As a mom I spend a lot of time filling things up. I fill up snack bags with goldfish, lunch boxes, diaper bags, and sippy cups (“Not the RED one the BLUE one!”). I fill up my time card at work each week and when I get home I fill little bellies, the washing machine, the dryer, and the dishwasher.
I fill up schedules and empty seats at cheerleading practice. I fill up empty spaces left by tiny broken hearts and hurt feelings. I fill up my husband with the encouragement he needs after a hard day at work.
There are boxes of girl scout cookies to fill the orders which will fill the bank account for the troop. Some of the money will be spent on a party for the girls to fill their hearts with joy and laughter. I fill the toy box each and every night after it has been emptied and its contents strewn about the house. I fill bathtubs, water cups, and spaces for “just one more” stuffed animal. And dammit if the baby didn’t just fill up another diaper.
And somehow in all of this filling up of things I sometimes find myself completely empty.
You know the kind of bone aching tiredness? The soul wrenching emptiness that sends me wrapped up in the covers at 8:30 pm. The kind of exhaustion that renders me utterly useless and grasping for a few hours of sleep so that maybe just maybe I’ll have enough energy in the morning to begin filling up cereal bowls and backpacks.
And in all this, Mama, I realize that while I’ve been so busy filling everyone else up I haven’t given the slightest thought to myself.
My voicemail is filled up because I haven’t had a second to take a call. My inbox is filled up because I haven’t had a moment to sift through the junk mail. My trashcan is overflowing because I haven’t had the time to take it out to the curb.
And so tonight when I find myself utterly spent. I realize I need to take the time for me. Because what good am I to anyone if I’m all used up?
And so I fill up my glass with my favorite red and I’m filling this page with all of my thoughts. And after the last little head has hit the pillow I plan to fill up the bath. And yes, I will do it all again tomorrow but hopefully with a little time and effort I, myself, can be just a little fuller too.