Being Needed

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“Being Needed,” Friend, Feb. 1998, 40


Being Needed

Mother, I love you; mother, I do. I want to help you because I love you. (Children’s Songbook, page 207.)

Casey wiped the inside of the bus window, trying to see the frozen world outside through the blinding snow.

“It’s coming down really hard,” Andy remarked beside him.

“Looks like a blizzard!” Casey exclaimed.

“Won’t our moms be surprised at our getting home from school at noon!” Andy chortled.

“I’m going to play video games all afternoon!” Casey announced.

“Lucky you!”

“Ask your mom if you can come over.”

Andy beamed. “OK! If she says no, I’ll call you and moan over the phone.”

Casey chuckled. “Don’t call till after lunch!” He licked his lips. “Mom fixes the best grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup and a glass of cold milk! It sure beats our cafeteria food.”

“It sure does. Here’s my stop—I’ll call you.” Andy hurried to the front of the school bus to get off.

After Casey got off the bus, he scurried along the lane toward his house. As the snow piled higher, his house seemed farther than ever from the road. It sure will be good to get inside! he thought as he reached the door.

“Mom?” He hung up his cap and coat. “School let out early! I’m home! Mom?” He went into the kitchen and circled into the living room. No Mom. He ran into the laundry room and looked for her. Where was she? He was home—cold and hungry!

He looked out the window and toward the garage. The doors were closed, so he knew she hadn’t gone anywhere in the car.

He raced up the stairs two at a time. “Mom?” he shouted as he ran to his parents’ bedroom door. Then he stopped abruptly. “Mom?”

He tiptoed to the bed. She was covered with a quilt pulled high around her chin. “Mom?” Gently he touched her shoulder.

Her red-rimmed eyes barely opened. Casey touched her forehead lightly—it was hot! “Mom, you’re burning up! Should I call Dad … or Grandma?”

Her eyelids closed, then reopened. “Water, honey—a glass of cold water,” she said weakly. “With ice.”

Casey hurried downstairs to the kitchen. “Pitcher, pitcher,” he muttered. “Where’s the pitcher?”

He found the pitcher on the shelf beneath the breakfast counter. Quickly he filled it with ice and water and started back toward the stairs. Then he spun around and returned for a glass and a straw.

“Mom.” Casey slid a hand under her head. “Here’s your water.” He lifted her head and put the straw between her lips. “Drink, Mom—it’s ice water.”

She sipped the water, and Casey felt her skin burn beneath his touch.

“I’m calling Dr. Marshall!” he announced.

“I talked to him, honey. He said it’s just the flu.”

Just the flu? She looked awfully sick! “What’d he say you should do?”

“Just take aspirin, drink liquids, and get plenty of rest.”

“Aspirin—did you take some aspirin?”

She nodded, smiled, and closed her eyes.

Casey held her hand for a long minute. Coming home from school, he had only thought of himself. Now he was concerned about her.

Quietly he tiptoed from the room. The phone rang, and he grabbed it right away so it wouldn’t disturb her. “Colby residence,” he whispered with his hand cupped around the mouthpiece.

“Casey?” Dad replied. “What are you doing home, Son?”

“School let out early because of the snow, Dad, but Mom’s sick! She’s in bed, and I gave her some ice water. Can you come home early?”

“I talked to your mother and Dr. Marshall this morning, Casey. He told her to go right to bed and stay there. I’ll stop at the pharmacy on my way home and pick up some things that may make her feel more comfortable, but the doctor said the flu simply has to run its course. I’ll try to get home early, Son, but with the roads as they are, I doubt that I’ll get there much sooner than my usual time. Is everything else OK?”

“Yeah, but I don’t like it that Mom’s sick.”

“She probably got it nursing us a couple weeks ago.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“If you need me, call. I’ll be home as soon as I can.”

Casey ate a sandwich and drank some milk, then went back upstairs to check on Mom. Gently he put a damp cloth on her forehead. He felt the heat pouring out of her, and he suddenly felt awful. What if something happened to her? What would he and Dad do without Mom? She was always there for them. Please, Heavenly Father, make Mom better, he prayed silently.

When the phone rang again, her eyelids fluttered.

“I asked Mom, Casey,” Andy said on the other end. “The snow’s let up a little, and she said I could come over.”

Casey sat on the carpet with his back against Mom’s dresser and the phone cupped close to his face. His eyes were on his mother’s sick face.

“Sorry, Andy. Maybe another time. My mom’s sick, and the doctor told her to rest.”

“All your mom’s going to do is sleep, I bet!” Andy said. “Why don’t you come over here?”

Casey thought about how Mom had taken care of him when he was sick. “Thanks, but I’d better stay here. If she needs me, I want to be here. I’d better go now, Andy. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Wait! My mom wants to know if there’s anything she can do.”

“Tell her thanks, but everything is under control.”

“What about dinner?” Andy asked. “Can she send something?”

“Thanks, but I’m going to make waffles for me and Dad.”

“Waffles? When did you learn how to make them?”

“The frozen kind, Andy,” Casey explained. “Anyone can make them.”

“Well, OK. I’ll talk to you later, Case.”

Casey put the phone back on the nightstand. He pulled the quilt higher around Mom’s shoulders so she wouldn’t get a chill. As he tiptoed from the room, he smiled. It felt nice taking care of her for a change.

Illustrated by Mike Eagle