It's been a rough week, y'all. I've broken two of my favorite wine glasses that I got for SUPER cheap at the Pendleton store. My back has been out and getting worse, and I can't stop sneezing. Aren't allergies supposed to be a spring thing? But to ice the proverbial cake, an unnamed teenage daughter of mine snuck off after a soccer game with a mutually nameless boy for an unaccountable hour. And then she offered a series of stories which were all too easily deflated to explain her mysterious absence. How do you deal with this, Successful Parents of Teenagers Who Survived? She is obviously grounded, which doesn't mean a whole lot since we are not revoking volleyball participation, and that is the bulk of her social life... The boy she was with is a pretty nice boy - and I am not terribly worried that they did Horrible and Lascivious things, but the lies! It's the lies that break me. Make me sad. Make me worried. Make me want to do drastic things like lock her forever in a tower until her hair is long enough for some awkward prince to climb up and rescue her. I would endure a thousand shattered wine glasses and a lifetime of sneezes if I knew that she told me the truth.
Broken trust is worse than anything else that breaks, because it's not replaceable, and it takes eons to heal. Longer than the worst broken bone. It takes work to mend it. Hard work. Concentration and deliberate choices and painful sacrifice. Most people don't find it worth fixing. It's easier to throw away a relationship than to try to rebuild broken trust. I have been in some of those throw away relationships. I have been the breaker of trust and I have had my trust broken by others. I have refused to do the rebuilding work, and I have been refused. How do you teach your children the necessity of restoring the breach that they create? I know example is the thing. Living that life of restoration and commitment to the hardest parts of making relationships work. Letting them see me building trust and allowing trust to be built for me. This is a hard, hard thing for me, and probably one of the biggest hinderances to my marriage. Maybe why violated trust with my daughter is so heartbreaking. Except I think broken trust always hurts. I don't know that it gets worse the more it happens to you... In some ways I think I have built a thick callous against it, except the callous disables me from trusting the people I should. It's hard to break my trust when I have never given it to you in the first place, you know? Josh certainly does. He patiently shakes his head at me and my trust issues, and tries his best to prove me wrong. The callous wears thinner with lack of constant abrasion. But lying teenagers don't help. Josh labors under the misconception that I trust other people more than him. People that have Questionable Morals and I don't even know very well. Mostly guy friends that I seem to admire. He doesn't get that I DON'T really trust them. I wouldn't even dip my toe in the pool of trust with them, let alone try to dive in and live with them and rest my life in their hands. I might like them. Or think they're cool. But I sure as heck don't TRUST them much. Trust has different levels I guess. I might trust them enough to invite them to my house. Trust they won't rob me. Or kill me. He wonders why I don't question them, or accuse them of heinous ulterior motives (something he gets from me a lot). But I don't have to question them. I don't have to live with them or know anything beyond face value. If they lie to me, I don't care, because I have not entrusted my soul to them. Poor Josh has the great honor of cradling my exposed - or semi exposed, and roughed over with scar tissue - soul in his strong hands. It's as fragile as my Pendleton wine glasses. But not as cheap. And much harder to replace. Or I would like to think so.
This is what I want my kids to get. Trust is one of the most precious things that another human being will give you. If you damage it, it takes time and hard work to fix it. But it's worth it. Exposing yourself to another person, or people, in your family, your closest friends, your lover - it's what makes life worth it. Relationships that are built on the never-perfect but much valued mutual trust of two or more people are the things that make life rich and meaningful. I have learned - am learning - this: That trust is the key element to any great friendship. And any love affair, family tie or best buddy is nothing without friendship. Ok, maybe not nothing. Maybe you get some good recipes or make out sessions or a few laughs. But really - friendship is important. And there's no friendship without a little bit of trust.
I have been waxing much too philosophical for a Wednesday morning. Probably it was an excuse to stay wrapped in my germ blanket a little longer because my house is COLD. Cold enough that the fingers I broke two years ago are aching. Old hurts like to remind you of them when it gets cold. This is true on many levels, but there I go getting all metaphorical again.
I just got a phone call that I start work tomorrow. Real, grown up, full time-ish work at the school. I am excited. I am excited because I chose to be. And because I get to work with some of my best friends. And because I will be five steps away from sneaky teenage daughters At All Times. And because for the first time in my life, I will have a sort of retirement fund thingy. I am not even sure exactly what that is. But I am ready for it. Or I will be, once I get a new wardrobe and a couple of replacement wine glasses.