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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Hagey

Fill, Pour, Fill Pour

I fill the cup then pour it out, over her sticky, tangled curls. Fill it, pour it. She sits perfectly still in the tub, only raising her little bowed head to glare at me if I slow my pace. Fill, pour. Fill, pour. The curls relax and lengthen finally clinging long and straight to her neck. “Mommy,” she whimpers. “I'm here baby, it's ok. It's ok.” Fill, pour. Fill, pour. Fill, pour.

Someone or everyone has been sick since we arrived in Utah. It's been almost three months of constant coughs, fevers, stomach bugs and ear infections. The fridge door has a whole shelf of partially used bottles of antibiotics.

This particular bug is hitting Beatrice for the second time in a week. Stomach upset and fever mean I can't leave her side without hysteria, but the laundry is mounting. Because everyone has been sick for days, I've been busy, ministering to their needs, not sleeping. It's not that Derek isn't willing. It's that he's not here. Someone has to go to work. Besides, they just want their mom.

Fill, pour. Fill, pour. Fill, pour. The warm water cascades down her little shivering back. Poor baby.

I've not slept more than two hours in a stretch since… maybe Sunday. I'm so tired that on a quick trip to the store for dinner things and more popsicles, I heard my phone ring, and thought that meant the light I was stopped at was green. It wasn't. I started to go, and luckily realized it was my phone, not the light. Thanks brain for being useless.

I'm tired. No. That's not right. I'm weary. I'm exhausted from carrying the weight of this move, of the old life we left, and the new life, demanding attention. I'm sick of sick kids, constantly passing bugs. I'm tired of being in the waiting place, in transition, in limbo. I'm tired of catching vomit in my bare hands.

Fill, pour. Fill, pour. Fill, pour. She smiles ever so slightly as the water drizzles onto her cheeks.

“You can't pour from an empty glass,” the gurus chant. “Self-care isn't selfish!” they preach. “Take care of you so you can take care of them.” Truth is, it appears that even terribly neglected, the glass just keeps pouring. I know this is temporary. It's been hard for months, but we are almost to the this particular finish line. Spring will come. It always does.

I have work that needs doing. I have final edits due soon on the book, a podcast to edit, laundry… Always laundry...

Instead, here I sit, on the side of the tub. Just filling and pouring, because that's what I signed up for. Long ago when we started this dream of a family. No one warns you of the labor involved. You can't fathom the difficulties. If you could, I think we'd all just raise house plants. But I'm seven kids deep, and I'm all in. First and foremost, I'm in it for them. I'm tired, and it's so hard. But. I'm here. I always will be.

Fill, pour. Fill, pour. Fill, pour.

There's a famous coach that claims that you need to be a vase who fills up and then overflows. I disagree with that. I think we are a cup. I think we make the conscious decision to pour ourselves out into the things that need doing,.

I think that the very act of pouring ourselves out voluntarily by choice through our own life decisions means that we have to figure out how to fill ourselves back up so we can continue to pour. How do we do that? Show up.

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