R and I were in the car today. I’m not sure how often that will happen now, so I figured I needed to get my difficult conversations in while I had the chance. One that I had been thinking about was about his privacy, basically about how and when I talked about him online. This week, a mom’s post about her child went viral and aroused a lot of controversy, including some harsh words on children’s right to privacy. It made me think. It made me worry.
So I started carefully. I wanted to set the stage. I wrote a ton about him when he was little, all on a board on AOL, and alas, most of it lost to the mists of time. The board shut down, I didn’t have archives, I don’t know what I said. I wish I did! But I’ve been more careful as he grew older. I actually started this blog to write about learning disabilities, oh-so-many-years-ago, but I never wound up doing that. He worked so hard, but his struggles felt private to me.
Lately, though, I’ve been less careful than I used to be. I’ve used his real name a few times; my written-but-not-posted-post on depression features him heavily; I’ve quoted things he’s said in comments on other people’s blogs and here, too. I didn’t feel as if I was being insensitive, but would I necessarily know?
So I started talking. You know how sometimes when you know what you want to say but you don’t quite know how you want to get there, you sort of wander around the point? I did that a little bit. R made a couple comments. I talked some more.
Finally, he interrupted me and said, “Mom, I’ve read what you write about me. You make me sound smarter, funnier, and far more charming than I really am. Feel free to continue.”
I laughed and laughed.
Because you know what? I really don’t.