Thursday, June 5, 2008

Am I Wrong to Write?

I recently read an article on Slate that posed this particular question, “What are the ground rules for writing about your kids, especially on the Internet, with its freewheeling meanness and permanent archive”?

If you have ever stopped by my blog, you know by now that my favorite topic of all time is my daughter Sophia. She brings out such a wide range of emotions in me (some that I never even experienced until she was born) and I enjoy writing about them. It has definitely been a roller coaster ride (one with loops, twists, and unexpected drops that take your breath away) the past two years as Trey and I have experienced parenthood together. However, one of the very reasons I write is to preserve the feelings of overflowing joy, frustration, pride, frustration, love, frustration, accomplishment and sometimes exasperation that I experience as a mother. I have never stopped to think that one day she may feel embarrassment or shame over the same stories that bring me such fulfillment. Am I tainting her future with the details of her past?

Will she resent me one day for using her as my subject and inviting others to read about her? I hope not – I hope that she sees it as I do, simply a way to remember the trials and triumphs of growing up. My blog is a place that will capture all the memories that she is too young to preserve yet, and to see the emotions that she has created in her parents. The look of love on Trey’s face as he catches a glimpse of himself in her expression is one that I try to capture in words, so one day Sophia will understand the depth of her daddy’s devotion to her. The surge of pride I feel when complete strangers comment on her beautiful blue eyes, those big blonde curls, and to hear them say “Oh – she looks like her mommy”. These are feelings that I want to hold on to forever. I want to remember that how Sophia grabbed my hand this week and bowed her head as we were eating dinner so I would say a prayer of thanks over our food. I want to remember that when she took a bite of her first Popsicle, her eyes widened in surprise at the cold, sweet taste in her mouth. And that the next night, she ran to the freezer when we got home and starting pointing for another one. I want to remember that she asked me to read her a book even before she fully opened her eyes this morning. These moments that should not be forgotten.

One of the reasons I started Suireshpere is that I started reading other mom’s blogs and I liked the vulnerability, honesty, and a picture of their lives that these women share. I feel as if I share a bond with these women that I have never met, just because of the experiences we share as a mother. I will say that I have been surprised at some of the things these women will admit or share about their lives to an unknown audience, but blogging has become my personal creative outlet. I do, however, consider my audience - which has become my internal filter. I censor myself in areas that would affect my job or relationships with family, but I also feel free to express my opinions about many topics in the same way that I would share them with a good friend. Hopefully from reading my posts you have come to know me a little bit better – I hope that you can see that I love God, my husband, and my daughter. I have dealt with the fact that I am and will be a working mother and admit that it can be hard, rewarding, and gratifying but necessary right now. I have overcome my addiction to entertainment news (really, it does not even interest me 90% of the time anymore), I love books, I am trying to become more environmentally aware, I have strong opinions about parents who keep their babies out late at night, and I live in a world where I dream about bathroom humor being banned. Seriously, the bathroom scene in “Dumb and Dumber” leaves Trey rolling in laughter while I want to shut my eyes, put my hands over my ears and yell “La, la, la, la, laaaaa!” That is why I pray for more girls in our future family (yes, we definitely want more kids). Boys are fascinated with bugs, boobs, and bathroom humor. Need I say more…

Back to the reason I blog - I like the fact that my posts are a way to capture a snapshot of the everyday details of our life (in the Suiresphere). Sophia is a part of that life and one day she will be able to go back on her own and read through the stories of her childhood. I’m sure she will laugh at some of the stories; maybe she will cry at the details of events that she was a part of but are not stored in her memories. Maybe she will want to die of embarrassment (which is how most teenagers feel when their parents talk about “when they were little”), or maybe she will be angry and refuse to speak to me for awhile. But maybe, just maybe, she will be able to see that her mother’s love for her was the driving force behind the writing and that is the only opinion that mattered at the time. I do censor what I write and I often ask Trey to read through what I have written before I post (so I don’t always “throw him under the bus” as he likes to say), but I don’t want to look back at my life (or Sophia’s) through rose colored glasses. I prefer to see the real, dirty, breathtaking moments that shaped her childhood and hope that one day can she can appreciate them in explicit detail. And hopefully she will love me for it, just as I love her – unconditionally.


Trey Suire said...

I have to say, my emotions were up and down in this blog. First I had tears in my eyes thinking about Sophia growing up and learning so many new things, then I laughed about the "Dumb and Dumber" comment. Keep the blogs coming sweetheart, they are amazing!!!!

Cliff said...

Hi Steph. I feel like I know you well enough to call you that, even though I have never asked if that is comfortable for you. We started out as co-workers but I definitely now consider you and Trey to be my friends. Thank you so much for letting me gain insight into your life and thoughts. I have only read a couple of your blogs but I must agree that you definitely have a knack for writing. I think this is a fantastic outlet for you and I am SURE that one day Sophia will love to read and cherish all the memories you choose to put into words. I look forward to reading more and I wish you and your family the best of wishes and prayers. Keep up the great work.

Trisha said...

I think it is a great thing you are doing for Sophia! When I hear of people writing journals and blogs like you, I just wish that I would have done that throughout my life, and that my parents would have kept my memory of things that had happened when I was a little girl. And I am not bashing my parents for not doing that, because I know I am blessed and have wonderful parents that have raised me right. However, it would be great to remember some of this cute, silly, messy little things I did as a young girl, but my memory is not that great. I can remember major events in my lifetime, but not too many of the little things. So I think what you are doing is great and one day she will realize how blessed she is and be thankful for everything you and Trey have done for her.