Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Five and time

I wrote my first blog post five years ago today.

Five years. It's wild. It was a lifetime ago. It was yesterday.

Gwuinifer was the first person to post a comment on the blog and I was astounded that somebody was reading what I wrote. I think that for a long time she was one of the only people who read what I wrote. In those days, nobody in my real life knew about my blog and most of my posts yielded few, if any, comments.

I'd started blogging as a means of sorting out my thoughts, but communicating with Gwuinifer opened my eyes to the possibility that blogging could be more - that it could connect me to other people who were travelling similar paths. But even with that realization, I never really imagined how important those connections would become to me.

Gwuinifer and I haven't stayed in touch, though I still pop over to her blog now and then to see if she's posted any new pictures of her beautiful children. And there have been other bloggers (and commenters and non-commenting, e-mailing readers) over the years with whom I've connected, then drifted. But there have been even more bloggers and commenters and e-mailing readers who have become an integral part of my life, and upon whose wisdom I have come to depend.

At some point in the past five years, I also started sharing my blog with people I knew - tentatively at first, because I was afraid that mentioning my blog to people would make me seem self-indulgent. But people were gracious and encouraging. They began passing the link on to other people. For a long time, I thought I was living safely under a shroud of pseudonymity, until one day, a colleague stopped me at the salad bar at work and said "I love your blog."

At first, the thought of being "known" was jarring - even panic-inducing. But then I came to realize that the blog helped people to see Bud differently. Reading about our challenges helped people in our lives know how to reach out and offer support. I began to see how, in very tangible ways, the blog was making a difference in our lives. And so, over the past five years, I've loosened my death-grip on anonymity and that freedom has allowed for even more connection and even greater depth.

My life outside the blog has changed in the past five years as well. It's changed in some big, huge, tangible ways - like, I was married five years ago, and now I'm not. And it's changed in some smaller, but significant ways as well. Five years ago, I'd never heard of Dierks Bentley, and if you'd asked me, I probably would have said I wasn't really into country music. Five years ago, I'd never taught a writing course, and if you'd asked me, I probably would have said I wasn't really a writer. Five years ago, I wrote that I saw Bud's PDD-NOS diagnosis as a "sweatshirt-that-never-really-fit-right-but-is-the-right-weight-for-this-weather-so-I'll-wear-it-cause-it's-better-than-nothing." Now, I see it as his skin. Five years ago, I was preoccupied with concern about causation and cure. Now, I am motivated by ideas about education and support.

Of course, the biggest changes I've seen over the past five years have been in Bud himself. When I started writing, he was five years old and in preschool. Today, he participated in his fourth grade music class recital, singing "Trying To Stop Your Leaving" to his class through the microphone of his karaoke machine. Five years ago, his spontaneous language was limited and making meaning of his echolalia-based speech felt like sheer Holmesian deduction. Now, though Bud still loves a mitigated script, we are able to have full reciprocal conversation. Five years ago, Bud's whole world revolved around the Teletubbies. Now, though he still loves "the guys," he says he prefers his real-life friend.

We've been through a lot in five years: a lot of challenge, a lot of upheaval, a lot of triumph. And it's hard to look back on the past five years of blogging without starting to wonder what the next five years will hold. But I remember someone commenting to me during a particularly difficult time in my life that it's a good thing we never know what life has in store for us, because if we knew what was coming, we'd be sure we couldn't handle it. Since then, I've tried not to project myself too far into the future, for fear of creating unreasonable expectations or self-imposed limitations by presupposing what the goals should be or by failing to imagine possibilities.

But still. In five years, Bud will be fifteen and I will be the mother of a high schooler. And what about you? Will we all still be here, floating around together in the blogosphere? Or will we have become like Gwuinifer and me - people with fond memories who used to be in touch?

One way or another, let's make a plan. Let's plan to meet back here five years from now. I'll write down the password and tuck it away somewhere, so that if I've stopped blogging by then, I'll still know how to log in. We can all gather here in my virtual living room, pour some coffee, reminisce and catch up. What do you say? Are you in?

We may not know what else the next five years will bring, but one thing's for sure: February 9, 2015? That's going to be a heck of a time.

39 comments:

Niksmom said...

I'll bring the whiskey to lace the coffee. You're not getting rid of me that easily! Five years from now...I can't begin to imagine. Wow.

Jordan said...

YES! I'm all over it. Although I *refuse* to believe we all won't be in touch in 5 years. Your bloggiversary inspired me to look back at my first email to you, which was written right after I started reading this blog. It was May 2007, which I cannot believe - seems like only a week ago!! Here's to 5 more years!

kristenspina said...

I'm in. (And congrats on the milestone... Can't imagine this journey without you!)

Robin said...

I am in! I am a late comer to your blog but not to your life :)
I know we tend to drift in and out but you are a special person to me and hold a concrete place in the people I consider good friends!
Happy blogiversary!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Five years ... it is hard to imagine, isn't it? Yours was probably the first blog I ever read. I'd just read Susan Senator's book in early 2007, meandered onto her site, which led me to yours.

I can't imagine the last few years without your blog. Here's to the next five, with all that it holds.

kristina said...

What if you're not blogging in 5 years---no way no how! I missed it enough last year!

Yours was one of the first blogs about autism I read when I started blogging in June 2005---I remember reading "water-based boy" (I think that was the title? maybe it was "water-based Bud") and thinking, wow, another mom like me! And she gets it!

I will submit a wish that you blog for at least 10 more.

pixiemama said...

Five years from now makes me shudder, but it will happen regardless.

I'm in. ;)

xo

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

Happy Blogiversary! I started reading in the spring of '07, when I entered the blogosphere (I think I found you through Kyra, or perhaps on a search for blogs that discussed sensory issues).

Yes, I'm in for a 2015 gathering. Looking forward to the next 5 years and all that is in store for us!

mumkeepingsane said...

Five years from now? Teenagers? Oh gee, I don't even want to think about it. But I'm in. I'll bring some Bailey's to spike the hot chocolate for those of us who don't drink coffee. :)

goodfountain said...

Five years of blogging! Congratulations. I've written about this before on my blog, but yours was the first blog of any sort that I ever read. It was late late at night and I was googling things like "does echolalia ever go away?" and "echolalic but not autistic." (Those searches showed where I was at, eh.) I came upon your Dr. Strangelove post ... nodding vigorously as I was reading it.

I wasn't ready to start reading blogs about autism (or anything about autism for that matter), but what I did read (when I finally allowed myself to come back) has helped me tremendously and shaped my own personal views of autism.

Please don't go anywhere -and I'll definitely see you in five years!

Geoz said...

5 years? Can we agree on 5 minutes first? I just need to get this thing done... and then I have to fold some laundry.

Yes ... of course. I'll read this blog in 5 years.

Kaethe said...

Five years from now I guess we'll be thinking about SATs and learner's permits. Yeah, I'll see you then. We'll all need the support.

Eileen said...

5 YEARS?!?! Wow!

In honor of the occasion I looked back to see if I could find the first comment I ever wrote on your blog. I found it, but as I looked I remembered how I was reading for a while without actually commenting. And when I read what I first wrote, I realized how much I still had to learn about autism then.

I wrote...

Eileen said...
This is great! Bud sounds as if he is moving beyond scripting and using more appropriate pretend play. My typical 4 year old reenacts scenes from his Thomas the Tank Engine Videos with his trains in a very similar way.


Ha, see what a I mean?!?! I remember reading all of what Bud was doing at age 5 and was amazed because it was nowhere near what Andrew, at age 3 at the time, was doing. I couldn't see so much of a difference between Brian 4 and Bud 5 at this time. Boy did I have a lot to learn about the spectrum then.

It is funny how some of us kept in touch and some drifted. And like you said, who really knows what the next 5 years will bring. As I was looking for my comment I saw mommyguilt! Remember her?!?! I loved her! She was a rockstar! And she wrote the most supportive mother-like comments!

Anonymous said...

I'm in. I'm all in.

Christy

Christine said...

Woohoo! I love a good party. And what a party it will be! Cheers to the next five years. I for one couldn't imagine it without you and the rest of these guys.

KAL said...

Wow, five years? Yours was one of the very first blogs I read back in 2006 when we started down this road — my boys were not even yet two. I can't imagine not having you on my journey. Although I can't fathom what the next five will bring, I hope we're all still here reading and sharing.

And if we should drift (and how I hope we won't), I am marking 2/9/15 on my calendar :) xo

Claire- Professor Mother said...

And I've been reading ever since 2006 when I found (R)evolutionary Parenting... and lurking. Your voice inspired me and kept me company for an awful long time- when I didn't think I had any words to say anything other than "Oh I AGREE!" because you said it so beautifully. I found a mentor- someone who could say what I was feeling.

But it was your blog that truly inspired me when I came to a clearer place to write my book- knowing that there were other parents out there who read, who needed to know, who were going through just what I had been going through. There's a wonderful chain of connections that you are part of and helped start. Thank you- MOM-NOS...

I'm there, 5 years from now- and you'll look forward to reading about more lives you've touched. And we'll all face teenagers together and add a few more readers and mommies along the way. There's company in this journey.

Mary Oliver said it better than I can:

"Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile, the world goes on....

Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—

Over and over announcing your place

In the family of things"

mommy~dearest said...

Totally in!

K said...

I will be there for sure !

jess wilson said...

Hell yes.

Five years?

Yikes.

I'll stick to next week for now. It's all I can handle so far.

Anonymous said...

Yippee..I have been lurking for awhile. I don't remember how I found you but, I bookemarked it. I remember thinking...yeah, she gets it! I love your comparison of Bud now from 5 years ago echolalia to now with recripal speech. It gives me hope!!!Carry on Mom-nos.....carry on!!!!

Brandy said...

Yippee..I have been lurking for awhile. I don't remember how I found you but, I bookemarked it. I remember thinking...yeah, she gets it! I love your comparison of Bud now from 5 years ago echolalia to now with recripal speech. It gives me hope!!!Carry on Mom-NOS.....carry on!!!!

Stimey said...

Congratulations on five years!!! I'm definitely in for 2015! :)

You were one of the first autism blogs I read. You were flat-out one of the first blogs I read. You were a huge influence on my early autism thinking. Thank you.

Club 166 said...

Congrats on the first five...

I'm looking forward to the next five, and if I'm still waking up on this side of the grass, I'll be sure to drop by.

Joe

Autism and 14-Monkey Experiment said...

I think interacting with other people can have a huge impact in how we view our lives.

graceunderautism said...

I hope you don't stop posting, how else will I get through the pre-teen years? I first came across your archives when searching for all sorts of Autism related stuffs just after our diagnosis. Went through withdraws last year and then a wonderful January. But just in case, I'll stick it on my google calendar.

Accidental Expert said...

Five years used to sound like a long time, but no more. I'll put it on my calendar.

I feel the same way about my blog. I just started a little less than a year ago, but already have made so many connections and have actually come out to family and friends. Its pretty amazing.

drama mama said...

Not to be overly dramatic, but finding you was akin to being pulled off a cliff. During those dark days, I, too was preoccupied with the *why me* and *how quickly can we get through this*.

No one is more shocked than I that I can actually enjoy and celebrate my child's differences, and I look to friends like you for opening my eyes.

Clink, clink. Here's to you. To Bud. To Miss M. To all of our awesome kids out there.

To time...and that it continues to treat us gracefully.

Island Mom said...

I found your blog not long after my then 4 yr old son was diagnosed, and i was stumbling around on the internet for single-parent-autism-spectrum-blog-ANYTHING that could help me make sense of what my days were like. How happy i was to find your words, they have been inspiring -- i've only recently started commenting, but have been reading for a while.

Life continues, and i hope you are still writing in 5 years -- i will still be reading. Happy bloggivarsary.

Dani G said...

Yes! Yes! I'm in! I think I am today where you were 5 years ago: with a five year old PDDNOS'ed out kid in preschool, struggling to make sense of the echolalic scripty speech. You're on- see you in five years ;)

Kristine said...

Congrats on five years! As I close in on five years of blogging myself I see many similarities in our beginning.

You are a relatively new addition to my blog roll, but I'd like to still be reading in 5 years!

Rachel said...

Mazel tov on the past five years! Looking forward to your 10th year reunion. :-)

Royal Ranch said...

What a milestone. Congratulations! Yoy have also won the Sunshine Award! I really have enjoyed this blog the last few months, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Happy blogoversary! I have been reading and commenting for years and consider myself a Bud fan. Hope you keep writing. Linda

Daisy said...

Five years - it's a long time! Let's all plan to meet in real life; I'll bring coffee or my fabulous chocolate zucchini muffins.

MothersVox said...

MOM-NOS, MOM-NOW, I'll be there, then as now. Your blog was an oasis of intelligence when I first started blogging about Sweet M at the end of 2005. Like Claire-Professor Mom, I also remember (R)evolutionary Parenting as standout post, as a way out. Perhaps that will be your book title? Happy blogaversary!

kyra said...

i'm in!

eeeeeeeek! but it scares me because the last 5 years have FLOWN by.

The Lucas William Foundation said...

i am new to this blogging thing but not so new to the autism diagnosis thing. It has been 2 and half years of struggle and smiles.. Probably more struggles than smiles but the smiles when in so more. I cant see past the next 5 minutes but i will work on 5hours and maybe in sometime i will be able to look foward to 5years.. To me that is lots of doctors appointments and therapies and fights for the rights of all these special kids who with out the title of special, they are still kids..... I hang on to that so that my little man lucas can enjoy that which makes him happy as all 5 year olds can be

Telemommie said...

I'm loving your class explanation series, but I've been meaning to leave a comment here since this post. Wanted to let you know how much your blog has meant to me over the years. At first I was so excited that another ASD kid loved teletubbies like my daughter and though she is 4 years younger, I thought she would grow up to be just like Bud (which I thought would be great!). She has turned out much different--non verbal, but you and Bud are still such an inspiration for me. You both have such grace under the pressure of this "life style." I love that you are always positive, no matter what is going on. You are such an awesome writer and a great role model for all Moms NOS everywhere! I'm so glad you are writing more this year, although I totally understand the need to take a break. Here's to many more years!