Friday, March 1, 2013

Being 33

Last April, I heard a news report that a survey found that people over the age of 40 reported that 33 was the happiest age.  Well I’ll be, I thought to myself, that bodes well for me since I just turned 33!  Come on 33, bring it on!  

To be honest though, 33 wasn’t much different from 32 and 34 probably won’t be much different from 333.  It wasn’t the happiest and it wasn’t the saddest.  It was just 33. 
But there was something else about being 33.

In November, I read the Dear Marilyn column in the PARADE magazine.  A reader asked her “at what age are you twice the age of your child?”  Her response was “When the child reaches the age that you were when he or she was born.” 

My mom at 33 and me
So, up until Wednesday, my mom was exactly twice my age and I was exactly half her age.  Because, you see, she was 33 when she had me.
33 was her happiest age. 

Or so I like to think.    

But I could be biased.
My mom at 33 and me at 33 – it’s something that I’ve thought a lot about this year.  This year of 33. 

Going through my baby book, I came across a card that my aunt sent with a cute baby outfit (long-since outgrown, of course).  She wrote “Couldn’t resist it.  It better be a girl!!” 
So much anticipation in those exclamation points.  So much expectation.     

As we now know, it was a girl.  Me.  And I was so not what was expected.* 
At 33, I only just began to understand how hard it really was for my mom. 

At 33, her life’s trajectory took a bit of a left turn.  But at 33, she never wallowed in grief or asked why her or why me.  At 33, my mother was stronger, wiser, braver than I think I’ll ever be. 

She relied on faith and love and a steely determination to make sure we made it through.
The road hasn’t been easy.  There have bumps and hurt feelings and a few staples and scars that don't ever seem to fade.  

But for 33 years, we’ve traveled the road together.  And we made it through. 
Tomorrow, I will turn 34; but today, I’m celebrating 33.   

*I didn’t turn out so bad though, right?! 

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