I'd meant to leave early enough this morning to miss the school-bound traffic, but didn't. I've been feeding my daughter's cat while she's gone and haven't got a routine yet. Between my house and hers is 2.5 miles of a 2-lane, fall-soaked stretch of coffee shops, bakeries, apartments and bus stops.
We stop for pedestrians here. It's one of the alms we pay for the privilege of living in an intimate neighborhood. I always drive at an easy pace, anticipating the crosscurrent of humanity.
This morning I noticed a father and his three school children as they reached the corner. Holding the hand of his young son, the two older sisters close behind, the father looked for me and and made eye contact. He wanted to be sure before ushering his brood into the crosswalk.
Dad wore an amber beard and a Toy Story back pack. In his free hand he held a small stuffed panda bear. For my courtesy I received a wave from the panda hand.
It was exactly perfect; the father's care, a favorite toy, I know how it is to get kids to school every morning, the panda wave. Tears came to my eyes with the beauty of the present and common moment.