Friday, February 03, 2006

The Day I Totally Thought My Son Was Dooced

Today I went in to Ethan's school to meet with the headmaster and the elementary school director about what happened with Ethan and the teacher a while back. Remember? I was glad to have a chance to talk to them about this in person, because though Ethan seems fine, it was still bothering me.

Next topic. The headmaster brought up this blog. Someone (I don't know who, but HI! All are welcome! Feel free to comment directly to me!) had discovered this blog and brought to the administration's attention the entry where I vented my rage and frustration with the teacher who spoke hurtfully to my son. I had vented my considerable rage and frustration here, in my journal, in a healthy way, with words rather than actions. Because that's what journals are for! Let me explain.

This blog sometimes functions as the verbal equivalent of a punching bag. Because I am a non-confrontational person, sometimes to a fault, but I am also a very very emotional person, especially where my children are concerned. So writing things down is a smart way for me to hash them out.

I feel compelled to add here that, AT NO TIME were my idle and ridiculous and bravado-laden revenge scenarios to be taken seriously. It is sad to me that I should have to make this explicit. It should be obvious.

But I now know that this is my naivete, once again, rearing its stupid head.

Because there are bajillions of people out there who don't know me, there is potential for misunderstanding. The school has a responsibility to take seriously any troubling language regarding its employees. Of course I understand this, because I am a reasonable person.

You all, when the head master said that he knew about my blog, I was SO shocked and dismayed, I cannot even tell you. I just thought immediately, "That's it. After all the struggle, and all the damage to my marriage, and all the financial hardship to make this possible for him, Ethan is going to get Dooced and it's going to be all my fault."

I told them what I tell you, the internet is so vast, one never thinks anyone will come across one's tiny little speck of a place in it. I was genuinely floored.

I also apologized if I caused anyone to be upset. Because it was never my intention to upset anyone. I wrote what I wrote for me, not thinking for a moment that this public forum was such a small world. Now I know otherwise.

Luckily, the headmaster is also a reasonable and non-judgmental person, and so I agreed to take down the offending post, which was all he asked. I have also temporarily taken down all the entries that directly mention the name of Ethan's school, so that I can change those references to, "Ethan's school."

I also told him that the vast majority of my posts that mention Ethan's school are positive, glowing in fact, because I am so in love with this incredible school. I think my regular readers can attest to this.

Like any writer worth his or her salt, I have minor misgivings regarding free speech issues. There is a big part of me that believes it should be obvious to anyone who looks at my blog that I would never seriously carry out bodily harm on anyone, or even act menacingly towards them. I would also hope that attempts at humor, no matter how ham-handed they may be, would be correctly interpreted by all.

I now understand that I must take seriously the fact that this is not, sadly, the case. Where my posts involve other parties, I must be careful with my words.

Before I began this blog, events like what transpired with Ethan and this teacher would've eaten me up inside. I would've played out endless tape loops over and over again in my head about what he went through, what I wished I could've said, how I would've said it...I would've lost sleep drafting and re-drafting interminable mental scripts. This blog has provided me with a place to record ONCE, and be done with it, those previously debilitating scripts. And, more surprisingly and even more valuably, it has brought to me a group of friends who offer supportive and friendly virtual hugs and heckles from the peanut gallery. It was difficult to try to describe the value of this little internet speck of my own to the headmaster, who admitted that he personally would never describe his personal life in such a public way, but whose only real concern was the wellbeing of the school community.

Let me assert that the headmaster and the elementary director are lovely people, and make me love Ethan's school even more. They were willing to listen to what I had to say, and were, of course, acting in everyone's best interest. This was new for them as well as for me, and they were most gracious and open-minded. Lovely people.

I have shared my triumphs, the hilarity of my life, and my rawest, most painful moments here, and have met with validation from total strangers who have become friends. I cannot explain why this means so much to me. But it does. And I would not trade this experience for anything. I may make a few embarrassing gaffes along the way, but I would never trade it.

I wonder if Ethan's school will now come up with a policy regarding the personal blogs of those in its community, the way Melissa's son's school did? I think it would be a good idea. Surely I'm not the only blogger out there.

p.s. Happy 5th Anniversary to Andy and me! We're going out! For Moroccan, which there is just no way you can do with small children. So, hallelujah haute cuisine!


Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

DUDES! Happy fifth Anniversary! Hooray!
Keep an eye on the mail, for I have a feeling there may be a package in your future. NO, don't ask me anything, for I am as silent as the grave. Well, maybe the grave during an Irish funeral, but you get the idea.

Well done, GG, for handling what must have been a moment of tremendous stress.


4:13 PM  
Blogger yucaree said...

happy anniversary! enjoy a lovely (and exotic) dinner with andy, sans children. you two deserve it!

i think you handled the blog issue with the school administration very well and gracefully. it's nice that they were understanding and reasonable about it too.

but don't abandon this outlet that has been so helpful for you. and what would your loyal readers do without our dose of GG?

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Aloysius said...

Thanks so much for your article, very effective piece of writing.

7:38 AM  

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