A year ago, I sat on my couch – staring at my computer screen, trying to come up with an original name for a blog. I don’t remember everything I tried, but I do know just about every domain referencing puzzle pieces is taken. (I’d like to take the time, on behalf of the autism community, to issue a huge mea culpa to the online jigsaw puzzle industry. Sorry.) After giving up on puzzles, I started over with flapping, then flappy, then happy – and Flappiness Is was born.
I needed an outlet. I looked at a few autism blogs (quickly realizing special-needs parent blogging wasn’t exactly a new idea). I noted that most of them had a presence on social media and resolved to do the same. And then I wrote my first fledgling post. My goal was simple. I just wanted to talk to a few people who knew what I was going through.
And then my world expanded. I can tell you I never dreamed of the following this blog would attract. The heartfelt stories of those in the trenches. Words of wisdom and motherly reassurances from women who’ve already raised their children. Honest, illuminating, and kind perspectives from self-advocates. Emails and private messages comparing notes, asking for advice, and saying thank you. The sharing of tips, advice, resources, information from so many. I never imagined that this little labor of love would give me so much more in return.
I’m not the same woman I was one year ago. My skin is a lot thicker. I’ve gotten my son formally diagnosed, enrolled him in public school, watched my beloved father pass away, dealt with probate, renovated a house, moved, put my innermost thoughts and feelings on the internet, gone viral, been published in a few places, encountered scathing criticism online, and had a major health scare. I’m evolving from someone who cared what everybody thought to one who realizes she can’t please them all. My sense of purpose is growing. And I’m realizing that I still have dreams of my own that are worth pursuing.
All because of you.
Yes, this blog has been an extraordinary experience for me. I still cannot believe that people have been interested in what I’ve had to say over half a million times now. And I’m so very grateful for it. I have made amazing friends in this blogging journey. Wonderful people who have validated my concerns, joys, and even my darkest moments. Tireless advocates who humble me in their devotion to and efforts on behalf of our cause. Self-advocates who inspire me to dream big dreams for my son and all those like him.
Thank you for casting light upon this path, for showing me the surest places to set my feet, and for reaching out to hold my hand. It’s a good thing to know you’re not alone.