One year ago today, we planted our shaky feet on to the ground of the blogosphere, and what a long, strange trip it has been.
At first, this wasn’t an autism blog. We were still quite convinced back then that our son was not autistic. We knew his needs were complex, varied, and numerous, but we weren’t ready to put the ‘a’ word into our vocabulary.
At one point I thought about taking the ‘pre-autism’ posts down since they seemed outdated and far from where we are now, but I decided the better of it and left them there. I think people going back and reading through our story need to see that 1) we were really confused back then – and still are for that matter – and 2) being confused is normal and OK.
Those were tough days. But here we are, one year farther down the road journeying with our little superstar who has risen to so many challenges and accomplished so many amazing things. If I could go back and tell the bloggers we were a year ago anything, I guess it would be, “Put one foot in front of the other as best you can, and keep your eyes on the lookout for amazing things to happen. Now turn on your light, and watch him shine.”
We have a lot of people to thank for what feels like a successful first year of blogging. Web site statistics are sort of an imprecise science, but 259 posts later, we’ve had roughly 14,000 visitors in the past year who have combined to read about 50,000 pages on our site. Things started picking up after I did a pretty big redesign of the site, and about 2/3 of all that traffic has come in the last three months. About 125-150 people come to the site each day, which is exciting and humbling at the same time.
We have met some amazing parents along the way, and we are thankful for the friendships we have forged with a number of you. You all have taught us many things, some of which include: 1) we aren’t alone in this, 2) together we are stronger than we are on our own, 3) there are many, many extraordinary people in this world, and 4) our children are profoundly beautiful works of art who have so much to teach us and the world, and our job is to help them shine.
But there is much still to be done. I’ve talked off and on about the ‘next big thing’ I’ve been thinking about, admittedly while providing absolutely no details about it. I had hoped to get that rolling sooner than later, but the more I’ve thought about it, the more ambitious its scope gets. I’ve learned so much from all of you, and your determination to learn everything you can to help your children has inspired me to think, “What can I do to make a difference in the lives of parents and their autistic children?” The answer to that question will be where we head next. I will be looking for your input soon, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, in celebration of our blogoversary, I’ll be rolling out over the next few days a multi-part sequel to the always-popular “What’s Your Autistic Toddler Like?” post. It’s easily the most read post on our site with over 3,000 readers so far, and it’s easily the #1 post people cite when they e-mail us. So the epic sequel is coming – so epic (i.e., really dang long) in fact that I’ll have to roll it out in parts. So, stay tuned!
If you’re fairly new around here or haven’t got around to jumping into the time machine, take a stroll down memory lane and see where we started from. Our first post was inspired by our blog name, which by the way comes from our beloved expression “he can’t find his ass with both hands and a flashlight” – pretty much how we often feel around here.
So go read our first two posts from February 18, 2008 – “The quest to find our own asses begins” and “The Both Hands and a Flashlight Manifesto”. The former shows how parents can see certain things and reach different conclusions, and not see things in hindsight we wish we knew enough back then to see. But it also shows how far we’ve come. Either way, the Manifesto has certainly stood the test of time.
I’ll leave you with a quote from E. L. Doctorow – one of my favorite quotes ever – and the perfect symbol for us and the journey we’re on:
“It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”