9:15. We're doing better than yesterday; we're out of the house five minutes earlier. I back out of the driveway into the street, put the car into first gear and start up the hill. I see someone coming down the hill along the sidewalk that leads past our house. It's the same woman I saw yesterday, wearing a shirt and skirt and walking with difficulty, leaning on a cane. There's something wrong with her feet, or maybe her legs; I can't tell what. At any rate, she inches along, bent heavily on her support. I pity her. Then I reach the fork in the road where I need to turn left and I forget about her.
9:23. The 6-year-old has been dropped off at day camp, in a good mood. I am back on our street, heading toward daycare to drop off the 3-year-old. I see her again. She has made it maybe 200 feet past where I saw her last. I realize her impediment is serious. But is it really? She is walking on her own, able to transport herself. I admire her. Then I am turning into the daycare parking lot and I switch my attention back to my child.
9:27. The 3-year-old has cried again - the second day in a row - at my departure. He hasn't done this in a long time. I can't figure out what has triggered this bout of separation anxiety and it bothers me. I cast about emotionally for a bit, then remind myself he'll soon calm down and once again take pleasure in his friends, his teachers, his routine. I back out of the daycare lot and pull into the street for my 30-minute commute to work. As I reach the bottom of the hill, I see her again. This time, she's about 100 feet farther along. While I've been racing frenetically here and there, torn in multiple directions, my mind racing with conflicting needs, she's stayed focused on a single, simple goal. I try to catch her expression as I pass by. Her face is set but clear. She knows exactly where she needs to go and she is determined to make it. She doesn't look fretful, or harried, or anxious. I envy her.