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(written on the plane)

Last night, I was finishing up packing for my trip, looking for a piece of knitting to bring with me. The four-year-old seized a pair of needles and demanded that I teach him how to knit. His enthusiasm infected the seven-year-old. With more patience than usual, I sat down with them and taught them to knit. Right needle through the loop. Wrap the yarn around. Pull the new stitch through. Pull the old stitch from the left needle. My boys are fast learners, and they make me proud with their first efforts.

In the wee hours of the morning, I crept into the kids' rooms. Their faces were slack with sleep and their cheeks were soft in a way they never are when they are awake. They may not remember the kiss their mom gave each of them, but I will carry the feel of their tender faces on my lips all day.

After picking me up, the SuperShuttle stopped at another house where another woman gave a close hug and kiss to another man in a bathrobe before boarding the van. Was she leaving for a week? a month? a year? Does it matter? She is loved and will be missed.

As we continue picking up passengers en route to the airport, going from familiar thoroughfares to unfamiliar neighborhoods and back again, I realize that part of juggling work and family is understanding when your whole focus needs to be absorbed by one or the other. Going away to a meeting means that I can focus just on work, and that is valuable. But my family needs that kind of attention from time to time, too, and that is no less valuable.

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