Friday, March 1, 2013

Why should I blog about Eli?

I have been asked why I blog about Eli's uniqueness and it has even been suggested that Adam and I deal with this as a private family matter rather than "brag" about it or "parade him around".

My reasons for writing about Eli are simple. Aside from a love for writing, Eli's my son and I'm damn proud of him. He's not a dirty family secret that I want to hide. He deserves better than that and quite frankly, so do I.

Secondly, I have heard so many words of encouragement and I hate to admit it but I need to hear them. Even though I'm confident in my parenting choices, there are some trying and challenging days and it's so helpful for me to be cheered on and supported.

Most importantly, sharing Eli's story sparks conversation with people who read my blog. They talk to their children about it. They help make his school a loving and supportive place for him. Because of my blog, people are talking about gender issues with their kids and having inner monologues with themselves. And not just about gender issues but about accepting anyone else who may look different from them. I know it is something that I sometimes struggle with too and Eli is teaching me to look beyond what someone looks like or what someone  is wearing and instead see them for the special person they are on the inside. 

Do I expect everyone to agree with Eli's lifestyle or with our choices to raise him in a home where he is embraced and accepted for who he is? No, I don't. Sadly, I've heard enough to know that this isn't the case and truthfully, I never expected it to be. Luckily, we haven't heard too many messages of disapproval. But I've heard enough to bring me to my knees in tears so I have to be careful to keep my energy focused on the right things and on staying the course with my baby boy.

I've been asked the question, "Do you think you are hurting him for making this public?"...well first, my blog isn't exactly wide read, so I'm not worried about a national outcry. Second, um...people that we know can *see* Eli so I'm not sure they are reading anything on my blog that surprises them after they've met Eli. And third, if they haven't met Eli yet, when they do, many of their questions will have already been answered.

Believe me, this very blog has saved me from many awkward conversations at class birthday parties. It has also served as a tool to communicate with parents of Eli's classmates and has given parents a chance to prepare their kids for Eli's uniqueness. Eli's school is a warm, safe and accepting place and I think that has a bit to do with my candor and willingness to talk openly.

Simply said, the good that this blog does for my family and my community far outweighs the bad.

Eli is amazing. He inspires me. And I think he is starting to inspire other people too. I'm not ashamed of him and won't allow someone to make me think I should be. As long as Eli has a lesson to teach the world, I'm going to share it with as many people as I can. Proudly and unapologetically.



5 comments:

Susie Lazega said...

Bravo proud mama bear! Being open and honest and caring are your leading goals, I believe that these wonderful attributes will continue to lift your family and friends. Secrets are tough for everyone. Continuing to live proud and strong in the moment is courageous and wonderful! Love, Susie

pullthewool said...

I am one who wishes it were more widely read. I am someone who knows you, Adam, your kids, and I still learn things about you through your writing and I hope you'll keep doing it and do it more often. Sadly, I guess I too have sometimes been pleasantly surprised by the amount of support you receive and have wondered whether you receive less public responses that are less supportive. On the recent photo you posted on fb of Eli and his American Girl doll, Eli got a 100% of the votes for who was cuter--but I thought, who would dare publicly say anything else? (The fact that it was true is besides the point.) And I thought it was a great opportunity for you to get that love and support and validation that I totally understand your wanting. But I also wondered whether it also would inspire others to send you less than supportive private messages--admonishments for being public with Eli's fabulousness. There will always be people who give the advice to keep anything that makes them uncomfortable private. They might even think the advice is really for you and for Eli. But don't be discouraged Jen. You are doing more than the right thing. You are giving Eli a great gift by combatting shame with celebration. Write more, celebrate your beautiful family, know that you have an army of celebrants behind you!

pullthewool said...

I am one who wishes it were more widely read. I am someone who knows you, Adam, your kids, and I still learn things about you through your writing and I hope you'll keep doing it and do it more often. Sadly, I guess I too have sometimes been pleasantly surprised by the amount of support you receive and have wondered whether you receive less public responses that are less supportive. On the recent photo you posted on fb of Eli and his American Girl doll, Eli got a 100% of the votes for who was cuter--but I thought, who would dare publicly say anything else? (The fact that it was true is besides the point.) And I thought it was a great opportunity for you to get that love and support and validation that I totally understand your wanting. But I also wondered whether it also would inspire others to send you less than supportive private messages--admonishments for being public with Eli's fabulousness. There will always be people who give the advice to keep anything that makes them uncomfortable private. They might even think the advice is really for you and for Eli. But don't be discouraged Jen. You are doing more than the right thing. You are giving Eli a great gift by combatting shame with celebration. Write more, celebrate your beautiful family, know that you have an army of celebrants behind you!

Donna Childs said...

I already told you that I think Eli is going to teach all of us! Love from Auntie Donna

Anonymous said...

I am a friend of a friend, and a longtime reader. What you are doing, making record of this journey, is a very important thing. You are educating, inspiring, normalizing,healing, celebrating, encouraging, supporting....you are creating understanding and helping to replace judgement with love. Most importantly, you are raising a precious soul who will cherish the chronicle his loving mother painstakingly created to honor and celebrate exactly who the Creator made him to be.