Highlights from Three Years of Blogging

Ryan, Dad and N.J. Devil
Thanks for sharing this journey with us. That includes you, N.J.

I didn’t realize until I hit “publish” on my Monday post that it was a milestone of sorts — the 400th post on this blog, coming just a few days before the third anniversary of my first one.

I contemplated starting a blog for several years before I actually did so. I had received positive feedback to a few things I’d written about our family’s journey with autism, but I wasn’t sure I had enough to say, and I didn’t want to start, and then quickly abandon, a blog.

But I had a story I wanted to share, about a day that was so incredible that I wanted to record my thoughts about it for posterity. So I revisited the idea of a blog. I made a list of possible post topics, mostly about memorable moments and days. I had at least a dozen. It felt like enough, and I knew others would come along.

So that story I wanted to share became a post called “Grandpa, I Feel Like a Star,” and I was off.

A lot has happened in three years. Neither Ryan nor our feelings about autism are remotely similar to what they were then. That is probably expected, but along the way a lot of unexpected things have happened, most of which I would never have anticipated.

If you told me on the day I published that first post that a picture of Ryan from that day was going to end up in the pages of Sports Illustrated, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Likewise, I never would have imagined exchanging phone calls with a Pulitzer Prize-winner, and having him feature Ryan on his site. (I made sure to save the tweet where he told me, “you have a way with words.”)

I would not have believed that thousands of people would read my thoughts on the latest Autism Speaks controversy, and leave such measured, thoughtful comments that it caused me to re-examine my stance on some of the issues.

When I wrote an open letter to the San Jose Sharks one year, asking them if they might, you know, go ahead and make the playoffs to lessen Ryan’s anxiety, I never would have guessed that it would be read in the front office of the team and lead to not one, but two meetings between Ryan and his favorite hockey player. The best part of those days, of course, was that Ryan was completely at ease among his heroes in a way that often eludes him among peers, and when I wrote about it, that is what I wanted to convey.

If you told me in 2012 that in eighth grade Ryan would, unprompted, write an essay about autism and volunteer to read it to his class, I would have cried, and then I would have said “no way.” But in 2014, in happened, and the response to my post about it was overwhelming, and allowed me to tell Ryan that his words had a positive impact on people well beyond his classroom.

It’s been an interesting three years, and I thank all of you for sharing it with me. I have curtailed my writing some, so I don’t know how many posts the next three years will bring. I thank you in advance for reading, liking, commenting and sharing.

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