I’ve been thinking a lot about trust lately, about secrets.
I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook anymore, occasionally sharing a picture of the kids or a meme that I find funny when I’m up later than I should. I keep the Thirsty Daddy page updated because I know that’s where a lot of you follow my randomness.
Most of that time I spend in groups, communities of like minded folks chatting sports, Star Wars, and in most cases parenting and fatherhood. Supposedly safe places where dads can connect, ask for advice or simply to vent, places for support and understanding.
Three different times in recent weeks, in three different groups, that trust was violated. Codes broken, screenshots taken, lives disrupted for no particularly good reason at all that I am aware of.
The easiest lesson learned here of course is to not trust people that you only know over the internet, but isn’t that the way of the world now? In the past few hours I’ve spent time commiserating with a group of guys that I have been playing and discussing fantasy football with online for about fifteen years, from way before Facebook and even MySpace, following the death of one of our own. There are guys that I have never met that I’ve “known” longer than my wife.
Is the real world any different anyway? Confessions, dark thoughts, secrets. At some point we’ve all been burned by trusting in the wrong people. We’ve all got old acquaintances, people that we don’t talk to anymore for one reason or another, that nonetheless still hold keys that reveal skeletons.
Don’t have any of those in your closet? Good for you. I do. Things from the past that I don’t want my kids to know, my wife to know, you to know.
There are also things that I don’t want my parents to know, something that’s a bit unsettling as I attempt to navigate those waters myself.
I tell the six year old that she isn’t allowed to have secrets from me, that there is nothing good that can come from a child telling her something that she isn’t supposed to tell an adult. I tell her that if an adult ever tells her that something is a secret I need to be made aware immediately, my stomach clenching at the possible scenarios that might lead to such a discussion.
As I write this the teenager is sleeping at a friend’s house. It’s not a girl that I’ve met, one that I know little about other than that she lives in an apartment with her boyfriend. I don’t know where they might go, what they might be doing.
Does she have secrets of her own, things that she hopes her mother and I never discover? I suspect that she does. What they might be, who knows them, these are things that I may never know.
Also not home tonight is my wife, the third night in a row. Hurricane Irma caused a cancellation of her trip The Bahamas, so instead she took her already packed suitcase, loaded up her car and drove towards the coast, finding herself a nice little room by herself on the shore. I read enough Penthouse letters in my youth to know that’s how many of them started.
She’s not doing anything of the sort of course, and no good comes of these lines of thought. Both of them must be trusted. Are trusted, as will be the little girl currently sleeping upstairs. There really isn’t any other choice, is there? We raise them the best that we can, hope for the best and accept that there will be parts of their lives that we will be unaware of. We hope that when it comes time for them to trust others that they choose wisely.
Frankly, I’m a bit jealous of the solitude, the peace and quiet that my wife must be enjoying. Two hours ago I was tearing the house apart looking for the pillow that was on my daughter’s bed when she woke up this morning.
If anybody knows how one is able to lose a pillow over the course of the day or where it may currently be, that is a secret that I’d like someday to hear.