I sat near a young family on a BART train this weekend, as I rode from 24th street to West Oakland. The parents were in their mid 30s, the first child was perhaps 7 years old, and the second child was perhaps 2. Every family member had some form of assorted luggage with them, even the children. However, as the train approached Embarcadero, the mother began saying goodbye to her family, and kissed her youngest daughter several times as the train pulled up to the stop. The youngest seemed to enjoy her mother’s kisses, but was also calm and mildly disinterested; content to gaze out the window.
Then the whole family said another round of good-byes, and the mother exited the train with only her own luggage, while the rest of the family stayed on the train. Seeing her mother on the other side of the window, the youngest began to look concerned.
“Look, there’s Mommy! Blow a kiss to Mommy!” the father encouraged his girls. The older child blew kisses to her mother, but the younger looked baffled and concerned and did nothing. The older child tried to help her sister blow a kiss.
“Blow a kiss to Mommy!”
“But,” stammered the youngest, her face screwing up into a wince as she spoke, “I want to put a kiss on Mommy!” and broke into bitter tears as the reality sunk in. Mommy was on the other side of the window; Mommy got off the train while she stayed on. Everybody waved and blew kisses while the train lurched forward and Mommy seemed to slide off to the right and finally out of sight.