Melinda and I were chatting this morning about one of the things we most miss about last year. It’s not so much about being in France, as much as that’s a big factor. It’s about the anonymous nature of our days there.

This is connected to a drastic reduction in responsibilities, of course, but it’s not just about that, either. It’s about being able to ride the tram with Ella to school and then walk back home, reasonably secure with the knowledge that we were not going to be recognized or interrupted. It was unlikely we’d come home to find a mess of phone or email messages.

It had to do with knowing that as long as the girls were occupied and otherwise taken care of, we could go about our day in relative anonymity.

The nature of our jobs makes it very difficult to “disappear,” so having a year in which we could kind of “drop out” was a gift beyond measure. Certainly, we knew this going in to the sabbatical. We even knew it during the sabbatical. But being back at work and having to be so “present” has made it even more pronounced.

As you likely understand, there are moments in which we miss being anonymous.

To honor this, I present a photo from last September on a day Melinda and I just took off for hours, following a bus line to its end, secure in the knowledge that both girls were properly taken care of.

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