A Mother’s Trust

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“I TRUST YOU, KIM, and there’s a lot that
goes with that.”
That was the response I received from
Karen*, the mother of the kids I take
with me on adventures.
These are the same kids who sleep over
at my house, who cook meals with me,
who dance joyfully to gospel and blues and 80s music,
who’ve met my girlfriend and with whom I have kept in
touch since they moved away a few years ago from the
neighborhood we shared.
I called Karen last week and told her that something
was bothering me. I was worried that I might I have
betrayed her trust in me by posting photos and videos of
the kids and me on our outings on my blog without directly
asking for her permission.
I called Karen the same day I received an email from
some friends of mine who asked me to remove some video
I had posted of them dancing on You Tube. I had sent
them the link, and although they loved the video, they did
not want it made public and asked me to remove it. I did
and apologized for not asking them in the first place. I
could have made the video private and only given them
access to it but for some reason I did not. And although
their names were not on the video and the video had only
been viewed 14 times, making it likely that no one but
them and me had actually viewed it, that wasn’t the point.
I had not asked. I want to be a friend they can trust. And
this was not a good way to keep their trust.
So after this experience, I decided not to assume anything.
I decided not to take any chances on betraying
Karen’s trust in me with her children. On numerous occasions
I have taken pictures of the kids on our excursions
and have made photo albums and given them to Karen. A
week ago, I had printed out one of my blog posts about an
adventure with the kids and me and gave it to her. Still, I
never actually asked if I could post the video and pictures
I took of the kids on-line.
I called Karen and told her of my concern and why it
was bothering me and offered to show her all of my blog
postings that included pictures and video of the children
and said that I would remove any and all of them if she did
not approve.
I told her that I asked my brothers’ permission before
posting video and photos of my nieces and nephew and
should have asked her permission. Karen listened patiently
as I explained all of this.
Her response was, “I trust you with my kids. And there’s
a lot that goes with that. My kids really care about you.”
I love these kids. I know that the love that’s in me
would move through me in an instant to remove them
from harm’s way even if it cost me my own life.
I had to choke back tears of joy. I recognized in her
words the profound love that is part of trust and I recognized
how both her children and I were the recipients of
her trust and love. Had this happened a few years ago, I
might have been too absorbed in my own relief to receive
what she was offering me. Not this day. I was a sponge
sponging up her deep love for her children and her trust
in them that led to her trust in me.
Other people’s children have been a significant part of
my life since I started babysitting in the 7th grade. I have
an intuitive wisdom about how to be with them that I
believe is a gift from God. I often prefer the company of
children and old souls. My grandparents were and are
three of the people I have loved most dearly.
Yet I can worry about the potential judgments of adults
against me because of racial differences, and even more so,
because of my sexual orientation and all of the stereotypes
that go along with it. Now that I have a girlfriend, it is hard
not to see the love and closeness we express for each other.
And it is deeper than that. I weep inside every time
Karen tells me that she trusts her children’s intuition about
people. It simultaneously taps in me an unhealed sadness
from my own childhood and a profound joy that these
children have their mother’s trust.
I have their mother’s trust, too, and what a profoundly
loving gift that is. Thank you.
*Karen is not her real name.

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