My mother-in-law has rescued us so many times since we've had children. I was unable to appreciate it fully until the third child came around.
The first time she rescued us was when the second child arrived two weeks early. It was fortunate that I went into labor in the morning, so I was able to drop off the oldest child at a friend's house at a reasonable hour. The baby was born before dinner, so Sarge was able to pick up the oldest in the evening and spend the night at home with him while I was in the hospital with the new baby. My mother-in-law came the next morning, so I wouldn't have to be alone in the hospital anymore, to take care of the older child.
The next time she rescued us was a little more dire. Sarge had just had the ol' snip-snip, and was promised three days on the couch, with me at his service to bring frozen peas and anything else he needed, as well as all childcare. He was under the impression he would have absolutely NOTHING to do for at least three days - I had every intention of giving that to him. Until about 36 hours after his surgery, I called him from the doctor's office. They were going to admit the baby to the hospital, he had RSV. I needed him to come get the older two children, who weren't very old at all. Poor thing, he hobbled to the hospital and took the children, but he called his mother first. She was there in the morning, so that he could resume his duties on the couch and I could take care of the baby, just seven weeks old. It was a longer recovery, mostly due to the twice that he had to lift the middle child, I think, and all the walking he had to do. She really rescued us then.
The third time, the baby's hospitalization was planned, and I had told her that we didn't NEED her, but that we would welcome her help. She never hesitated. She planned her trip to be here as long as we needed. In fact, it was four years ago, today. The baby was not quite four months old, and he needed surgery to repair his dual inguinal hernia. It was a quick surgery, but it was nice to be able to be with my husband while the surgeons had our baby. And to spend the day not worrying about anything but taking care of the littlest one.
I didn't appreciate her enough for a really long time. She would be there for us in a minute if we needed her. I didn't know that, and didn't know how wonderful it is to have someone in your life that would drop everything for you. It's a wonderful gift, having someone like that in your life.