On our recent road trip, my bmom and I talked nonstop for days. She was in the midst of writing a series of poems about alcohol, and perhaps as a result of this my grandfather's alcoholism, and his wife's habitual response to it, was a thread woven through our conversation.
As my mother talked a picture emerged of a family that was adept at keeping up appearances, employing a strategy of refusing to acknowledge what was really going on, even among themselves. This was a family that "worked things out," but never really resolved anything. They were good at cover ups, experts at hiding what was shameful and soldiering on as if nothing had happened.
When the teenage daughter in this family was finally discovered/acknowledged to be not only pregnant but well along, they knew how to respond to the problem. The family's emergency response system was already in place, and well rehearsed.