February 11, 2013

Rebuilding Trust With Gold



As a parent, trusting people is really important to maintaining your sanity and having a sense of “normal”. Without trust, parents could never leave their children with a nanny and go back to work after a few weeks maternity leave. Without trust, there is no hiring of a babysitter. Without trust, our children don’t learn a very important skill. Rebuilding Trust

For the first four and a half years of motherhood, I trusted. There were play dates and sitters. There was swim school and gymnastics, where I would read a magazine or step out to make a call. I knew my daughter was safe and if she did get hurt, it was likely nothing a kiss and a little snuggle time couldn’t make better.

Until I trusted, and that trust was destroyed. Shattered. Nearly obliterated. Parents like me, don’t have “stuff like this” happen to them. But it does. And it did. And my heart and soul were crushed. Not destroyed, but crushed beyond recognition. So much so that I questioned how I would be able to put them back together.

It’s been 5 years. Many of the pieces are back in place, but nothing looks the same. Even the most master of craftsmen can not repair damage so that it’s undetectable. I am no master.

For years I have admired the Japanese art of Kintsugi. It is believed this ancient Japanese art dates to the 15th century. Kintsugi means “golden joinery” and is the process of repairing broken ceramic or porcelain with a gold resin which leaves the broken piece often more beautiful with its golden seams.

I’d seen exhibits with these repaired pieces, seemingly highlighting these flaws. Yet, these flawed and damaged pieces were more beautiful and valuable. Each piece was painstakingly reassembled. For some pieces it may take years for the kintsugi master to repair the damage. In the end, though, the piece would be stronger, more beautiful and more admired because of its flaws.

This past weekend a very large piece of my trust was reattached. And it was done so with gold. A golden birthday, actually. A celebration of beauty and perfection that helped to rebuild my trust, with a golden connection.

For most parents, that first sleepover your child has at a friend’s house is a huge milestone. Kids are ready at different times. For over a year I think BabyGirl was ready. But I wasn’t. And because her BFF’s parents are not only amazing people but have actually become friends, they’ve understood that I was the one who wasn’t ready. They were OK with their daughter coming over here and eating like she hadn’t eaten in a week and creating whatever it is she and BabyGirl would create that would require several rolls of various types of tape.

So when BabyGirl came home and shared the grand plans of a birthday sleepover at her BFF’s house, I secretly hoped it would snow here and I wouldn’t be able to drive her over. And given that the last time it snowed in Phoenix was NEVER that wasn’t going to work. The only thing that was going to work was saying “yes” and hoping I wouldn’t die of anxiety when that night would come and I’d drop off my only child to spend the night away from me with someone who was not CycleGuy or Aunt Zoni.

Like parents before me, I survived this childhood rite of passage. Unlike many parents before me, I was broken and working to reconstruct my new normal. But at the moment I walked out and the door closed behind me, I knew my trust had been repaired. There are still some broken parts, but the first piece that was repaired was done so with a kind of kintsugi only a golden birthday could have created.

My trust doesn’t look the same. It’s not pristine and flawless. My trust is shattered but the pieces have been laid out and one by one they will be rejoined and it will be whole again. And possibly more beautiful than it was before it was broken.

Image Credit: Smithsonian Institute Museum of Asian Arts



Tracy February 11, 2013 at 10:06 am

I am proud of you. I don’t know that I would have handled it as bravely as you did. However, I also know that your daughter is a strong, bright, young woman and knows that she can and will defend herself if the need ever arises again.
Much love to you all!

Sara February 11, 2013 at 10:10 am

Thank you, Tracy. I, too, wonder how I’m going to put this all back together. It’s a difficult process, but I keep finding ways to heal my life and make it even better and more beautiful. ~ Sara

rhonda February 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

Hugs Hugs Hugs! Rebuilding trust in any situation is difficult. And I suspect, panic attacks are a normal part of that experience. I’m glad you were able to work your way through it and hold tight. You are an amazing mom who is doing her best, nothing more can be asked of you.

Sara February 11, 2013 at 10:22 am

Thank you, Rhonda. I think I avoided the panic attack only because I held on to the stress. But I’ll take that for now. It will get easier, I’m sure. ~ Sara

Meaghan February 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

I couldn’t read your story and not comment. I cannot begin to imagine your journey, but I am so impressed by your strength and courage. You are a wonderful mother. Your daughter is so lucky to have you. I have one daughter who is 8, and she already asks about having sleep-overs, and I keep putting her off. It is so hard to trust and let go a little, but you are right – it is a part of growing up and our children miss out if we never let them grow and we don’t show them how to trust.

Sara February 13, 2013 at 11:35 am

Meaghan, thank you for reading and commenting. Just knowing that my struggles and pushing through are helpful to one other person makes writing about it so rewarding. I hope you find the inner peace to be able to get to a point to be comfortable with this childhood rite of passage. ~ Sara

Kim/hormone-colored days February 11, 2013 at 10:45 am

What a stressful challenge. I’m so proud of both of you!

Sara February 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

Kim, thank you for your kind words. ~ Sara

Kate @ Songs Kate Sang February 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Oh Sara! I am so happy for you! And happy birthday to Baby Girl!

Sara February 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

Thank you, Kate!

Christin February 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Thanks for sharing….it helps.

Sara February 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

Christin, thank you! I’m glad I can help others, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this challenge. ~ Sara

Christi @ Love From The Oven March 9, 2013 at 8:44 am

Ah, I don’t know how I missed this post. We are so fortunate to call your family our friends. I think our girls must have known what they were doing when they decided to become BFFs. We hope she had a great time and it was wonderful for me to see her seem so relaxed, so comfortable and confident. I’m thankful we could be a part of that for her and for you.

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