Remember my 12-year-old son? He who points at the Kremlin?
Say hello, son.
Because, just as Sarah Tuttle-Singer was wondering: What Will Happen When My Kids Google Me?, my son… did.
And he ended up on Kveller (which, I guess, yay, for Kveller’s Google search ranking). And he read everything I’ve written up to this point.
He read about my concerns regarding his sister’s Black/Jewish hair, and who I think he’ll turn into as a teenager based on his behavior as a toddler, and why I wish all my kids would read less and do more.
He also learned that I think his father is the most romantic man in the world because he cleans up baby vomit, and all about my own father’s ongoing battle with the American Medical Association versus his Soviet home-remedies.
If he’d stopped there, I would have been cool.
He did not, however, stop there.
He also read about my neurosis that, when the Nazis or the Cossacks or the Communists come to round us up, my kids won’t be prepared to survive. And how our Conservative temple won’t let his non-Jewish father be a member while happily accepting his dues. And about his grandparents’ conflicting attitudes towards America.
Those were things I would have been happy his never knowing about. And certainly not at the age of 12. (See, I told you teaching kids to read leads to nothing but problems.)
On the other hand, just like when my 8-year-old read my 5-year-old a book about the Holocaust without asking permission and I decided to see it as a good thing–because now I didn’t have to do it–I suppose I could look at The Great Kveller Binge as a good thing, too. Just think of all the uncomfortable topics I don’t have to fill him in on now!
In fact, as he enters his teen years, maybe we should do all of our communicating exclusively through blogs? Instead of my actually sharing with him my concerns about his behavior, or his schoolwork, or his choice in girlfriends, I could just write about it here. And wait for him to find it.
Quite frankly, I suspect my concern about my 12-year-old reading all these Kveller articles is not so much for his well-being. He seemed fine. In fact, he told me he thought my articles were “funny.” The concern is for my own future ability to write without the specter of my oh-so-literate kids looking over my shoulder.
I’ve dealt with a similar situation before. I’ve been writing romance novels for close to 20 years now. And writing romance novels means writing sex scenes. Which then get published into books. Which are stocked on shelves. And purchased and read. By all sorts of people. Including my parents.
Writing sex scenes with the knowledge that your parents will one day be reading them? Less than fun. And definitely not sexy. (Actually, now it just occurred to me that one day my kids may be reading them, too. Oh, double-yay.)
But, here’s the thing: The sex lives of fictional characters are still not nearly as intimate as some of the things published on this blog. For one thing, there are no imaginary people to hide behind–it’s all me, all the time. For another, a blog like Kveller is only engaging and helpful to others if the writers are honest. Brutally honest. Because that’s the only way to make a reader go, “Oh, thank God, I thought I was the only one!”
I know that’s what I love about it. And I hope that’s a feeling other people get from my postings, too.
I would hate for that to change for any reason. So I’m going to do my best to make sure it doesn’t. I’m going to tell myself that it’s okay that my son, and later my two other children, will be reading this.
Because, after all, why shouldn’t they get the chance to think, “Oh, thank God, I thought I was the only one!” too?