In many ways, this blog began on January 2, 2012. It was an extraordinary day for my family, and I wanted to share the story. I had kicked around the idea of starting a blog for several years, but wasn’t sure of my niche. I had previously written a few pieces about our family’s autism journey, but there was no theme.
One year ago today, the theme became clear.
That was the day my son took the ice in front of 47,000 people at the NHL Winter Classic, overcoming numerous challenges to do so. In three years, he went from being unable to tolerate an ice skate on his foot, nor a helmet on his head, to this. All of it propelled by his love of hockey, a sport that provided me my first passion, my highest athletic achievements, and a rewarding career. Most of all, it provided a bond with my son that has led to thousands of hours, and counting, of shared, quality time as a family.
I wanted to tell the story. Of a boy whose love of the sport was so pure, and unique. Of a sister who loved the game before he did. Of a mother who came by her love of hockey largely through her children. Of a father who nearly fainted with pride at watching his son take the ice in front of a sold-out baseball stadium. Of grandparents who braved freezing temperatures — and, ahem, festive Flyers fans — to see it live. Of a family that had one of its greatest moments courtesy of a sport that has been a recurring theme in my life since I first saw a game at age four, and was now rewarding me in ways I could never have imagined: By helping us bridge the gaps that sometimes come with autism and form a stronger bond with our son and as a family. This would be my blog’s niche: a connection, challenged by autism but bolstered by hockey.
Ryan provided the perfect theme for my first post when he wrote his grandfather an email to thank him for sending a congratulatory note after that amazing day. As only he could, he told his grandpa, “I feel like a star,” immediately ending the curiosity we had about whether he had experienced the moment the same way we had.
I hesitated to start a blog because I wasn’t sure I had enough to say. But once I began, that turned out not to be the case. I observed things differently. Some random detail of an everyday occurrence stuck in my mind and became the basis for a post.
It has been an incredibly rewarding experience and my spirits have been lifted by the response. The small but loyal following is beyond my expectations. The comments have warmed my heart, encouraged me, inspired me, and educated me. And I have “met” some amazing people, some with children incredibly similar to Ryan. I’m sorry I waited as long as I did to begin.
As the calendar turns to 2013 and my blog anniversary approaches, I hope to continue down this path. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for sharing.
Happy New Year!