It’s high time we give a Mother’s Day salute to Marian Robinson, our First Grandmother, First Mother-in-Law, and South Side Sphinx.

About a year from now, the first books by and about Obama administration insiders will be coming out. I can’t wait to read them, particularly the President’s. But there’s a good chance that another book I look forward to — Marian Robinson’s memoir — won’t be written.

They call him “no drama Obama” with good reason. It seems to be a family trait. Even his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, who has lived in the White House as a member of the family for almost eight years, has uttered few quotable words.

Think about what she must know — that everybody knows she knows but keeps to herself. Think about what she knows — that she’s not supposed to know but also keeps to herself.

Soooo, Mrs. Robinson, what’s the scoop on Valerie Jarrett? Is she lurking behind every door and shower curtain? What about Jill Biden’s insisting on being called Dr.? What do you think of Rahm now? Do you watch Morning Joe or Charlie Rose or Good Morning, America? What do/would you say if you were stuck in an elevator with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Sarah Palin, or one of the Kardashians? Does the hair and makeup stylist come every day? Do you and the girls use her, too? Did you really raise hell with the hotel staff when you were in China? Do you let the girls have parties when the parents are out of town — and if so, how can you stand the music? Where do you buy your clothes (I loved the peach-colored coat you wore at the Second Inaugural)?

How did you feel when Sasha (still only 14) went strapless at the recent State Dinner? Speaking of the granddaughters, isn’t it nice to see girls who smile at us and their parents and don’t expose their tongues to the camera? And what about that recent photo of William and Kate entertaining Barack and Michelle for dinner and the little prince shaking hands in his bathrobe? We may pooh-pooh royalty, but we seem to crave it. Let’s just say they’re four classy people raising classy kids.

Mrs. Robinson lives on the third floor of the White House — her name alone makes me hope she has a few mysterious visitors to the third floor — while the rest of the family lives on the second floor. She is said to come and go as she pleases, without Secret Service protection, which bothers me, given the full-time White House fence-jumpers and the not-what-they’re-cracked-up-to-be White House guards.

Marian did give an interview to People in 2009 in which she declared a viewpoint that I, as a mother and mother-in-law, have not yet mastered: “You try to get your kids not to think in the same way you did when you were coming along because you pass down — I call them ‘your issues’ — you pass down your issues and a lot of times, they don’t apply to their time and their life. They will have their own issues; they don’t need mine in their head.”

And this: “When I’m at their house, the girls are doing all the stuff their mother has told them to do; there’s not much left for me to do! But when they’re at my house, they don’t have to scrape the dishes — and they get to watch TV.”

Now 78, in her early 60s she won two gold medals and two silver medals in sprinting during the Illinois Senior Olympics. Now I “get” Michelle’s athleticism and determination.

More recently, she marched with her family to commemorate one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil Rights Movement. I’m glad they included her. After all, during Selma, she was probably watching TV in Chicago with her toddlers, not knowing one would be the First Lady of the United States.

Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson.

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Mary Kay O'Grady

Mary Kay O'Grady is a former high school English teacher and later owned her own public relations business, The O'Grady Group. She has lived in Oak Park for almost fifteen years. She is currently the chairperson...