Monday, December 31, 2012

Once More Around the Sun

Once more dear readers, we pass the milestone that marks our trip around our "neighborhood star". Those who have been walking this path with me for some time probably noticed that there was no "year end" entry for 2011. I simply declared 2011 "A Year Worth Forgetting" and moved on. Passing this part in our elliptical, celestial trek again, I find that 2012 is "A Year Worthy of Rememberance". I call it "The Year of Answered Prayer".

Nathan finished Middle School and has enterred High School as a fully mainstreamed freshman and is holding his own without an aid. He may not be on the honor role, but he's doing it on his own. His Mom still spends more time with him on a given day than some "homeschoolers" spend with their kids, but together, they're making it happen. Big stuff!!

Nathan is also making "real friends" in school. They come to his parties. They visited us on Halloween. They watch out for him at school and tolerate no crap where he's concerned. They know who they are, but may never understand how I adore them.

We've entered Connor's senior year of high school. Geez, where did it all go. I'm still not ready to say much about that topic. Dad ain't ready! The one consolation is that I really like who he's becoming. He's my kid, but he's also growing into a dear friend and confidant. My friends are beginning to experience him on an adult level. It's rewarding to watch.

I've watched Connor's culinary abilities EXPLODE in 2012. He went from being a kid who was handy in the kitchen to a full-bore foodie in only a few months. His work in the kitchen

Amanda continues to set the standard for what can be accomplished with a highly functioning Autistic kid the child's needs are made paramount.

Amanda and I celebrated 20 years in 2012. I love her in ways I never knew I could love anyone. Asking her to marry me remains one of the few things I've gotten fully right. We laughed way more than we cried in 2011. Keeping the wheels on with all our challenges isn't easy. We continue to grow as individuals through it and grow together as husband and wife.

My father was diagnosed with and successfully treated for Prostate Cancer. He is now cancer free.

All of the "old folks" are still with us. I celebrated Christmas with both of my grandfathers. Both are well into their 80's, healthy, and clear minded. Amanda's mother's health remains brittle, but she lives on her own, is clear headed, and a constant source of entertainment and humor.

I performed on foriegn soil for the first time in 2012. Doing so was the fulfillment of a dream. Having my best friend holding down the groove with me made it an absolutely surreal experience. I grew some new friends in the process. I use the term friend very carefully. These folks earned it. Should I return to Wales, it will be with my best friends and several new members of my "inner circle".

2012 was a crazy, busy year at work. I learned much, and grew in my abilities to serve my employer. I had a lot of fun with my boss and coworkers in the process. I do love those folks.

I got my faith in second chances renewed this year. I'm reaping the benefit of what happens when people honestly reset and give others another shot. When both "sides" commit and truly give the other another shot, it's a beautiful thing.

Readership in the blog grew in 2012. I was made aware that a young, amazing autistic lady was inspired to blog her experiences after reading mine. I'm humbled beyond words. With the growth in readership, my commitment as grown even greater to providing an unvarnished view into my experience as "a special child raising a special child". This is my "message in the bottle". I'll keep throwing it on the waves of the web hoping it brings some knowledge, encouragement, solace, or peace to those who read it.

I have a small gift to offer any reader who wishes to have it. It should prove particularly enticing for those who have recently started reading. I can provide the entire blog in ebook form (PDF format). In this form it reads chronologically and includes all comments left by readers. Most comments come from people who actually know me face-to-face. I think they add value to the story. I've been told that when read this way, there are interesting, unintended subtexts and would love to hear input from others on this.

I ask nothing in return, and will provide the PDF book free of charge. Simply email me at to receive a copy. Your Email address will not be sold, added to a database, or used for anything other than to send you the ebook. If willing, please include your city. This is for my curiosity alone, but is certainly not manditory. There are no hidden catches, no fine print to read. It's just a small show of appreciation to those who walk this journey with me.

It is my sincere hope that 2013 brings you all much happiness, love, and peace.


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