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Here’s what happened:
People needed my attention. Grown people that launched into private stories and expected me to keep their secrets without ever asking if I want to hold their secrets. They needed my time and perspective and sage advice, and I didn’t know how to abstain. But it was exhausting. And precarious. Because every story has more than one side, and at least two sides of this story were being jammed into my brain. It felt like junior high, but with much bigger stakes and much more delicate balance.
I was walking that tightrope, wearing the stress and bearing a few new wrinkles (and acne. really? you should not be able to have wrinkles and pimples at the same time.). I was walking that tightrope, working on some other projects, trying to ignore our finances, starting a new job prospect, begging for donations for the school auction, ignoring the laundry and dust.
But the baby…this small, speed-crawling, sweet-babbling, funny-smiling baby started looking glassy-eyed and wheezy-sounding. This baby didn’t fuss, but she didn’t sleep well, and she didn’t eat, and she just didn’t seem like herself. We stopped what we were doing, and the doctor diagnosed a double ear-infection; prescribed antibiotics for the ears and a nebulizer for the breathing.
And with that, all that other drama started feeling so small to me. I stopped having time or energy to worry too much about those grown adults wanting me to take their side. I decided to let them go, let them manage themselves (well…within reason. it’s still a work-in-progress). I stopped and held this baby close, just snuggled her and napped with her and bathed her and sang to her. I stopped and remembered who really needs me, and shifted my focus back in that direction.
And while I was focusing, I think I saw that baby grow before my very eyes. It’s amazing what the right kind of attention can yield.
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