I am reminded of my age and status by my absolute love for the love of Mr. and Mrs. Bates. He is quiet, brooding, loyal and damaged; she is hard-working, eager to please, kind, and damaged as well. Their love is constant, generous, protective, and bruised, yet they carry on together, comitted to finding some joy in this wide world. Besides the obvious disadvantages of the lives of fictional characters in a drama, they live how I would like to live with my husband: glad of his company, proud of my work, and able to afford a fancy dinner once in awhile. I would also like to have a cook prepare all of my meals, but that is besides the point.
I think a younger me would more easily see herself in Mary, tragically flawed by her own relentless fear of what could be if she allowed herself the chance to let go, lost in trying to find her place in the world.
But I have a place in the world. I have a job I love and a husband who loves me. I have Boy One and Boy Two, and despite the great pain they cause me on a regular basis, they are truly blessings who have giving me the role of mother and allowed me to dare to find my own peace in this life. They have taught me that time passes by, that nothing stays the same, and that looking for joy in our moments together is a far superior task to hopelessly over-planning the minutiae of whatever comes next. They live only in the moment, and if I want to be present with them, then I must learn to do so as well.
Though the major tragedies of my lifetime are hopefully in the past, watching those of Mrs. Bates reminds that I have overcome tragedy all the same, and that I am strong, strong and proud of my accomplishments and the life I have built for myself, never forgetting that I have my own brooding Mr. Bates to support me as I stand and hold me if I fall. Mine is just a little taller than hers is.