At a stop light yesterday, I glanced right and left, looking for distractions. The phone lay idle on the dash. Even with Bluetooth, I’m trying not to get involved with long conversations while driving. So I look for pedestrians, or fall foliage, or intriguing graffiti, anything to distract me at red lights.
A family on the sidewalk arrested my glance — a young mother and a gaggle of children. I counted, as always: One two three four. Now I knew how many there were; until all four made it across the street, I would not move. The mother, clad in denim, young, hair spilling over her shoulders, grabbed the hand of the youngest. She strode forward, the other three scurrying to keep pace. They cleared the intersection just as my light changed.
The mother looked back, bent to gather her ducklings, and held her eyes level with my window. She smiled, her face glowing. She knew, I swear she knew: She’d felt me waiting for her babies to get to safety.
The car behind me honked, then; and I shifted my foot to the gas pedal. As my car started into the intersection, I saw her walk away, down the sidewalk, small shoulders squared, babies gathered around her, brown curls whisking back and forth. I smiled the rest of the way home.