I poured myself out
I put the kids to bed, which is a feat in and of itself. Then, I headed out to the living room to hang out with Jordan as long as I could keep my eyes open. Daniel is 10 1/2 months old and doesn’t sleep through the night. I know, he’s just a baby, but that means I haven’t slept for more than 3-4 hours in a row in almost a year. To say I’m fatigued is a gross understatement. This night, I was already feeling worn out because Jordan had been home sick for two days and Lila wasn’t feeling well either. I was spent and sent myself to bed. Soon after I finally gave in to sleep, Daniel woke. His cry was angry and demanding. It startled me awake like a bucket of ice water on my head or a loud unexpected knock on the door. I nursed him and rocked him to sleep. As I crept back into the room to put him in his crib, Lila woke up. She was crying and needed some water and comfort. I got her back into bed and tip toed back to bed.
Now, when you’re a night shift mama, you don’t just relax and fall back to sleep, right? Not me. I lay in bed, strain my ears and brace myself for the next cry. I’ve woken up to a sore jaw from clenching my teeth in anxious anticipation. This night it was well founded because Daniel stirred as I finally allowed myself to exhale and try to sleep. I was back at it. This tag teaming went on until 4 am. I finally just cried with both of them because I had nothing left to offer. I got them both back to bed and went to my room to cry myself to sleep. I felt so helpless.
What an understatement. I was completely weak-in-the-knees, stifled-sobs, shaking-hunched-shoulders-helpless. It sounds like I’m exaggerating to people who haven’t been there, but I know you have. You’ve imagined just walking out of the room, even out of the house and down the street. Not forever, just long enough to fill your lungs back up with air and feel the luxury of disappearing for a moment. You don’t though. I didn’t. I wouldn’t. I just prayed, more like begged. I needed to be better. I needed to sleep. I needed to be refilled.
A few hours later, Lila woke me up and the morning light was shining through my window. My first thought was, “Morning finally came.” I thought the night would never end and I was so thankful to have made it out on the other side. I embraced a new day, showered and drank some coffee as I reflected on the night before.
I bonded ith my children that night. I gave them all of me and then prayed for the ability to give them more. I learned about God’s undying love for me and how much pours out into us. That night, I was completely emptied of my own strength and drive and was left to wholly depend on God to make it through. It hurt. It hurt my pride. It threatened my joy, but by God’s grace, I survived. Then morning came and I felt oddly strong. Not my own strength, that was shot. More like empowered. My bucket that was empty and cracked-dry was overflowing and fresh again in an instant.
It was in that morning, as that cool and thin light peaked through my window, that I realized the abundance of the fountain I frequent. My wellspring of life.
Can I say this one thing? To myself, to you and to my kids (if they ever find this and read it when they are parents)…
We pour ourselves out as moms. Every day and even every night. We give and give and give. Don’t leave yourself dry and barren when you have access to limitless and powerful Water.
Ps. Sometimes, music says it better. Most times, actually.