Monday, December 22, 2008

She would have known

As I sat down at the computer just now, it occurred to me for apparently no rational reason, that my mother-in-law Marilyn would have known if I was pregnant. Marilyn isn't with us anymore; she died right after Thanksgiving in 1997. But she was one of those people with a really big personality; the mark she left on those around her was pretty intense. More time than I have on this earth would have to pass before I could forget her.

She had one of those crazy radars that seemed to pick up on everything; especially things you want to keep secret. For example, she was impossible to surprise at Christmas. Every year my poor husband would try, and every year she somehow knew what he'd gotten her. One year he got her a bottle of Chanel #5, wrapped the little box, then placed that box in a much larger box filled with several old books for added weight. He tried to let slip hints that he'd gotten her something that would explain the size and weight of the box (I can't remember what he was trying to convince her it was, but he had a plan). Still, she knew exactly what was in there.

I will never forget the first time we saw her after we had slept together for the first time. He wasn't living with her then (he'd moved out at about age 16), but for some reason we'd gone to her house. She instantly knew. She got this huge smile on her face, the one we always knew meant trouble, and she said something to the affect of, "You guys had sex, didn't you!" She wasn't mad, and maybe not even surprised. We'd been dating for over two years at that point and amongst most of the people we knew then, we seemed like long time hold outs in the virginity department. How she knew, I have no idea. Maybe she saw something in her son; maybe she saw it in me. Maybe both. But she had a tendency to know those kinds of things, especially when you didn't want her to.

I think that if she were alive today, we'd have a hard time putting anything past her. If I was pregnant, she'd take one look at me and know. And she wouldn't hesitate to ask, probably in front of other people. And it would be impossible to lie to her; she'd know that too.

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