Meme enlightenment here.
Moms get depleted much like the water cooler on a family camping trip in ninety degrees. One need at a time. One cup at a time. Over and over and over again. Teenager needs to wash her face. Preteen needs to brush her teeth. Old child needs a drink. Little child needs to wash off the stickies. Baby needs a clean bottle. Mom offers everything she is with arms outstretched as her children learn and grow. She beams with pride and selflessly provides one ounce at a time. It turns into gallons and then bushels, and then whole bodies of water. They age and she does too.
Then, out of nowhere, a child presses the release button expecting the water he’s come to rely on, and nothing comes out. He tips the cooler and gets a trickle. This is usually mom’s warning signal to go and refill, but sometimes there are two other children waiting behind. She gives off another trickle, and another. Then she tells the next one to open her lid and pour out the very last drops. She does that a few too many times more. The next thing she knows, she just wants to cry, but there is no water left to form the tears.
Sometimes this empty cooler makes desperate pleas to people around her. Please, can I borrow a cup? Does anyone know where the easiest route to the filling station is? Can dad take a turn for a minute? Sometimes her pleas are more subtle. It takes special angels to see them. They come in the form of tears disguised as condescension during a church meeting. Trying to escape from the camp-sight all together. Hoping for the magic camouflage of a chameleon. Or maybe just angry complaints. Only other water coolers notice the dangerous existence.
Other coolers call out encouragement which the mom vessel appreciates, but she can’t transfer the advice to give her legs energy. She needs to walk to the watering hole, but she is frozen in fear and emptiness. Other times mom can’t see anyone or anything offering her anything at all. In fact, often the surrounding tents, chairs, and fire-pits laugh and stare. They say, that poor cooler, she should really get a better job. Then, another cooler comes, straightway from the spigot. She wraps her arms around the empty one and hugs tight. Magically, water begins to appear inside the cooler. One drop at a time. Until she is full. A tenacious drip appears. Drops of grateful tears sustain her previously barren spout. The drops heal. The children line back up.