and the sequel, "Hail Mary" https://www.amzn.com/1684334888
Available on Amazon.
"We don't want to get an electric toothbrush because the people might not have batteries," I heard the mom say to her son. "Here," she said, "you can pick out five nice toothbrushes from over here." Which the little boy then proceeded to do.
I continued my shopping and I expect they continued theirs.
Now, this short story is, perhaps, not particularly memorable. Chances are the little boy won't even remember the day his mother took him to Target and they bought five toothbrushes. But I got the impression that they were buying the toothbrushes not for themselves but for people who needed toothbrushes. Maybe they were going to donate them to a food pantry, or through their church or some other charitable organization. Or maybe they were buying the toothbrushes for someone they knew who was in need.
And it occurred to me that even if the moment soon fades from the boy's memory, the lesson of that moment will stay with him, for this is the kind of lesson that a child unconsciously absorbs from their parent: in this case a lesson in thoughtfulness, in generosity, in caring for the needs of others.
True, buying a toothbrush for someone who needed a toothbrush was only a small lesson, but it was perhaps just the right size for a child.
So thanks to that mom and her little boy in the Target toothbrush aisle. You thought you were only giving toothbrushes. You also gave a bright spot to my day.