What I Learned at BlogHer.

I decided to attend my third BlogHer at the last minute to go to one event: The Voices of the Year Reception.  Even though I wasn’t chosen as a speaker (thank goodness because my nerves couldn’t have handled it), being an Honoree was so exciting, and I had promised myself last year that if I were ever chosen, I wouldn’t miss it.

The reason why I made that promise is that last year it was absolutely magical.  Curated by Kirtsy, there were about a dozen amazingly creative events and opportunities going on at once.  But the one that stood out was how they chose to memorialize the Voices of the Year honorees: they had commissioned works of art to be created for each individual blog post (over 80 pieces).  They were all displayed in art gallery format, portraying our love of blogging in a different and fabulous way.

What was even more special to me personally is that all of the artwork was auctioned off to help my state and it’s neighbors recover from the BP Oil Spill.

I remember mourning for my fellow Alabama blogger, Country-Fried Mama, who had been chosen as an honoree but couldn’t attend at the last minute due to medical reasons.  The moment was so amazing, the artwork portraying her post so touching – it was a tragedy for her to miss it.

…Which is what made my final decision to attend this year.

This year’s Voices of the Year reception was to be curated by a different organization, and the only description of the event on the BlogHer site was one sentence that started with “There’s no way we’ll be able to top last year’s event, but…”

So I tried to downplay my expectations.  It’s probably a good assumption that there won’t be personally commissioned artwork depicting our blog posts.

But even before the reception arrived, I had an awesome day at BlogHer.  I learned a lot, I got many wheels spinning in my head with regards to my blog, and I got to hang out with my awesome blogging friends Rhoda, Lisa, Heather, Angela, and Kate.  I really enjoyed myself, despite my last minute planning.

But I was really waiting with anticipation for Friday night.

The Voices of the Year posts that were read at the Keynote were moving as always.  I laughed, I cried, I laughed, and I cried again.  They were fabulous, and the experience was one I’ll always remember.

As it ended, they announced the reception, which is where all of the rest of the Voices of the Year were honored last year.

However, this year, there was good food, but there was no artwork, and not even a single mention that there were any other Voices of the Year honorees besides the readers.

Nada.

The fact that I had traveled 2,000 miles to not be mentioned made me giggle.  To signify the momentous occasion, my friend and fellow honoree Kate and I quickly snapped a photo with the backdrop – at least we’d have that.

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I could have been disappointed, but I really wasn’t – at all.

If I hadn’t chosen to come,

…Chris and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to fly alone together for the first time in our ten years of marriage, which was unbelievably fun and romantic.

…We wouldn’t have gotten to have a magical date on Saturday, biking on Coronado, walking the Gaslight district, and in general reconnecting after a hectic year of having a new baby.

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…We wouldn’t have gotten to see San Diego from this vantage point:

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…Or this one:

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…Or this one:

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…and Chris wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have what he definitively awarded as the best run of his life, 12 miles down the beaches and around the city of San Diego.

The truth is:

The reward of blogging is not awards or recognition.

The reward of blogging is the opportunities and perspectives that it gives me and my family.

…We do things we wouldn’t otherwise ever do, like take a last minute trip to San Diego, or perhaps make a bouquet of meat flowers.

…My kids have a carefully and thoroughly documented journal of their life – they will get to enjoy reading and re-reading every crazy, kooky, and hilarious thing they ever did, at least until their jaded adolescent years when they will roll their eyes at the mention of the word “blog”.

…It allows Chris’ Aunt Kitty and Uncle Leo, who are basically another set of grandparents for our kids, to be a part of our everyday life even though they live four hours away.

…It has taught me how to appreciate the mundane, and even the nasty, awkward, smelly, disgusting, and revolting parts of life.

There. Pep talk done. That feels better. And with renewed humility, I’ve already registered for BlogHer 2012.