flower arrangement
When my mother-in-law came from Manila, she brought flowers. A week later, the boxes came. I was wrong about everything.

The mother-in-law gives birth to a pollywog who eventually becomes a banker, an addict, a husband, a brother. She will tell the story of her birth, the belly, the bursting, the blood of the ancient warriors in that walled city, coating the streets like monsoon rains. The mother-in-law will prove to you the absolute power of matriarchy.

And if you are thinking that is such a bad thing, the evil mother-in-law who picks and deflates all the happiness out of her child’s lover’s life, think again.

The mother-in-law makes predictions – the sex of your child, the time of the first snow, the reliability of friends. The mother-in-law does not bring flowers every time she comes. Only in times of change.

By the time the baby arrives, she is not the mother-in-law anymore. She is Gin, mother of my husband, a lion, a priestess of the fine art of preparedness. She has painted the baby’s room, dug up the weeds and planted the cosmos and poppies. She has ordered the stars in the sky and the bones in my feet, and pushed them all into perfect readiness for the son of a son of a son of a son.

By the time the baby is walking, he is not the baby anymore. He is David, grandson of Gin, predictor of miracles, just like her.

He starts with the prediction of floods. He has a globe; he is so little, but he spins the globe and puts his tiny finger lightly on its surface. When it stops, he says “Rain. Here. Look.”

The first time, we laugh and squeeze him and give him a sippy cup. We don’t think much about floods in the far away island, where we don’t even know exactly what language they speak.

Grandma Gin sits in front of the Weather Channel for two days, and we worry that she is aging, that she is slowing down. But she is not.



4 Responses to “Predictors”

  1. 1 Tek September 19, 2006 at 11:36 am

    I’m becoming a daily checker,here. nice finding little gems.

  2. 2 Teresa September 21, 2006 at 5:01 pm

    Appreciate it. I like the invisible audience; sort of distant, but the feedback keeps me going.

  1. 1 The mudgoblin’s box « Cuentos Trackback on August 28, 2008 at 12:10 pm
  2. 2 Sleeping storm waking « Cuentos Trackback on November 25, 2008 at 10:56 am

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