Good Grief!

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.

9 Thoughts.

  1. Lisa I am just getting around to reading the posts you’ve written and am sorry I didn’t get to them sooner. This one I just read about an outing with your son made me both smile and tear up at the same time. A mother’s relationship with her son is very different from the relationship he has with his dad. I love the way sons help and “coach” their moms with a kind of patience that dad doesn’t receive. Love ya and keep them coming.

  2. All I can say is that rolling my eyes as my mother walks out of the room is extremely therapeutic. It just plain ol’ helps. Fabulous writing, Lisa.

    • Jennifer, I just love you, too. I love to make others laugh. It is a balm for a mother’s tender heart, especially as she watches her children make their get-away. You, the theologian, probably know what Karl Barth said,(yes, this country girl reads Barth!): “Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God.”
      I think that shall be my epitaph. 🙂

  3. Ha! I love this peek at your relationship with your son. One of my daughters is embarrassed nearly every day by something I do, while I can’t seem to embarrass my other daughter no matter how hard I try! Anyway, it’s good to know, thanks to your glimpse “down the road,” that while lots of things change, some things (like eye rolling) never do.

    • Thank you, Kristin. Yes, some things never change and I believe the “good” things provide a sense of security in every phase of life for moms and their kids. When those eyes roll, I am reminded that I will always be their mom. And they know they can be silly kids with me—even though they are making their own way in the world. Being a mom is better than ever for me!

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