When she asks me – her own challenging girl on her mind in years to come – I want to be able to tell her the exact day that it happened. Even down to the moment in time, I will remember, it was shortly after the blaring began deep within the building around 3:48 on December 3, 2013. Undeniably so, that was the moment I became my mother.
She shouldn’t have kept me waiting that long – taking in the sights of all that I’ve come to now understand is the unarguably scariest place on earth. A high school parking lot during dismissal has every parents’ worst fears rolled into one locale – it’s creeping up from the depths of the stomach terrifying. What seems to basically be adults emerge from the school with that bell – some I recognize with awkward features much different than when those features occupied ten year old bodies I knew before. Cars slam on their brakes within inches of hitting each other; cars filled with kids drive off and leave their friends who run through the parking lot almost playing a game of cat and mouse- only one party with a deadly weapon; they jump on the backs of cars and pounce making the trunk go up and down; an angry boyfriend storms through with a girlfriend in pursuit – dropping the f- bomb while I gasp at what could be the problem; their sullen faces look straight ahead rather than allowing drivers to merge and I think maybe I should wait. I yearn for a channel of light to hover over me and transport me out while everything ceases motion.
I watch all of this in astonishment and can’t help but tell my daughter to be careful in the parking lot and watch where she’s going because nobody seems to look where they are going. Before I know it I’m my mother. The same cautions and panic echoed in my ears but now I’m the speaker.
The conversation proceeded with the words and phrases of ‘credit card, driving, I need a car in two years, face it mom I’m in college in less than four years, and boyfriend’ before I couldn’t hear it anymore.
“Mom, are you gonna cry?” she asked.
“No, actually I think I’m just going to throw up.”
“How old are you mom – how can you not get this?”
“37, 38, I don’t even know,” I mutter- trying to figure out how old I am in my head while focusing on the glorious destination of point B when this entire conversation will be over but regardless feel ten years more than any number I settle on.
“Ew, that means you’re almost 40!”
Yes- December 3, 2013 at 3:48. I became my mother the same moment my daughter became me.