My friend entertains at children’s birthday parties, and one Saturday morning I went along to help her. The guest of honor was celebrating his first birthday, and his mother had decorated their home in sunny yellow. The theme was “One Trip Around the Sun.” Did you ever think about that? Each birthday is another trip around the sun. This young man was still very new to our planet, and in fact was still napping when the guests arrived.
His older brother and the other children gathered ’round, as my friend got everybody happy with bubbles and songs and dancing and lots and lots of being silly. She has lots of musical instruments, because she teaches music, dance and movement to little kids. We all got out the rhythm sticks, and we tapped them up high and low and behind our backs. They are simple little things, but if you know anything about small children, sometimes the less complicated a toy happens to be, the more things the child can think of doing with it. She is a great teacher, because she doesn’t dictate what the kids should do. There are no “shoulds” really, except that no one should ever put a stick in his ear, mouth, nose or run with it. Dangerous.
She said, “Let’s all build a birthday house for (insert the name of the birthday person.)” Down on the floor, we pretended we were building a house. All of a sudden, I had a flash, and I thought, “I’m building my house on trust and respect.” Do you see how I make things all about me?
I kept my focus on the present moment, because I don’t like to miss a thing. And also, because I was there to help my friend and not daydream in a distracted way in a room full of fifteen children. We cleaned up and packed up. We had homemade lemonade, and I had a delicious croissant, and we were on our way.
The thought stayed with me for a long time. The relationship that I have with a man is like a house. It’s where I am going to live, and where he will live with me, even if we don’t live together in an actual house. And the two basic, foundational elements are trust and respect. Those will be mutual, of course. I will need him to trust and respect me, and I hope I am the sort of person who doesn’t make it difficult to trust me and respect me.
And how I need to feel about him? Absolutely, we will have nothing else without my trusting him and respecting him. Those two elements are the very foundation of the house I’m building.
The next day I went on a second date with a match dot com guy. Our first date had gone well, and he had come up with a lovely idea for our second time out. Then I discovered that he had misrepresented himself in a significant way (significant to me, anyway) on his online profile. He did not confess it to me, and he wasn’t sorry he had done it. It came up in conversation in the early part of our second date, and I knew that I would never be seeing him again.
I suppose if I was already in a relationship with him, where he had a track record, and I discovered he was not truthful about something, it might have been different. Who among us has not shaded the truth for one reason or another? It happens. But right from the very start? And his reason for doing so seemed so weak to me, that I knew we had nothing on which to build a house.
The date was very nice. It involved afternoon sunshine, sparkling water on the bay, poking around in some lovely shops and viewing a display of some dazzling art by local creative people. It ended with some of the best vegetarian tacos I have ever eaten. I mean, really! A restaurant that has three different options for vegetarians? Three distinct, different kinds of veggie tacos. So delicious.
But you know what? I can’t build a house on sunshine, water, shopping, art, or even the best tacos I have ever eaten. Are you envisioning a house made of tacos? Because that actually would be sort of cool! But I think you know what I mean.
My birthday is coming up soon. I had to throw that in there, because I love my birthday, and I am after all, July Girl. I am making another trip around the sun, and while I am not all that wise for my years, I do have some experience just by virtue of the fact that I’ve been on this planet almost fifty-six years.
I once lived in house with a very shaky foundation. It was pretty from the outside, and for a while I focused on all the beautiful things we did have. But we didn’t have trust and respect, so eventually the whole thing crumbled.
I am not sure yet about all the other things I need to build my house. But trust and respect are the two basic elements, and have you ever thought about how they fit together so well? Really, you don’t have one without the other.