I wonder how many “eye rolls” a mother receives from her child[ren] during her lifetime. My mom is eighty-one, and she can still provoke a heavenward roll of my eyes. Why should I be surprised when I catch my grown children having an ocular revolution as a sign of disapproval or exasperation for something I’ve said or done?
I don’t remember at what age my children began sighing, shrugging their shoulders, and baring their teeth at me.
“My role in life is to embarrass you,” I would declare to them with a relaxed smile.
* * * * *
(Image from “Peanuts” by Charles Schulz)
My twenty-four-year old son and I have a new tradition of meeting for breakfast a couple of times during the week. There is a locally owned breakfast spot we have dubbed, “our place,” but one recent morning, we decide to try the breakfast fare at a nationally-recognized restaurant known for its omelets, massive muffins, and pancakes.
When we arrive at the restaurant, the hostess shows us to a booth and gives us laminated, grease-smudged menus. K starts perusing the multiple pages of choices. I prop my elbows on the table and smile to myself while gazing at his handsome face. His new beard suits him. He looks tired. I wonder how late he stayed up the previous evening.
“Mama, decide what you want,” he implores. “I’m hungry.”
I sin by asking: “What time did you get in bed? You look tired.”
“Mama, I’m fine. I’m fine,” he says. “Good grief.”
The eyes roll.
I divert my attention to the menu. The “make your own omelet” looks enticing, as do the potato pancakes, but I haven’t had french toast in ages. I flip over a couple of pages, and I almost flip out.
“Oh, look. Their old people menu is for the fifty-five plus crowd,” I squeal.
This is a rite of passage for me, sort of like turning twenty-one and ordering my first adult beverage.
A fledgling waiter, followed by a geriatric waitress, approaches our table.
“Don’t say anything,” says K. “You will embarrass him.”
I am not an obedient mother.
“I promise I am fifty-six,” I announce as I order my cheap omelet.
The eyes roll.
* * * * *
The childish things never given up—a roll of the eye or a heaving sigh—are softening my transition into the fifty-five plus club. The easy banter I enjoy with my children serves as a buffer for my heart as they continue to grow away (or get away) from me.
I just have to roll with it.