On Sunday I turned the big 3-3, fresh off the heels of celebrating Thanksgiving with my side of the family at my parent's house down in Palm Springs where I was truly reminded of all that we have to be grateful for during this special season of life.
Grant and I enjoyed a quick brunch on Sunday at Cetrella after church to celebrate and our discussion quickly turned to, "How does 33 feel?" I always thought it was such a silly question as from one-day-to-the-next, not a whole lot changes despite me swearing I see a dozen new wrinkles appear every time I look in the mirror.
But the reality is, so much did change this year!
I started out 32 preparing for Grace's big open surgery at Stanford - with mounting anxiety stemming from just recovering from the PTSD of my hospitalized bedrest and Emerson's NICU journey just earlier that year. With those sagas behind us, our girls were remarkably healthy, and not just that, we were all thriving! 32 was an adventure in figuring out who I was as a mom, not just as the mom of children who needed special medical attention. Grace was doing great in pre-school and turned 3 in August and Emerson took her first steps and graduated from the Stanford High Risk Clinic in October before turning 2 in November.
The biggest adventure of all was risking everything being thousands of miles from those doctors we clung to so tightly, and taking off for 3 months in Switzerland on what proved to be the greatest adventure of our lifetime! We adventured to Milan, Malta, Barcelona, Legoland and all over Germany, Straousburg France, Austria, and every corner of Switzerland from Interlaken to Gstaad to Davos. I know I am forgetting a dozen+ cities/countries. We shared our passion for adventure with our littles, which is evident by the daily play of the girls packing their bags, making passports out of construction paper, and kissing us good bye because they are "going on an airplane to Switzerland".
Leading up to 32 I grew in confidence in my parenting, above all else, I now was confident that I know what is best for each of my girls (and let me tell you, when they say you have to parent each kid differently, they aren't kidding!) This was especially important as I was traveling around Europe solo with a then 1.5 and 2.5 year olds. As my girls' personalities grow and blossom, I love being there to witness every emotion and moment of curiosity.
Which led me to another big leap this past year: I started my PhD! For years I have wanted to go back to school, but I graduated from my Master's program 10 years ago so I have been struggling with feeling irrelevant. After spending so many hours upon hours researching, reading case studies, and living our medical journeys, I realized what great respect and appetite I had for research, yet my education hadn't provided the adequate means to conduct research how I was hoping to in the future. So I bit the bullet of humility, applied to Pepperdine's PhD. executive program in Global Leadership and Change and was admitted!
The past 3 months have been filled with trips to L.A. where classes are Thursday-Sunday from 8am-9pm (eek!), tons and tons and tons of reading (have I mentioned how much reading! Ah!), and learning to write papers in APA 6th Edition format while utilizing all sorts of new online tools for courses. Fortunately, though, the set-up allows me to be with my girls which is the greatest gift and now gives me something to do at night while Grant is traveling for work.
So 33? Well, I feel like myself again, finally! I am sharing my love for travel with our girls as we spend another few months in Switzerland this Spring/Summer (April-August) while pursuing my passion and being able to show our girls that there is no glass ceiling in education even at my age! In a weird way, it is the first time that I am 110% feeling older... but also, dare I say, wiser?...
(I know, I know, I still have a lot to learn -- but now I am looking forward to it!)