There’s Nothing Like Being Needed

Susan Page
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Wednesday - April 26, 2006
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You put me high upon a pedestal

So high that I could almost see eternity

You needed me, you needed me.

We were singing karaoke with friends the other night and I came upon a great song from the ‘70s by Anne Murray called You Needed Me.

(I chose to sing it and sounded nothing like Murray.)

The words reminded me of something that took me years to appreciate: To be “needed” is perhaps one of life’s most precious blessings. And to be needed by your very independent, grown children who live far away? Well, that’s like eating a Cinnabon followed by a hot malasada.

The two calls came at about the same time a few weeks ago.

“Mom, can you come out and help me shop for a wedding dress? I need your advice,” my daughter, Joy, a busy professional in Washington, D.C., asked on the phone. My heart leapt. (She had gotten engaged last Thanksgiving for a next Thanksgiving wedding). She needed me.

“Let me see what I have going on,” I answered nonchalantly while my free hand was already looking up the airline reservations number. I was busy, but I would’ve cancelled heart surgery to do this with her.

Let me explain something about my daughter, now 35. She was born to run things. At 3 years old she encouraged me to go to my grandmother’s funeral far away in Texas. “Mommy, I think you should go.” She pulled out my suitcase and started to pack for me - the perfect shoes, too. It was a right decision that my husband and parents were against.

At 10, just a couple of hours after we were told that my husband, her daddy, had died in a plane crash, she asked this: “Mom, are we going to have to move?” In an awful state of shock, I didn’t have an answer. “Well,” she said, “we probably will, and you’re going to have to get a job. Do you know how to type?”

At a mere 13, during the summer she helped at the reception desk at our business. One day she said, “Mom, you don’t have any guidelines for this job.” So, on her own she wrote an excellent instruction manual for front desk employees. It think it was that same year, seventh grade, when she said in a sincere, not sassy, way, “Mom, no offense, but if I had a car, I wouldn’t need you at all.” I had a good laugh. In truth, she was almost right.

My son, the Marine captain FA/18 pilot, didn’t come out of the womb with quite the same sense of self-sufficiency. He had a different calling: to test his big sister’s managerial nature (drive her crazy) ... and my patience (drive me bonkers). But when he went off to college in California at 18, the independent gene kicked in and “need” changed to “Mom, my soccer game’s on the 28th, it would be really cool if you could come.”

The very same day Joy made her request, Kyle, now 31, called from his duty station in Japan, “Mom, will you come with me to Texas (his next assignment)? I need you to help me look for a house.” He needed me.

One of these days soon, both of them will be married. Their spouses will be their confidants and “need” mates. But believe you me, I’ll be poised with airline ticket in hand when that phone call comes. “Mom, I need you to help when the baby is born.” Or “... when we move in our new house.” Or whatever.

I raised my children to be independent. The last thing I wanted was to inflict on society people who can’t make decisions and don’t pull their weight in the world. But when they need my help, well, it makes my heart sing - even it it’s off key.

My advice to you young people: Don’t be “needy,” but always remember to need your mom. Mother’s Day is coming soon; the words “I need you” are music to her ears.

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