fun, as Thomas, Percy, Rosie, and the rest of the gang got to visit places like Disneyland (complete with Mickey!) and the pyramids of Egypt. Both of the kids were just as excited about the model trains as they were to ride on the “real” Thomas.
After our carriage ride, and our ten minute long horse petting session, we set out to experience the rest of the Park. We visited the farm animals and had our first ice cream cone of the season, then it was time for one last treat: getting our faces painted. Jordan had her face painted for the first time and loved the cat design she chose. She spent the remainder of the day purring like a kitten, while “choo choo”ing around the house! It was the perfect end to a wonderful day.
I couldn’t ask for a better Mother’s Day. To me, Mother’s Day is not just a day to celebrate mom, but a day for moms to celebrate the children who have given them this honoured title. When my daughter was making tooting noises while riding Thomas, or giggling at her cat makeup in the mirror, I knew that she was a happy, healthy child, and for this mom, that beats foot rubs and extra sleep any day.
By Meagan Lundgren
Guest Author, Mom and Teacher.