Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tough Choice

I was recently faced with probably the toughest decision of my life: whether to trust a stranger (a "babysitter", she called herself) with my 9-month-old child. While in the end I did, that is not the focus of what I want to say. This seemingly normal and standard procedure led me to an extremely important realization about life: there comes a point when you must simply trust. This game will not work without it. And in the end, it came down to simply that: trust. 

It's funny what the mind will do to you to help convince you of the 'legality', if you will, of your choice. My husband, being the MAN that he is, spent half the day coming up with ways to physically prevent the babysitter from being able to harm our child or steal from our home. I, on the other hand, went over in my head time and again every piece of information she had ever given me in my one previous conversation with her. Piecing the information together, detective-style, I came to the conclusion that she couldn't possibly be a professional criminal and probably was who she claimed to be: a "babysitter". In the end, we both left the house with our most-priced possession vulnerably at home because we trusted this girl. 

In this process, a question arose in my mind: is it possible to live this life without really trusting anyone? My conclusion: probably yes. But here's another question: what kind of life would that be? And is that a life worth living? Of course, I don't even want to think of possible consequences (and my fingers won't bent to write them) if our judgement had been wrong, but can I really imagine a life without trust? At some point, you must rely on your gut-feeling and do what feels right, even if your mind can't explain it or defend it. It's risky, sometimes too-risky, but necessary to live. Or is it?


  1. I agree with your conclusion. In general, some of us are more risk-averse than others, but eventually there comes a point where you have to accept uncertainty and go on with your life and enjoy it. Everything we do involves risk. When you leave the sanctity of your home and venture outside, your risks of EVERYTHING are much higher than had you stayed indoors. So it is near certainty that on average, one would live longer by avoiding all possible risks in life.

    But, I'll end my comment with a quote from yours: 'what kind of life would that be?'

  2. I think I'll side with your husband on this. I too would think of ways (physical or otherwise) to ensure that I don't have to trust someone. Indifference is a great way, so is violence in some cases.
    I don't have kids, but I doubt I'd ever trust a babysitter. Keeping them with close friends or family would be my choice, or maybe casually dropping the babysitter a line about my career in contract killing, or organized crime. :)

  3. someone should write a book about what it is to have a child and explain all the things no one ever tells you about. it would be very beneficial for those people thinking of having one or struggling with their own. Inna, please write this book. :)

  4. doveryai no proveryai is a russian saying... it means literally "trust but take caution"

    i never meant that one should live a life without trusting anybody! this was not at all my point. what i was trying to say is that before we trust our most valuable treasure to a stranger we should do maximum amount of research, find the least risky person and take ten million precautions before we commit.

  5. hmmm....writing a book about parenthood - I know there are about a billion books out there on that subject, but maybe I will add to that list as well (someday)! In any case, Anna, with your mom and mother-in-law (and brother, and friends) near you, you probably wouldn't need to get a babysitter anyways. That's unfortunately a luxury we don't have, but that's a different story.

    It's funny what you write, Karl, in the last bit. I actually proposed to my husband that we tell the babysitter that he works for the country's intelligence service, but for one reason or another we didn't go with that idea. And I think that was a good thing. After all, why would we expect someone to be honest with us, when we started the relationship off by thinking the worst of her? Call me crazy, or old-fashioned, or plane stupid, but I believe in what goes around comes around.

    But most of all what I wanted to say with my post was what Oleg wrote. Whether a babysitter, or some other situation, there comes a point when you just have to trust a person. I can definitely say that trusting your child to someone is perhaps the biggest test of your trust, but I really don't want to live on an island, without any people around me! (figuratively-speaking)