I'm running out of time before my daughter discovers my online presence. She already knows I write things that end up on the Internet. She told me this after she and a friend found an article I wrote for the Hello Giggles website. WTF? SHE'S 9. It'll be a tough transition for me in many ways. Merging the two personas: The dad she knows and the person I am in words and images.
I'm not sure why I'm afraid of her discovering that her dad is more layered than she imagines. I guess we're wired to protect our children from knowing too much about stuff, mostly because it's difficult for us to believe that they are capable of understanding. We want to protect them from the world. We struggle to keep them young. It's an unwinnable, unreasonable battle. I suppose I'm also afraid that she won't understand context or sarcasm, or even begin to understand why a grown up would want to share his life with a largely unknown audience. I'm still not sure I even understand that. It's like I don't want her to know me, for real.
Which seems odd.
My hope is that when she does discover my blog, with the nearly 1000 posts about the last ten yeards of my life (and stories from before that), my successes and failures, my hopes, dreams, and disappointments, that she will take comfort knowing that her own fears and hopes are normal. I'm very honest with my children. I wouldn't lie to them about anything, including my blog or my Twitter or my Instagram or any of the other footprints I've left behind here on the Internet. And how could I? Other than scrubbing my trail (which is nearly impossible), what options do I have? The evidence is there to find. Dad's secrets revealed. He is not a mystery. He is a person.
I wonder if I would've scoured the Internet for anything I could find about my own parents, had it existed when I was her age. I think I would have. Of course I would have.
I'm starting to realize that these kids are actual people. Maybe it's not fair to drag them into a public blog without letting them know it's happening. What if I post a picture that's embarrassing? What if one of her friends tells her she thought the picture her dad posted of her on his blog made her look silly? Is that fair? I'm freaking out a little bit.
Is this detailed map of my past 10 years a liability as a parent, or is it something that will bring us closer? Will old childhood pictures I've posted of them become a liability to them? I have no idea. I don't know exactly how to navigate, as it's uncharted territory for me. Any advice? Do your kids know about your blog/online presence? At what age? Should I go through my archives now and remove anything questionable, or do I let it live and keep an open line of communication about it?
How the hell am I the parent?
How the hell am I the parent to a kid who's practically ten?
How do I transition from the dad of a baby girl into the dad of a pre-tween?
Do I have the right to keep writing about them?
I don't know anything.
I've never known anything.