Thoughtful Thursday: Audience
April 9, 2009
This past weekend, I traveled to Weeblesland where I spent a wonderful day with Lori, Tessa, and Reed.
Sometimes when you meet someone after reading their writing, the narrative voice doesn’t fit the real person. That wasn’t the case here; Lori was exactly like I imagined she would be: straddling the line between the spiritual and the everyday; embracing open adoption in words and actions, birth mothers coming up in conversation with her children on occasion; encouraging of her children’s creativity; intellectually curious; deeply enamored with the blogosphere. Tessa was also very much like Lori has described her, and Lori’s fabulous recent series on Tessa’s reunion with her birthfather provided an accurate preview of all of the different features of Tessa’s personality (except for the part where she’d end up giving me two makeovers). I had fewer expectations about Reed, who ended up being both sweeter and more happy-go-lucky than I’d imagined.
One of the greatest delights was talking with Tessa and Reed about my pregnancy. The first question out of Tessa’s mouth, literally 30 seconds into our acquaintance, was, “Are you having a baby?” When I told her that I was having two babies, her eyes lit up like I’d said I had a pocket full of puppies and lollipops.
Both kids had numerous questions for me as well as surprising reactions. When I pointed out some blueberries and told Tessa that the babies were the size of blueberries, she asked, “Can you eat them?”
Reed asked, “Why don’t you have a big belly?” Actually the big belly process has already begun, but thank you, my dear.
There were a lot of questions about food. “Do you have to eat baby food?” “Can the babies have wine?” “Do you get to keep any of the food you eat, or do the babies get it all?”
The most ‘kids say the darndest things’ moment came when Tessa asked me if the babies would be boys or girls.
Me: The doctors haven’t told me yet. It could be two girls, two boys, or a boy and a girl.
Reed: When the doctors tell you, can you call us?
Me: Sure. What do you think they will be?
Tessa: A boy and a girl.
Reed: A dog and a cat!
Aside from discussing pregnancy, we also talked about various aspects of blogging: privacy considerations on the internet, how it’s possible to be friends with someone you haven’t met, the freedoms and limitations of self-disclosure.
Many bloggers I’ve read, including Lori, are careful about certain details — both for the sake of current privacy, and because some things are not their story to tell. Many bloggers seem cognizant that their children may someday read the words they are blogging now. Even in the midst of extensive soul-searching, they hold some things back to protect their children, now or in the future. Parenting blogs are sometimes written in part as a record for children’s future information, but Adoption/Loss/Infertility blogs seem to be written for the writers and their like-minded readers. Nonetheless, given the permanence of anything posted on the internet, there is a high likelihood that many of our blogs will be read someday by our children.
Today’s Thoughtful Thursday topic: Would you have your child read your blog someday?
As an anonymous blogger, I embrace my freedom to say all sorts of things I wouldn’t want anyone in my family to read. But, aside from some unflattering things about my mother-in-law, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t let my child see. In fact, by the time my children can read, I’m sure they will have figured out the score regarding their grandmother (and the rest of us, if they’re anything like their father was as a little kid), so they don’t really need to be sheltered from those portions either.
There are aspects that kids don’t particularly want to hear about (giant needles piercing Mommy’s vagina and the tedium of babymaking sex, for example), but it’s all part of how they got here. Ultimately, some of the take-home messages from the whole blog are: that I have wanted them desperately for a long, long time; that I have gone to extraordinary lengths to bring them into this world; that more than anything else, over the past 7 years I have wanted to meet them and shower them with love. None of that will ever be a secret to them.
(Note to future children reading the blog years from now: Hi! I love you! Don’t worry, I don’t hold the needles in my vagina against you.)
Would you have your child read your blog someday? Do you ever think of your (real or imagined) children as future readers when writing?