One of the most surprising attributes of my Mother-in-Law, Elaine was her sense of humor. Part of why it surprised me was because before I got married I bought into a lot of the bad press that mothers-in-law get. But mostly why it surprised me was because she was kind-of stealth with her humor.
Here’s the thing, I’m a funny person. Hilarious really. And I love to give people a hard time. You can tell you’ve gotten in good with me if I start joking around with you.
So, you would think I would recognize it when someone else is joking with me, right?
Well, not with Elaine.
She was kind and gracious, yet she was very serious a great deal of the time. I mean, there were always meals to plan and grocery trips to orchestrate and chores she needed us to do around the house. We spent a good deal of time around the kitchen table planning our days together–all very serious and important planning.
So, every once in a while I would try to introduce a little levity into the seriously important planning. I might joke about serving a food my mother-in-law didn’t like, or I’d suggest adding something ridiculous to the grocery list.
Then, without breaking her serious demeanor, Elaine would respond. Her responses sounded like she took me seriously.
I would clarify, “You know I’m just messing with you, right?”
“I know,” she would grin, “I was messing with you back.”
And just like that she would get me every time!
She was so serious, you see. But that was all part of the craft of her stealthy humor. She would play along as if she missed my joke, all the while plotting to turn the joke on me.
They say you can’t kid a kidder. And maybe that’s my problem. I try so hard to be the funny one that I miss other people setting me up!
I miss laughing with Elaine, joking with one another, and sharing the hilarities of life with each other. She defied the stereotypes and became someone with whom I could enjoy spending time.
Maybe you can’t kid a kidder…but that never stopped Elaine from trying, and it turns out, she still has me laughing about it all!