It’s that time of year again. The beginning of October where burgeoning thoughts about life swirl restlessly in my head. Because it’s my birthday. I’m thirty-three tomorrow.
I like it written out like that: thirty-three. Hyphenated and thoughtful. I put that number on my tongue and start to chew on it. I bite down hard, it’s ridged and spiny. It’s salty and it’s sweet. It tastes like a lot, like a mouthful. Like if I tried to speak with it in there I would embarrass myself.
Drool and cough, sputter and mumble.
The number three has always had this unmistakable power in our house. If Pat and I were to close our eyes and pick a number one through ten, we’d probably choose three. Our address is 3, it costs three dollars for a designer donut, it’s the amount of beers that make me completely drunk, we have made three amazing children, there are three persons in the Trinity. Three feels good, whole, complete, right.
I think I will like thirty-three. It might be a lot, it might be salty, but it’s mine, and I’m owning it. There is much to be grateful in my life. My providing husband who is strong and loving. My three children who are healthy and radiate beauty and joy. My body, although it’s been through a lot this year, it’s tough and mine. My skin shows signs of wear and tear, hardships, pregnancies, too much sugar, sun worshiping, neglect, but it’s mine and I accept it. It’s become more than this coat that I wear. It’s comfortable, it’s been stretched and it is smooth, it is covered with freckles and really long ankle hairs that I always forget to pass over with a razor in the shower, and it’s me, and it’s mine, and I accept it.
Time passes on, sometimes I want to grab the minute hands on the clock and keep them from ticking on. I want to forcibly take the arms and hold them in place. I want to wedge something in there so they stop clicking, just for an hour, or a day. So I can listen to Silas giggle a little longer, so I can dance in the living room with Hudson and Berlyn. So I can memorize the phrases that fall out of their mouths, silly words and alliterations that are laughable and ridiculous. So I can kiss my husband’s bearded face and never come up for air. So I can touch all these things one last time before they get covered in dust and another year passes, and I forget.
I want to live in this moment of 32 going on thirty-three. This moment where I’m on the cusp of change, wind violently whipping through my hair, and my thoughts on fire, as my feet stand close to the edge of something new; another year of this life. This perfect, brilliant life that God has entrusted me with, that is filled with fireworks and joy and sparkling sunshine and it all pours all over me, and then I jump in.
Here’s to thirty-three.
I’m not afraid to grow each year, to get gray hairs or strange pains, or to live.
I am strong. Life has hit me, it has held me, confused me, tamed me, and strength grew out of it.
At the beginning of yoga class, we set an intention for ourselves. What do we hope to get out of the class today? I always think the same thing: release of tension. And when I emerge from the class door, sweaty and tired, I feel softer and lighter. The tension in my body was left in that hot room, and I feel the velvety release.
Last year my intention was to survive, and I did. I made it through a near death experience, I made it through my baby’s near death experience, and I made it through raising a newborn and my two other children, I made it through sleepless nights and unwashed underwear. And I’m on the other side.
Now my intention is to be better. Better as a mother, as a housewife, a writer, a friend, a follower of Jesus.
Let’s do this thirty-three. I’m gonna make you my bitch.