Sunday, March 13, 2016

My nonexistent poker face

Last time I talked about The Look, which has its place, as every mom knows. Sometimes being able to not react is an even greater gift when you’re raising your kids and significant other. Come on, you know part of your time is spent training the other ‘adult’.

It’s too easy for anyone to know what I’m thinking because I often react before I can stop myself from rolling my eyes or furrowing my unibrow. Spouse can tell immediately if something’s up, and yet he still crosses the I-can’t-believe-you-just-did-that line. This could be because he sees the signs early enough to run for his life.

It seems I passed this inability down to my children. During her middle school years First Born tried to slip one by me on at least a few occasions. I could usually read her like a paperback on a 50-cent sale rack because she, like me, could only avert her eyes for so long.

Second Born, on the other hand, couldn’t be bothered with the sneaky stuff. She has always been pretty straightforward even if she’s pretty sure I won’t be thrilled. It’s a good thing because being expressionless is not her strength.

Spouse’s best poker face is in place when we’re playing games like cards or checkers, but there is a method to his madness. He really likes to win. His little grin is beyond obnoxious when he does manage to run my score into the ground, though he has gotten more gracious about winning at shuffleboard.  It could be because we only play it when we are at a local watering hole and he figures if he gets carried away with winning he might be losing out on another beer. Leverage keeps me from complete defeat.

The other thing moms should have the advantage of is being able to keep a secret. Don’t get me wrong, I can keep a secret just fine - unless they are of the guess-what-we’re-going-to-do variety. Yes, I am a failure at hiding my excitement.

Recently I purchased concert tickets for a country artist Second Born and I are fans of. The concert isn’t until August and I had vowed to zip my lip until May when she would be home from college. Why tell her about an event that’s so far away, right? I lasted almost a week.

More than once First Born and The Groom (mostly back when he was The Boy) have delighted in making me crazy when they are on their way to visit. She would call or text and tell me they left much later than planned from home and to not expect us for a while, then they would pop up at our door a couple of hours before we originally expected them. I am always ecstatic, even the time I was still in my pajamas running the vacuum through the house.

You would think I’d catch on after a while. First Born has been doing this since she was in college, calling to say she just left school (two hours away) and pulling into the driveway ten minutes later. I’d hug the stuffing out of her while half-rebuking her for fooling me. I’m pretty sure she acquired this talent for trickery from her father.

Spouse is quite proficient at keeping secrets. So far he has only used this power for good… that I know of. It does make for some fun birthday or Christmas presents.

Maybe it’s the kid in me that can’t help but burst with happy or exciting news. It could be that same kid that neglects to temper my reaction to things and keep a poker face. But if I were you I’d stand back. Even if I am able to keep these things in check, the arm-flailing Italian in me will give it away.

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