Many of you know that my son recently turned four and you’re wondering where my birthday letter to him is. The short answer: it’s written, but I’ve chosen not to post it.
OK, I haven’t finished it…but I’m working on it, PEOPLE.
I have routinely battled my feelings on blogging about subjects close to my heart. As the writer, I get to choose what people learn about me through my posts. I choose how much of my life and soul I want to bare. Roper hasn’t had that choice. At all.
The universe has shown my son nothing but love. He (we) are very blessed. But I am under no illusions that this will always be the case. The digital world is full of anonymous humans – a dangerous mix that makes people feel safe saying things they wouldn’t say to your face. It’s an age of data mining, facial recognition and constantly changing privacy settings.
My bigger concern is that Roper is reaching an age at which he’s becoming aware of how people react to him. He’s old enough to start conforming to what people expect him to be, based on how I present him. Yikes.
This child is my heart, making his way in our vast world. And it is my job to protect him – something I’ve been blasé about when it comes to digital exposure. Am I going to wipe all of my social media accounts clean of his existence and delete all posts about him? No, because even when deleted, it still exists. Just like everything that makes it onto the dang ole interwebs.
Also, I’m a little bit lazy.
I will continue sharing appropriate bits of our life, but I will be more discerning in what I share about Roper. He has a big personality and never fails to engage people. We can’t go to a public meeting without being included in a TV interview or newspaper photo. People implore us to get him into commercials. I can obviously use this draw to my advantage – to gain page views or likes or what have you.
I don’t give a flying rat’s patootie about that sort of thing.
What I DO care about is ushering my child into this new world without bias, prejudice and presupposition. I have to face the fact that his name makes it incredibly easy to run searches on him. It’s unique and will come with its own assumptions when encountered on resumes and job applications.
Do I share too much? Yup. Will I continue to do so? Most likely. But I will also do my best to protect my relationship with my son, and that includes the little details of his personality and development that I will always cherish (and he will most likely roll his eyes at).
For now, I will not post his letters on this public blog. They will be just for him and whomever he chooses to share them with in the future.
Thank you, dear readers, for your continued support and for celebrating life with me. I will keep blogging and sharing – erratically as always. I’m also excited to start outlining a novel set in the Entiat Valley. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!