If Bernadette Peters Were My Mother-In-Law

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, I would finally break down the barriers in place which currently prevent me from wholly indulging in a mani-pedi.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, I would buy hot rollers. I would never use them, because I would know I could not handle the inevitable comparison to her.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, my backyard would have a clothesline.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, I would make a breathtaking trifle every year at Christmastime, and it would sit, untouched, on the grand oak dining table for days thereafter. The cream would soak through the sponge cake; the fruit would turn brown. The dessert itself, by the time she left, would seem a physical representation of the holiday season: beautiful, volatile, and (now, at the dawn of the New Year) unrecognizable.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, I would answer the landline only to her. She would inquire about her grandchildren, by which she would mean the dogs.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, my kitchen would have barstools, and fancy crystal objects like carafes and champagne flutes, and I would know nothing of plasticware, and my ice would always spring from the tray in perfectly formed cubes that would plop delicately into my sparkling lemonade.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, I would be able to do fifteen push-ups.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, my house would have a guest room, and I would always have some tiny bars of lemon verbena hotel soap.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, I would send all my friends greeting cards for stupid occasions, like the Spring Equinox or Groundhog Day.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, I wouldn’t be able to fathom a wedge sandal in the context of fashion anymore. I would look at a 2004 red carpet and think to myself, What are those funny things on their feet? Are they stilts?

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, my clean sheets would always smell of lavender, and my wallpaper would never begin to peel.

If Bernadette Peters were my mother-in-law, I could quietly mingle about a family event unnoticed (even if that event were on my grandiose patio; even if that event were my own wedding). I could sip a club soda and watch her from across the room, and watch everyone else watch her, too, and note my silent gratitude.

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