Saturday, August 13, 2011

"If You Need Anything, Let Me Know."

My mom and dad had just sat down to dinner. Dad had grilled his famous, BBQ chicken. Mom had probably made one of her fabulous side dishes. It was just the two of them. I'm sure it was quiet and peaceful. A delightful dinner for a busy couple, a beautiful summer evening as well.

And then...the phone rang.

It was my mother-in-law, Mary. She had called to update my parents on the status of her husband's father, my husband's grandfather. A chain of events which started with a fall at our house on our front porch the day of Caleb's birthday had led to his hospitalization, and it still wasn't looking good. Through tears she explained that when she got home from work, she would travel up to St. Louis to be with everyone up there.

I imagine it was without so much as a second of hesitation that my mom said, "Mary, I will take you to St. Louis. I'm sure you don't need to drive being this upset."

I can also imagine that Mary was stunned. Not that it's not typical of us to help each other out like that. Our families have grown quite close over the years, but I think it's just that Mary recognized that my mom would instantly go.

"I just need to put on some better-looking clothes, and I'll be at your house as soon as I can!" my mom continued.

"Are you sure?" Mary asked. "That probably would be a good idea. Thank you so much, Susan!"

And just like that, my mom left. She drove Mary up to St. Louis, stayed for a few minutes to check on Steve, my father-in-law, and came home. It takes about an hour and a half to get there, an hour and a half to get back.

I share this because I'm proud of my mom for stepping up and helping like that. But also, because I think too often we use the phrase, "If you need anything, let me know." She could have said that on the phone that day. "Ok, Mary. Well, if you need anything, let me know." But she didn't. She DID something. In a very emotional moment for my mother-in-law, she somehow knew what to do.

Over the years, I have tried to refrain from using the phrase, "If you need anything, let me know." I am not at all saying people don't mean it. But really, it seems as though if we really just stop and think, putting others before ourselves, it will come to us what they need. Maybe it's a ride to a hosptial. Maybe it's a dinner. Maybe we need to watch someone's kids while they visit a sick friend. Maybe they need a Walmart gift card. Maybe they need you to feed their cat.

When people are in need, sad, or hurting, sometimes it's hard for them to ask for something. Before you use the phrase, just take a minute and think. You might be surprised what will come to you.


Mary said...

Susan and Bill are the best friends and in-laws. They ARE there when you need them.

Eyreka said...

I am soooo guilty of using that statement. I do it because I truly feel like I'm intruding into someone's personal time and I'd rather have them ask me when they are comfortable, but you're right. Sometimes the moment and the circumstances are too great for that person to ask for what they so clearly need. What a wake up call.

our home to yours said...

thank you for sharing this, and giving me a kick in the backside that I all need. I got a call from a casual friend and neighbor letting me know that she signed the papers allowing the doctors to take her husband off of life support. I was speechless and not sure what to say, so I said "that". Tomorrow, and for the near future, I will be doing more.

Anonymous said...

I am guilty about this, as you know! But I hope I make up for it with cookies?

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