If a blog has a birthday and its frazzled overwhelmed writer misses it, does she get kicked out of the blogging club?

According to my e-mail archives, I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now, since March 23rd, 2010.  And I didn’t even know it.   I guess I thought WordPress would send me an e-mail.  Something like “Hey!  Guess what!  We’ve been hosting your little blog for a year now for free…when are you going to upgrade and send us some money?”

I need reminders like that or I miss things.  Or maybe I just need a personal assistant.

Anyway, on the occasion of this blog’s 55th week in existence, I thought I’d take a little look back.

I had written a few things before starting this blog last year, including a piece for The Boston Globe Magazine and one for Autism Speaks, which is now included in their 100 day Kit.  There was something cathartic about sharing our story for the first time.  I was finding that I needed a space to write more, just to get the words out of my head.  At this point, we were only three months into my son’s autism diagnosis.

Through my extensive research on autism (thank you Google), I came across so many stories that felt like my own.  People sharing bits and pieces of their daily lives.  And with each one I read, I cried more.

One day I was reading a story about sensory processing disorder, and there was a link to Hartley’s Life With 3 Boys.  As I clicked around her site, I felt right at home.  Her life with her three boys was very similar to mine.  And she was looking for people to join her SPD Blogger Network.

So I did.  And this blog was born.

In these 55 weeks, so much has happened.  The SPD Blogger Network has now blossomed into its own site, and I’m proud to be a writer there and its newsletter editor.  I’m also lucky enough to be a contributing writer to Hopeful Parents and on Hartley’s site itself, and on our local autism resource center’s blog.  I helped a friend launch her Special Needs Sibling Saturday. I joined with friends to strongly (*ahem*) encourage Parents Magazine to include real life family stories for Autism Awareness month.

But the best part about this year has been meeting all the incredible members of this community.  When I started writing, I felt so alone.  Now I’m part of a family.  I can get up in the morning and know that at least 20 – 30 people have my back.  I have people I can turn to when things are tough, and friends who understand the importance of the small things.  The writers that I have met along the way aren’t just faceless people who post comments – they are my lifeline.  There are my Facebook friends now.  My Twitter buddies (no, I still can’t say “tweeps”).  Many of them I have now met in real life and many more I hope to meet very soon.

Because of them, I can breathe again.  I can get out of bed.  I can laugh and cry and not feel like I’m the only one.

Because of them, this blog has changed my life.  I would be lost without these incredible people.

Many of them are listed on the sidebar of my home page under “You’re the Inspiration”.  It may be a cheesy Chicago song, but it’s completely true.

I could use this space to list off my favorite posts, but every post is special to me in its own way.  So I’m taking a page here from my friend Spectrummy Mummy.
In the interest of awareness and paying it forward, choose a blog from my list.  I have learned so much from the people behind those titles.  Instead of leaving a comment here, click on any one of them and meet someone new.  Then share it with a friend.

I’ll end with this.  The one thing that has not changed over this past year has been the reason why I write.  I write for these incredible boys.  They are my world.  They are the ones that have taken me on this incredible journey.  We defy gravity together.

boys on the swing

My Three Sons

Here’s to the next 55 weeks together.

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!” – Defying Gravity from Wicked