Ever since I started writing on Mama Lewis, I’ve begged people to treat me no different because I am the parent of a disabled child. It hasn’t worked. I didn’t expect it would, but I tried anyway. There are still people who write in to me on a regular basis who I’m sure do it because they feel it is a public service. And, of course, there are very few people who write in to tell me they are insulted or horrified by anything I say.
Either everything I write, all my opinions – even all my photos – are wonderful, or people feel too uncomfortable to tell me that what they really think. My family doesn’t have the same reserve, so I am well aware that I can be offensive and disagreeable. And, frankly that’s how I like it. This blog is not a fishing expedition. I wish more people would tell me what they think. I find criticism far more useful, than flowery pity.
So, here’s the hypocrite bit.
The other week I wrote a post called Santa’s recruiting cute toddlers on BabyCenter where I showcased a family holiday video from The Sphors are Multiplying family blog. To be honest, though I didn’t say so in the post, I found it nauseating. However, I also thought it would appeal to BabyCenter readers. The post didn’t do too well. I blame myself and the manner I showcased it, not the video itself.
Usually, I read up in detail on anything I post. If it is a news story, I read the research that underpins it. Or, if it is the personal story of a family, I read their web site first. Like in this case, expect in this case I didn’t.
If you haven’t watched the video yet, this is the point where you should before you read any further.
If I had, I would have read that the toddler in the video is this family’s second child. Their first daughter, Maddie, was born prematurely and then, a year and a half later, died from a severe respiratory infection.
When I read that, I felt terrible. I realized that, viewed in that light, their video no longer appeared sacchrine to me. I can understand the desire to scream out to the masses that a healthy, happy child is a cause to celebrate every day. I can understand every impulse to do so in the loudest and silliest of manners. I can understand because that is exactly how I feel about Ieuan.
Even though I didn’t write a negative piece, I didn’t write it with any consideration to the context and I felt awful. I wondered if I should apologize, rewrite it – I spent a couple of days wondering what to do. Me. The same person that wants her readers to treat her no differently.
I decided the best thing was to change nothing. On my blog, I ask people to take me at my word and understand that I am more than how May’s disabilities have shaped me. Either I accept that some people will not appreciate my work – whether it is offensive, or saccharine – or I cater to people’s desire to pity me.
I can’t help but see the video differently when I know the context. I certainly appreciate it more. But, I can’t say I love it. I still can’t get that song out of my head.
What about you? Did you feel differently about the video after you read the back story?