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Mom, herself a pediatrician, had suggested it. “Knitting clears your brain,” she said. “You see results.”
During the time she’d been at Children’s, Helen had knitted constantly, not for herself, but for the kids. She made what was needed — chemo caps, security blankets, stuffed animals. Now she was knitting a throw with a cheery design of trucks and cars.
It was almost done, just a few rows left. Helen loved that the “Traffic Throw” was knitted with Vanna’s Choice®. For every skein purchased, St. Jude’s Research Hospital, dedicated to curing childhood diseases, received a donation. Knowing that made Helen feel she was doubling the benefit of her knitted gifts. She loved everything else about the yarn, too–its softness and clear, bright colors. On break, she’d sit in the lounge and knit away. When others asked, Helen answered, “Oh…it’s for someone I haven’t met yet.”
Then one of the surgeons told her about Charlie. “Helen,” he said. “Check out room 102.” He pointed down the hall, where the post-op kids were monitored.” Charlie pulled away from his mom in a mall parking lot, into the path of a car backing out. Every parent’s nightmare, right?”
Charlie was four; he’d sustained contusions, a concussion and a broken arm. He looked incredibly small, his head bound with gauze, a rigid cast on his arm. On his bed were a teddy and small toy trucks. His exhausted dad sat in an adjacent armchair.
“I’m Dr. Chen,” said Helen, on entering. “How ya feeling, Charlie?”
Charlie looked away.
Dad said, “I think Charlie’s feeling as bad about disobeying his mom as he is about getting hurt. Aren’t you, son?”
Charlie said nothing.
Helen said, “Everybody makes mistakes.” She went to Charlie’s bedside. “I guess you like trucks, right?”
Charlie nodded. “I have more at home,” he whispered.
“I think there might be some around here,” Helen said. “I’ll look for them, okay?”
Charlie nodded again, then closed his eyes.
When he woke up, he was covered with something warm and soft. As Charlie and his dad counted the cars, trucks, and traffic lights, their hands found a note:
Get well soon.
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All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
A story by Selma Moss-Ward.