I turn 45 tomorrow. In our house that’s known as “halfway to 90.”

I share this with you not because I love my birthday (which I do), nor to solicit Happy Birthday wishes (but, thank you!) I share this because today is the day before my 45th birthday; and I often talk about “the day before my mom’s 45th birthday.”

My mom turned 45 on January 25, 1992. Our bus accident was the day before her 45th birthday. She was young. I was young, but she was young too.

My perspective on my mom’s role in my injury and recovery has changed since I became a mother myself. It’s true that we would change places with our children to take away their pain; every mother feels this way. But you don’t fully understand that until you are a parent yourself. What I’ve realized today, is how young my mom was to deal with this tragedy…this tragedy that, in some ways, was harder for her.

I recently found a photo of my mom and I taken a few months before I left for Notre Dame. I took note of the photo, because I am wearing the outfit I was wearing the night of the accident. (You know, the outfit I LOVED that they had to cut off…otherwise, I’m pretty sure I would still have – and wear – it!) It was a picture of my mom when she was 44; I am 44. How fun is that! She looks so much younger at 44 than I do at 44!

I recently received a text from a friend who just finished reading my book. She wrote: I remember meeting your mom (this spring). I feel like I would love to hug her!

I know how she feels! I would love to hug my mom too!

Here’s to my mom on the day before I turn 45!