The Family Grapevine

Why is it that I’m always the last person in the family to find out  just about everything?  The day before my son and daughter-in-law’s anniversary (which they now share with Prince William and Princess Kate) they found out that the baby boy they were expecting is going to be a girl.  It’s really great news because B. and his wife already have a son.

Word got around fast. By seven that evening everyone in the family knew.   Everyone, that is, except me.

I found out later that night during a conversation with my twenty-three year-old daughter, K., who lives back east. She was just getting off work when I called.

“Did you talk to B. today?”

“No,” I said. “Should I have?”

She feigned disinterest. “I don’t know.”

“Did you talk to him? What did he say?”

A shred of mystery crept into her voice. “I can’t tell  you.”

“Oh, for pity’s sake. Just tell me what he said!”

“If I tell you, you have to promise not to say I told you.”

I was more than impatient, but decided not to make her spill. “I’ll take a guess,” I said. “The baby’s a girl.

She sounded like a rocket going over the moon. “Yea!  I knew it was going to be a girl.”

For a moment I did a happy dance and let out a few squeals.

But then K. had second thoughts. “When you talk to B., you didn’t hear this from me.”

I promised utter secrecy.

“How about Dad? Did you talk to him?” my daughter asked.

Of course I had spoken to my husband, but he hadn’t said a thing about a baby girl. “Should I have spoken with him? I asked.

Just then I got another call. I hung up with K. “Hey, B. What’s new?”

B. is easy going, far from fever pitch. “So now they think it’s a girl,” he said.

I thought about the cute “onesie” I just sent in the mail. It said “Little Brother” in blue letters across the front.  “I just found out,” I answered.

“Didn’t Dad tell you? I talked to him this morning.”

“Nope.” And that was the truth.  Even though we both work at home and see each other all day long, my husband never told me our son’s second-born was to be a girl.

Just then my husband walked through the front door. “Did you talk to B. today?” I asked.

|”Yeah, we talked earlier this morning, about his new job and other stuff.”

I was incredulous. “Did he tell you they might be having a girl now?”

B. interrupted, “You guys never talk to each other, do you?”

My husband’s eyes widened. “Oh, yeah,” he said.  “The doctor thinks it’s a girl.”

B. kept talking. “Mom, how’d you find out?”

“I found out from K.  She asked me if I had talked to you today and I guessed what it was about. She made me promise not to tell you.”

B. laughed, “Man, is she in trouble.  But Dad knew this morning.”

B. and I said good-bye and I got back to my writing. My husband visited the refrigerator. “How come you didn’t tell me it’s a girl?”

“You were busy,” he said.

Right. Like my computer will spontaneously combust if he interrupts my work. (Well, it has been known to happen.) During my walk the next day, I phoned D., our older son, “Did you hear from B.? ” I asked. The baby’s…”

“A girl! Didn’t I say it was going to be girl?”

D. went on about his premonition, rubbing it in.

Now I really felt out of the loop.  Finally I called my oldest daughter  in LA. She didn’t answer. In fact, I didn’t hear back for a few days.  When my phone rang I was anxious to break the news. “Have you heard about…”

“It’s a girl!” she says, and I can see her smiling a thousand miles away.

I have gotten over being the last to know. If fact, I’m proud that my family functions without me. But B. had said only that it might be a girl.  So on labor day I’m going to be as close to that delivery room as humanly possible. And I’m bringing my cell phone.  FFG

Read “My Secret Obsession,” Jenny Kung’s latest Chinese Boat Wisdom, only at

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