We were sitting around the dinner table with our neighbor and friend, Daisy. She's got two little girls, and she was joking about how she'd never be able to mother boys.
My MIL joined in to say that boys and girls are both blessings. She pointed out how lucky she'd been having two girls in addition to her son (and my husband), John.
The conversation then turned towards the difficulty of having multiple children due to rising costs of childcare. Daisy voiced her appreciation for her 2nd daughter, a surprise conception, while my MIL voiced appreciation for her grandkids. She was glad to have had one of each (my neice, Alliya, and my son, Vince).
I knew Daisy was itching to ask me if I ever want a little girl to "balance things out." It's a question that's been posed to me on numerous occasions. "Are you gonna try for a girl?" "When are you gonna make Vincent a big brother?"
I was bracing for it. Daisy's eyes locked onto mine and I tried to steady myself by focusing all my energy into spinning one of Vincent's plastic toys over and over again in my hand.
Luckily, my MIL realized where the conversation was going and threw a lifeline my way once she realized precisely how precarious my position was. She said, "Children are a blessing no matter what. Boy, girl, three, two or one, they're all blessings, right?"
Daisy promptly turned her attention to my MIL to agree.
My MIL then deftly offered Daisy some wine as I ran to "check on the kids."
I was quietly grateful. I knew my MIL realized - with nary a second to spare - that I was about to be exposed in a very uncomfortable, hurtful way. Daisy would never intend to hurt me, mind you; I don't think anyone is really that malicious. These questions just have a tendency to spring forth naturally in conversations between women. I don't take offense to them. I know some folks get upset at others asking such "personal" questions, but I don't think they're personal. I don't think they stem from a person's desire to snoop. I think people who ask those questions are just excited about the prospect of children being brought forth; I can't fault them for that!
I felt such gratitude in that moment, though, because my MIL recognized an unspoken need and immediately moved in to diffuse the situation - to protect me from unnecessary awkwardness. She didn't have to be so thoughtful, but she was.
That never would have happened had I not finally broken down and told her about Myla.
Just an interesting turn of events that again made me appreciative of the family I married into.