It’s our fourteenth wedding anniversary today. It feels good. Really good.
As I mentioned last week, to celebrate, Ben Blair and I climbed a 14er. 14,270 feet in elevation to be exact. I was warned how hard it would be, but I guess I didn’t really believe it, because the difficulty kept surprising me. The higher you get, the harder it is to breath. Headaches begin. Nausea visits. Dizzyness warns. During the last thousand feet of elevation, I had to fight my instinct to lie down and take a little nap on the freezing cold mountain.
Ben Blair, who is in much better shape than I, coached me gently to the top. The hike from beginning to end took us 3 hours and 15 minutes. I can’t remember ever pushing my heart that hard for that long. I found when it was really difficult, if I would just focus on progressing a few feet in front of me, I was fine. And when I needed to stop and rest and let my heart rate try to reach some sort of normal, I was greeted by tremendous views every where I looked.
As luck would have it, at the top, views were completely obstructed by thick fog. But it didn’t matter a bit. The high was still a high. And happily, my iphone had perfect reception (possibly the one spot on earth with good AT&T; coverage) and I could tweet that we had made the summit. Tweet until my fingers were threatening frostbite and we headed back down on rubbery legs.
On our hike (when I still had breath enough to carry on a conversation) Ben Blair and I talked about some of the milestones of our marriage so far. Fourteen years ago we hadn’t even graduated from college. (I laugh when I remember how young we married.) Some of the highlights in no particular order: We graduated from college. We bought a house, then gutted it and refinished it. We moved to Greece. We moved to New York. We moved to Colorado. We went through several job hunts and landed great jobs. Ben Blair finished a masters and doctorate degree. We started several businesses. We closed several businesses. We sold our house. We built a ginormous table. We had 5 children.
It is a wonderful thing to take part in a happy marriage. My relationship with Ben Blair is the very best thing in my life. Period.
On Sunday night, I was wandering through the blogosphere and was reminded of another anniversary — a miraculous one. Sunday was the one-year mark of Stephanie Nielson’s plane crash. To celebrate, Nie and Christian also climbed a mountain — a tougher climb than I could ever hope to attempt. Because they are total rock stars.
I was thinking about last year. About the auctions and fundraising. About seeing the blogging world come together in a mind-blowing way. And I had myself a little daydream. At the BlogHer conference each July, there is a Community Keynote. At the keynote, a group of bloggers gleaned by Eden Kennedy, each reads one of their significant blog posts. It is, without hesitation, the best part of the conference. How wonderful would it be to see Stephanie and her wonderful sister Courtney (who chronicled Stephanie’s journey when Nie couldn’t do it for herself) speak at the next BlogHer Community Keynote?
The conference is far away from their home. And of course, Stepanie can’t fly to New York. In my little daydream, a sponsor provided a retro styled Airstream Camper (wouldn’t that be perfect for Stephanie’s super-hip style?), and the whole family made their way leisurely across the country. Stopping at vintage diners along the way. Shopping for souvenirs. With Stephanie’s fans coming out to meet her, cheer her on, and thank her for living a inspiring life.
Of course, it was only a daydream. I have no idea if Stephanie and Courtney would even be interested. I don’t even know if Nie’s treatment regimen would allow it. (And really, as big as the BlogHer conference is, I know there are still thousands of bloggers out there who aren’t really aware of it — I believe Cjane and Nie fall in that category.) But I think the blogging community would love to hear from them in that sort of setting. To hear in person what it was like to wake up and find out you’d missed a few months of your life. To look in the mirror and see a face you don’t recognize. To find out thousands of people you’ve never met have rallied on your behalf and are hanging on your every word.
Dear Stephanie, congratulations on reaching your significant and magnificent goal. You did it! You climbed the mountain. I tear up just thinking how hard you worked to get there. I think you’re amazing.