I just realized the other day that my one year anniversary into the wild and wacky world of Autism blogging is coming up at the end of this month. I ought to write something profound or thought provoking with a touch of whimsy heart warming fuzzy happy thoughts to it. Or I can do what I usually do and just ramble on while I wait for the wash cycle to get done and I can then throw my family's laundry in the dryer and then forget about it for a couple of hours till it's nice and wrinkled. Yeah, I'm good at that. Let's just do that instead.
When it comes down to it, yes, I learned something. Quite a lot actually. So in honor of my kiddo and his love of numbers, a list of things a year has taught me.
1) "What a difference a year makes" is a cliche but it's true. It's also not. In many ways the kiddo is completely different than the kiddo I had at this time last year. We conquered some serious food sensory issues but we're still dealing with some serious sleep/anxiety ones. No two days are the same at French Fry Inc but we don't dare change the routine or fear the wrath of the kiddo. Then sometimes a monkey wrench gets thrown into the works beyond my control. I brace myself for the meltdown and it doesn't happen. Maturity? Flexibility? Reason? Or just damn lucky. I'm going with lucky. I learned that for sure. Just don't question it when something works that saves the day. It just did. Keep going.
2) I went online to escape all things autism. I decided rather firmly not to return to my former career of working in a special needs private school that worked mainly with the autism population. I needed breaks! I needed space. What did I wind up doing? Blogging about it anyway. Created a Facebook/Twitter community I hold so dear to my heart. Yes, my friends live in my iPhone. Sometimes when you push something so far away, well it's gonna boomerang right back into your face. Deal with it. It walked into your life for a reason. Stop pushing and go with the flow.
3) Opinions are like assholes and everyone has one. Just because you don't agree with my way of doing things doesn't mean I'm wrong. We can both do things that work for our families, they can be completely different and still be the right choice! Imagine that! Nor do you have to reply with long Gospels according to Autism to every single post on a blog/page/tweet you see online. Save yourself the energy for your kids. You're no likely going to change that person's mind anymore than they will change yours. A couple years into this, you pretty much have an idea where you stand.
4) Sometimes I want to share more. I would love to refer to my son by name and post a zillion pictures of him. The world though is a scary place and I won't. He never asked me "Hey mom, do me a solid and write a blog about me. Make sure you don't forget my fear of bumblebees, how I have a hard time remembering when to go poop and how I still like to sit down with a good Blues Clues at age 9 now and then." So despite him being the most handsome creature on this earth, I won't post pictures of him. Nor will I say his name. Some things just got to stay with me.
5) Being a theater nerd in high school prepared me well for autism. I am constantly having to explain things to large groups of people. Stage fright? Ain't nobody got time for that. Singing helps my son speak? Well then, our house will be a walking musical. I sing everything. Social stories are our scripts. We are well prepared and rehearsed for new situations. There are no dress rehearsals. Places people and GO!
6) Nothing could of prepared me for over 14 thousand followers on Facebook. That's just nuts. I am forever grateful for it. You fries have helped me so much in ways you don't even know. To know I'm not the only one surviving on a steady diet of coffee and snark, it means so much to me. I was sad and angry for a very long time. I still have those days. I won't lie. Then I'm like, "Well this effing sucks. So let's drop this crap." and I move on. I have to laugh. I have to be twisted. It's just how I deal. I'm so very glad I found others just like me.
7) Folks who think I'm so sort of autism guru. Dudes, I am so not. I am just a mom. That's it. Anybody can blog. Anybody can have a Facebook page and decorate it with puzzle pieces everywhere. I'm not doing anything that special. There are thousands of these pages. I know this because I"m usually being asked to share them everyday. :-) Good luck to you who dive into this world. If you want to do it, go for it. I offer one bit of advice. Do it because you love it not just for the "likes". If that number is the only thing you are worrying about, you are in it for the wrong reason. Go change it to just a funny meme sharing page and call it a day.
8) Waking up and seeing an email from someone from another country blows my ever loving mind still. Apparently, I'm a big deal in AUSTRALIA! Little old me. Who knew? Like how the heck did all of you Down Under folks find me? Do you call the rest of the planet "Up Over"? Seriously, I want to know. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!
9) Autism Bloggers are AWESOME!! I have made some of the coolest pals in the blogging world and still get a little star struck when they comment on my posts. I'm all "OH MY GOD THEY READ IT!?!?!?!?! THEY LIKED IT?!?!?!?!" Then when I see them share it? I really loose my mind.
10) I ain't done yet. I'm not sure what the next step will be for me but I know I will take it. So far, this whole year has been a very organic process. Nothing felt forced. The posts that got the most attention are all the ones I wrote on the fly. I'll just have to see where this takes me next. I hope it will be as fun and scary and exciting and awesome as this has been.