My son and I were in Target the other day, when we noticed a young girl looking rather swollen sitting in an electric wheelchair with a striped cap on her head and a tube snaking across her lap.
She was with an older woman who was walking beside her talking about various gift ideas for the holidays.
When we had safely gone out of earshot my son asked, “Mom, did you see that girl in the wheelchair?”
“I did,” I responded.
“What do you think is wrong with her?”
“Well,” I answered. “I am not sure honey. I can guess that she has that cap on her head because she has undergone some kind of chemotherapy or radiation and her hair may have fallen out.”
My son grabbed my arm and looked piercingly at me with his cocoa colored eyes.
“Is she going to die?” he asked.
“I don’t know dear. Hopefully she will be cured, but who knows?”
We were in the toy section of the store and the shelves were bulging with items: Legos, dolls, blocks, Nerf guns - the supply and the shelves seemed endless. Things and more things. Brightly colored boxes enticingly calling to children big and small: “Buy me.”
“That must be really sad for her mom,” my son said in soft voice.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, I am sure it feels really bad for the little girl. I mean she looked about my age Mom. But imagine how a parent would feel watching their child suffer and be so sick. I think it is harder for the parent.”
I looked at my son, tousled the top of his toffee colored hair and gently kissed him on the cheek.
“You are an amazing little boy _____________.” I said to him. He looked up at me and gave me a smile.
We finished our browsing and made our way to the exit. We saw the girl once more and she had several toys on her lap and a smile on her face.
My son and I looked at each other and instinctively reached for each other’s hand as we walked out into the early morning sunshine.