Scheduling life will never be the same once your man is in the fire or police department. This is a consistently heard lesson across blogs and unsolicited advice. Fathers miss recitals, school plays, teacher meetings, championship games, and other important family gatherings because of the job.

Holidays will be spent alone, family visits made solo.

I was spoiled when The Man first started the job because between the schedule and the demands (or lack thereof), he was able to spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas with me and my family. New Year’s Eve was spent alone, but a phone call at midnight made it feel as though this was just another night tour.

It wasn’t until this week when I felt the last-minute effects of the amorphous firefighter schedule. Yes, the entire year is planned out for him, but sometimes someone in the house needs coverage for myriad reasons, which means last-minute schedule changes.

I don’t care that it’s mid-January. Christmas trees are beautiful!

For years, I’ve wanted to go to the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens. And for years, something always came up and we missed it. This year was different, and we discussed more than a month ago when would be best to attend said event. After mulling over the calendar and eliminating dates because of his work schedule and planned engagements, we picked Friday, January 15. Yes! I am finally going to see small, discarded pieces of nature masterfully transformed into New York City landmarks! Oh, and there will be trains.

Three days before the event, a senior member of The Man’s house called and asked if he could switch shifts with him. Now, he has to work Friday, January 15. It’s crummy, but it really is fine, because it’s not like I’m giving birth to The Man’s first born child. Once we established that our scheduling was changing, I had the thought that the train show should be ending fairly soon…

The last day is January 18!

Luckily, during the final weekend of the show, there were still tickets available. It doesn’t matter that I live with this man, spending close to every night by his side; date nights are important. Especially right now, with my anxiety remaining at a steady high, and job-related stress in the air, we don’t get to plan special events that often. Even without the negative extras, date nights are important to keep the connection alive and communication flowing.

So, a little about the show: Inside the enchanting Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, The Man and I, along with other enthusiastic adults, view more than 150 landmarks from New York City and the Hudson Valley, made from natural materials. Where most see a fallen leaf, or a useless pistachio shell, the artists from Applied Imagination see what can become an architectural accent on a small-scale structure. Whizzing over the handcrafted bridges, and through natural tunnels, more than a half-mile of tracks carrying G-scale locomotives, complete the surreal experience.

Check out my gallery below, filled with images I captured during my nearly missed date night. The images include the finale of the event which includes a  reflecting pool and models of the Unisphere and other 1964 World’s Fair landmarks.