8 Days 'Til 40 (Becoming My Mother)

I'm writing this post while waiting for my daughter Masana to return home from a friend's house. This is a new experience for me, this whole waiting-on-the-couch-until-one-of-my-children-walks-through-the-front-door-at-night thing. I'm tired and ready to sleep, yet ever so mindful of the ticking minutes until the time she promised to be home has arrived.

How did I become my mother so quickly?

When I began documenting the 40 days before my 40th birthday, I knew it was possible to make a few superficial comparisons between my own Mom and me. She was thirty two years old when she had me, her youngest child. I was thirty two when I had my youngest child, Mack. She was a great cook and pretty darn crafty. I aspire to be a decent cook and have appropriated the word crafty.

There could even be a few sports references. In 1979, the year my Mom turned 40, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl and Don Mattingly was drafted by the New York Yankees. I turn 40 this year, and do you know what happened so far? Though they lost to the Green Bay Packers, the Steelers made it to the Super Bowl, and Donnie Baseball made his debut as the manager of the L.A. Dodgers. Coincidence? I think not.

Let's not forget literary comparisons. In 1979, Joan Didion's The White Album was published by Simon & Schuster. Later this year, Knopf will publish Blue Nights, her follow up to The Year of Magical Thinking.

And what about pop culture? In 1979, Aerosmith was all but dead. Steven Tyler was heavily into drugs and Joe Perry started another band that year. And in 2011, much to Joe Perry's dismay, Steven Tyler became a judge on American Idol. But Aerosmith is still very much alive.

Okay, I think that I need to stop with the comparisons. An unquiet mind can sometimes go overboard with themes.

It's only few minutes past the agreed upon time and while I am not quite worried I do wonder if she is having any difficulty getting home. Should I call her friend's house and see if I should pick her up? Or do I wait a bit longer and see if her ride pans out? I begin to let old memories seep in, like the time I was 8 or 9 years old and hanging out at my neighbor's house. I, uh, forgot to let my Mom know where I was. She became hysterical when she couldn't find me in the house or the yard, and nearly yanked my arm out of the socket when she found me playing dolls with Chrissy Pye by the light of the dusk hour in her backyard. Why didn't I let my Mom know where I was? And will my own daughter have the common sense to call me if she's running late?

5 minutes later...

Masana walked through the door and I tried to act nonchalant. Who, me worry? Nah. But God help the girl if she forgets to call me when running a little late or doesn't let me know where she is at all times. And if she makes me lose my mind any more than I have, ooooh, I'll yank that arm so hard...

I've become my mother. And I guess that comes with turning 40. Oh, boy.