68: I’ll Be Right There

68: I’ll Be Right There

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom

I’ll Be Right There

There is no instinct like that of the heart.

~Lord Byron

It was nearing midnight. The late-night news was over and it was certainly far too late for a social call. I picked up the phone anyway, my hand shaking uncontrollably as I dialed the number I knew by heart.

“Mom, I need you,” I said when she answered. No hesitation, no excuses. Concern echoing in her voice, she simply stated, “I’ll be right there.”

There was so much blood… every expectant mother’s worst fear. When she arrived, she simply took over. That was exactly what I needed her to do. She packed me up and sent me to the hospital with my husband. “I love you,” she said as I was leaving. “It’s going to be okay. The baby is going to be okay.”

She got this same call at several points during each one of my three complicated pregnancies. Her response was always the same: “I’ll be right there.” Emergency room visits, specialists, bed rest… this woman who had held my hand, worried and prayed for a miracle was there to welcome each of her three grandchildren into this world.

With a brother years older and a sister who never depended on anyone, I have always been the one who called my mom. What do you think, help me decide, just want to say hi—that was me. As we grew up, I could tell my mom never minded someone still needing her.

In college, I was in a relationship that had wrecked havoc with my heart. Nearly falling apart, I called to hear her comforting voice. “I miss home,” I said. A few hours later I had a plane ticket in my hands as I boarded a last-minute flight. The entire weekend we never even talked about “the boy.” I just relaxed, ate homemade meals and was mothered. Somehow by the end of that weekend everything made sense again.

A few years later I met a wonderful man. Shortly before I got married I called my mom in a frenzy. The dress. After seeing an unflattering picture, I was certain I had not picked the right one. I’ll admit this was not one of my finer moments, certainly making me look a bit like a bridezilla. “I’ll be right there,” she said. My mom got in her car, drove across the state, and brought the wedding dress to me. When I tried it on this time, it was evident that this lovely, white concoction was perfect. “See,” she said, glowing, “it’s the one and you are beautiful!” Somehow she knew the exact right thing to do.

Three years ago, I woke up one morning and half my face was paralyzed. Panicked and confused, I picked up the phone again: “Mom, I need you.” “I’ll be right there,” she said. I cannot imagine how helpless she must have felt in this situation as she walked in on a daughter who no longer looked like her own. She had no cure to offer to make this one better, just herself. She was there for months, cooking up a storm, doing dishes, taking care of children, and filling in for me while I rested and focused on getting better. My husband nicknamed her the “cleaning fairy” and asked if she might be willing to stay forever.

For each important event in my life, my mom was simply there. Sometimes because I asked her to be, other times because she knew I needed her.

As I look down at my own sleeping little one, my heart is so full of love it takes my breath away. I would move mountains for this child. I will be there for her, I will tell her I love her, sing her endless lullabies, and read her countless stories. I will pick her up and kiss her boo-boos. As she grows, I will braid her hair, watch her school events, and be her biggest fan. If a boy ever breaks her heart I will tell her I never really liked him anyway. I will listen and not say a word when she needs to talk and complain.

There may be times that I question how to be the mother she needs, but I am confident I have learned from the very best there is. In those moments I will think about what my mom would have done. One day I may even get a call from her telling me she needs me, and I already know what my answer will be: “I’ll be right there.”

~Katie Bangert

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