This morning I got up, grabbed a coffee, and sat myself down at my desk to write this post. Well, it wasn’t this post, I was going to write a different one, but I took a minute to check my inbox before I started, and I had blog mail.

Have I mentioned blog mail? It’s an umbrella term that we use around here for any emails that are about the blog, for the blog or from the blog. A fair bit of it comes every day, and there’s several different kinds. Some I like, some I love, some annoys me, and some is so bad I delete it right away and go for a walk.  Here, paraphrased dramatically, are the usual blog emails I get.

1. Dear Stephanie, I am a freelance writer who’s having trouble getting started, can I write a guest post on your blog to help me get things going? I have no audience, so it would be super awesome if I could borrow yours.

(This is both sweet and ballsy, but it can’t happen. There’s too many of you.)

2. Dear Blogger, we’re a company that provides advertising to amazing bloggers exactly like you, and after looking carefully at your blog we can tell that we are exactly the right company to provide ads for you.

(If you looked at my blog for four seconds, you’d see I have no ads. Have a great day.)

3. Dear Stefanie, I make a great product, and I would like to pay you to feature it on your blog.

(I don’t really “feature” products on my blog, I just sort of… use stuff I like? If you want to try with another blogger you should spell their name right though.)

4. Dear Stephanie, I didn’t want to say this in the comments, but what you’re knitting right now is stupid, ugly, unflattering and you have absolutely no taste.

(Thanks for sharing?)

5. Dear Stephanie, I didn’t want to say this in the comments, but you’ve gained some weight and it doesn’t look good on you/ you would look so much better if you wore a little makeup / I saw your armpit hair in a photo and even though I live a thousand kilometres from you it really upset me / Keep colouring your hair the grey makes you look old/ Please take care of yourself.

(I don’t answer those.)

6. Dear Stephanie, I just finished reading the blog from the beginning to now, and I’d like to thank you for the trip. It was great.

(It was my pleasure.)

7. Dear Stephanie, something you wrote meant something to me, and what I have to say about it is too intimate for the comments.

(You are the whole reason I write.)

8. Dear Stephanie, I have been reading your blog for a while and I really enjoy it. You should write a book! 

(I have never, ever figured out how to answer that one.)

That’s pretty much what blog mail looks like. 6, 7 and 8 are the ones I like best out of all of them, or the were untll this morning, when I got a new favourite kind to put on my list. It was the first thing I read this morning, and it blew me away.  Dramatically paraphrased, it said:

Dear Stephanie,

This morning I made a donation to your Bike Rally fundraising as a way of saying thank you. I know today is your blogiversary, and I’ve been reading your blog for all twelve of those years, and I wanted to find a way to show you that I’m grateful for the time and energy you put into the blog. I don’t have a lot of money, but I did manage $12. That’s one dollar for every year, and I wish it could be more, but it’s at least symbolic, and I think you’d like that.  Love,

The Blog.

I was gobsmacked. I did know today was my blogiversary. That’s what I was going to write about, of course. Like in years gone by, I was going to try once again to explain the magic and transforming effect The Blog (that’s you) has had on my life, and once again I wasn’t going to be able to say anything more than that it’s been an amazing ride, and I love you all. Then I read that, and I wiped any ideas I had from my head, and knew I wanted to say this: Thank you, not for the effect that you have had on my life, but for the effect you have had on the lives of others.

I am a lucky person. I have an education and a great family and I was born in a safe and prosperous place, and have a great deal of good fortune on my side. Without you, my life wouldn’t be anywhere near as amazing as it is, but I wouldn’t be sick, or dead, or hungry.

That isn’t true for the people who use the charities we’ve supported over the years. That $12? That’s just changed someone’s life, maybe saved it. Because all of you have chosen to be The Blog, the world is a better place, with more safe and healthy people in it. Because you have chosen to be The Blog, there are charities who talk about how to thank you, how to show you their gratitude.

I am proud of a lot of things over the last twelve years of blogging. I am proud of the community I’ve tried to build, I’m proud of the attitudes I’ve tried to promote, I’m proud of the body of work that I’ve produced, and I’m really proud that I’ve been doing it for twelve years. Mostly though, I’m proud of you.

Thank you for the last twelve years, and to the person who sent twelve dollars to PWA this morning? Thanks for everything.