I can’t remember exactly when or how it happened, but I remember that I discovered Hopeful Parents at a time I really needed it, at a time I felt desperate to read about hope and to discover the community of parents here. I am not the most hopeful of types all the time, particularly when it comes to autism and raising my children, so I never expected I’d be ready, as I am now, to contribute my own posts. But what I have discovered about being a hopeful parent is that there really is no other choice for me -- it’s fake it till I make it or I haven’t got a chance. I started blogging at the same time our family - the Rooster Clan, as I like to call us - began our journey with autism, about four and a half years ago I guess. In those days, words were my only tool. I used them to question, to wonder, to learn, to search, to connect, to beg and thank and vent. Sometimes I posted three times in a single day, and I rarely skipped a day. Like many bloggers I know, as I became more grounded in my journey, as my eyes adjusted and the darkness abated, as my sense of community solidified, my blogging decreased. Lately I feel as though I have entered a new phase of parenting both my kids. I would not use the word easier, necessarily. My son, the Rooster, continues to encounter obstacles navigating the second grade and life on the spectrum. My daughter, Peaches, continues to remind me that typical children have obstacle courses filled with hurdles too, even in kindergarten. And I am showing significant wear and tear from the cumulative stresses of the last eight years, to be sure. But I am also a little more at ease with my identity as a parent, and the way I notice this, notice this next phase is that I find myself sometimes serving as a resource to parents who remind me of my husband and myself back in the day. When I see a parent e our circle with a special needs child ask for anything that I might be able to give them -- a phone number, a strategy, a hug, acceptance, a connection, a smile -- that is when I truly want to be a hopeful parent. I want to give them hope to face the dark and the light, to recognize goodness, to prepare for joy, to know that if we are making it, they will make it, too. I want them to know that my truths might not be there truths, that there is no one autism, that they can trust themselves and believe in the kid they love. With that spirit, I am excited to publish my first post here, and I look forward to my journey with Hopeful Parents.