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.