There are certain categories of conversation which jump to the top of the priority list. Sometimes it is a friend having a meltdown who needs to talk. Sometimes it is a marital disagreement that must be sorted out for hurt feelings to be resolved. Sometimes it is a child asking questions about life, death, religion, sex, friendships, relationships, or belief. These conversations arrive whether I am ready or not. Frequently I am not, but I must find the energy to give the other person the gift of my full attention. I never regret it. These conversations really matter despite the fatigue or distractions which threaten to derail them.
Sometimes adults are able to delay these conversations for a quieter, less tired time. Adults are able to wait. Kids don’t. I share information with my kids all the time. Much of it seems to bounce right off of them. But then comes a moment when the question is theirs. They are really wondering. I have the chance to drop my words into the very center of who they are. So I do. And I hope that my contribution helps give them a strong core around which they can build a belief structure and an identity. I have to take these moments when they come. Which is how I find myself discussing reproductive biology in the grocery store. Or I find myself discussing how we should respond to physically disabled people when one is in earshot. Or I sit upstairs talking to kids about relationships when my house is full of guests.
These conversations are important, but they are exhausting. By the time they wind to a close, I am ready to hide. Then I spend the next few days watching and observing to see if the conversation needs follow-up or if behavioral changes result. Important conversation count for yesterday: 3. Important conversation count for the past three days: 7. Considering this, it should not surprise me that today was less than effective for getting work done. I slept through a lot of it. Hopefully tomorrow I get back to work.