At this time last year I wrote a post about Mike and I going away for the weekend. At the time, I was too shy to say I was going to a blogging conference. This year, I am not. I’m going to BlogHer in Chicago. Mike is going to Chicago, too, although he won’t be going to the conference (he’ll be doing things like going to blues clubs, Cubs games, and rib joints).

I booked my trip to BlogHer way back in February, when my life was very different. Mike was going to stay home with Madeline and Rigby. After Maddie passed away, I knew I should still go to Chicago. It would be a great way to meet so many of the people who’ve supported us during our darkest days. But I knew I’d need Mike there for moral support, so we bought him a plane ticket.

I’m speaking at the conference in the Community Keynote. I’ll be reading a post from my blog, and I’m the last person scheduled. Which means that between my morning sickness and nerves, there is a VERY good chance I could vomit before I go on stage.

The whole weekend is going to be emotional. Mike and I haven’t been in an airport since March, when we took Madeline on her only plane rides. Another sad “first” for us to get through. Going to a city that we both love will be hard. We couldn’t wait to take Maddie there for her first deep dish pizza and to see a game at Wrigley Field.

I am really terrible at names and faces, so if you recognize me this weekend, please come introduce yourself (I’ll be the slightly bloated-looking girl clutching a ragged Abby Cadabby doll). But please, don’t tell me you’re sorry. I know you are. And don’t make the sad clown face. You know the one – where you make the sort of half smile, half frown while you tilt your head off to one side. I really hate that. I like to hug. It’s OK to touch my belly. Please don’t cry.

For the majority of you that are not going to BlogHer, I carry the hope that someday somehow I will meet each of you so that I can thank you, too, in person for all you’ve done for us. I don’t say enough how much all of your cards, comments, and emails help us. I have started to reply to emails, but I’m pretty backlogged. Please know, I still read EVERYTHING. Every comment, every email, every letter. I will be grateful to all of you for the rest of my life.

So for some of you, I’ll see you in Chicago. For the rest of you, I’ll see you here on the internet (my true home away from home).