Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On an Entirely Different Note, the Teenager

Yes, the Matron is now living with Helen Keller-Ramona Quimby-Marta von Trapp-Annie. It is a dizzying expanse of psychological terrain. May you never have to tuck this cocktail into bed at night.

And on that other note.

Instead of a traditional birthday party, Scarlett was prone to pack food for at Feed My Starving Children. Let the Matron amend that she would volunteer at this fine organization again in a heartbeat. They were competent and goal-driven. A group of 70 volunteers packed over 9,000 meals in just 50 minutes. By 2010, the organization will be up to 100 million meals distributed throughout the planet. Wow.

Everyone had a terrific experience, even while wearing hair nets. The Matron has never ever before had a good experience involving a hair net, as she does not look so good in hair nets; she has other assets (even if they're padded and fake and are purchased at Target).

Regular readers know that the Matron and her family are card-carrying Buddhists and are also not adverse to celebrating and respecting other traditions. So when there was an optional Christian Prayer to Jesus at the end of packing food, the Matron was nearly the original Madonna, all full of giving spirit was she. But she stayed put and didn't merge toward the prayer, as did her brood, not wanted to pretend to be of a faith and following they weren't.

Except for Stryker.

He whispered in the Matronly ear: "Hey! I'm going to go and do the prayer thing but only I'm going to stand up and hoot 'JIHAD' at the end, sorta like 'GO TEAM!'"

And with that, he bolted into the pack and the prayer room.

Leaving the Matron to nervously sweat out the next ten minutes. Lordy, that was a long prayer they had. The Matron kept thinking that if only he hadn't said 'hoot' she might not believe him. But he was a hooter! Heaven help her.

She rapdily became a Christian, Muslim, Jew, and Oprahite, praying to anyone.

And when those giving thanks to Jesus filtered out, prayer completed? The Matron was limp with relief to notice that nobody looked outraged or tried to shove her the door. Nothing. They were all serenity, contentment and grace, deserved.


He came up to his mama, all glint and grin.

"Mom. I can't tell you how much fun I'm going to have messing with you the next five years."

Stryker, you better invest in cardiac paddles. Between you and your sister, she might not make it.

She wishes she made this stuff up!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Even Stage Mother is Reeling

Reader, you lucky thing, you!

Because the Matron is composing this in the HEAT of the moment, as the action unfolds. Yes! She's waiting with a bevy of mostly mothers while 63 girls jiggle, shake and sing at callbacks for Annie.


Even though this is community theatre, the tension is as high as The Children's Theatre because, this is ANNIE. Every little girl's dream role, including Scarlett's, who has already staged this as her first-ever backyard show.

But the thing that bothered the Matron first?

She is tired of this:

"Oh of course, Scarlett got a callback. She has just the right shape of face for Annie and is a good singer. My little (fill in the blank) has big feet and a funny nose. She spits when she sings so she'll never get in."

"My little Emma isn't as confident as Scarlett. She takes a lot of work to get ready."

"I could never let Rachel audition. She's too slow in school."

"Laura's dancing is weak. But she just won't take lessons!"

Ladies: even if your daughters have bona fide genuine flaws (as we all do) why are you sharing these real or imagined shortcomings in public with complete strangers? Give your child some D.I.G.N.I.T.Y. (this from someone who blogs about hers but there's hypocrisy for you)

Here's the second thing that bothered the Matron. Ted Kennedy just died. The nation is in an uproar over health care. That war in Afghanistan? Eight years and renewing for another season. Michelle Obama! Hello!? Can we talk about the rip-roaring rock-star First Lady for awhile or even the ding dong First Dog?

To her right, there is a group of mamas who have spent the past TWO HOURS talking nonstop about their children.

If Merrick is at a friend's house and the parent calls to recount how her son has been spending his moments? How he flung that fake knife and frolicked in the fields? SHE DOES NOT CARE. Please please do not give her the blow by blow.

Is he bleeding? Limb need amputating? Okay, then. It's fine.

Tick tock -- those would be minutes the Matron was just now NOT blogging because. . .
OMIGOD she spent the past 20 minutes listening to someone talk about HER DAUGHTER'S SHOWS. Can she die now?

Head explosion. Don't these people read books! Bring one!! Enjoy!


Audition Update: the night started out with 63 girls for the callback, weaned from 140 at the initial event. Two and a half hours they are down to about a dozen possible Annie's.

Leaving their PARENTS outside to talk to the Matron!! AAAARGH.

Speculation about casting, size, hair tone and shape of eyebrow, bent of knee -- these things do not interest her!

Oh no: over-involved parents are descending. She must sign off lest someone uncover the blog and start throwing darts at the next audition. It is a small theatre world and she knows some of these people by name and child! Intimately.



At 9:30 as the Matron and her daughter were walking through the door after the three and a half hour callback?

Ring ring ring goes the phone.

Scarlett is Annie!

The Matron will now have a cocktail and a pill.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Actual Conversation

This takes place within the Matronly minivan and it is not, unfortunately, atypical. In fact, it is standard operation. The entire family is driving to Grandma’s house for dinner.

Stryker: “Can I bring in my iPod this time?”

Matron: “Sorry! Same rules apply. There will be direct actual eye to eye communication.”

Merrick: “Why did Gwanpa die?”

Stryker: “Grandma has cable though, right?”

Matron: “Yup, she does. Merrick, it is still super sad about Grandpa, I know. He was so old that his body just stopped working.”

Scarlett: “I thought he had cancer, Mom. That’s not a very good explanation.”

Merrick: “Whewe is Gwanpa wight now? Can we see him?”

Matron: “Well, cancer is complicated and he stopped treatments because he was 84; I think the body giving out thing works. Merrick – you can’t see Grandpa because his body is buried in the ground. But if you love someone, you can carry that person with you in your heart.”

Stryker: “Will there be Polish sausage?”

Scarlett: “Why is it illegal to plug two monitors into a computer?”

Stryker: “You’re an idiot, Scarlett!”

Merrick: “But what happens to Gwanpa when he’s in the gwound? I don’t feel anybody in my tummy.”

Matron: “No, that’s not illegal. Yes, there will be Polish sausage. Please don’t call your sister an idiot, ever again. Grandpa’s spirit leaves his body so the body is like skin a snake sheds. It’s really not important and it just decomposes. You wouldn’t actually FEEL a person in your tummy, but remember them with your mind.”

Scarlett: “What about Buddha, Mom? I thought we were Buddhists.”

Matron: “And?”

Merrick: “Wemembew how we killed Thuwston?”

Stryker: “Why does Grandma have a TV In the bathroom?”

Matron: “Because she likes to take a bath and watch TV, I think. Thurston was already dying and in pain, Merrick. We didn’t really KILL him. We helped nature along.

Scarlett: “Mom, is it too late to call Tessa to see if she can come with us to Grandma’s?”

Stryker: “But if the TV falls into the bathtub won’t you get electrocuted?

Merrick: “Is Thuwston with Buddha and Gwandpa?”

Matron: “Yes – I believe so. Thurston, Grandpa and Buddha are altogether, you will die if the TV falls in the tub (I think) and it’s definitely too late to call Tessa”

Stryker: “Can I buy a new video game when we get home?”

Scarlett: “Oh, and Mom! Why isn’t Julie Andrews in MORE movies these days!”

At which point the Matron’s head was about to explode so she turns to her husband – who is driving, without the radio or any visible headset covering his ears or brain -- and says: “You can jump in here any time!”

John: “What? Are we talking?"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday, Meditation

It's been a couple of years since the Matron wept every time she listened to the news. But this week's horrors -- and you know where that link takes you before you even click--have found the Matron hollow with grief and rage.

The last time she was so stricken had a similar feel: the Austrian man who imprisoned his daughter for 24 years.

Wait! Does she detect a theme here? When was the last time a WOMAN snatched a boy to keep as a sexual slave for the rest of his life?! Yes, each man had his female accomplice, helping evil along. But the main player? The Matron is betting her money that it was the man, both cases.

But she digresses (and could not help herself).

Today, the Matron grew weary of being sucked into the vortex of the great evil that humans render to one another. She recently read Elie Wiesel's Night. Her current purse book is Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Everyday, children are brutalized at the hands of those who claim to love them. Night, indeed. Humanity is capable of incredible darkness. Jaycee Dugard, a victim to the night.

But after carrying horror all week, the Matron experienced a breakthrough. Every time fear or the memory of evil crept toward her--especially in the form of reading about evil's latest incarnation, Phillip Garrido -- the Matron imagined herself holding out a hand: stop!

She will not entertain evil any more. She understands and appreciates the magnitude of its existence. But she is choosing not to invite evil into her psyche, to allow it take up space so she can peer and mutter, admire evil's success and its current prominence.

Indeed, that very magnitude requires her to fight evil by taking another stance -- creates a moral imperative to replace evil with grace. This battle begins in one's own mind. To read more about this broken child feels not only voyeuristic, but an opportunity lost to place one's focus on nurturing love's great light.

Love's great light. Love's great light.

Just saying those words gives her a sweet dizzying chill. This is the direction she is walking.

Instead of the horror, here is hope. Love's great light can be found in Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews, the story of a group of Albanian Muslims called by their religious leaders to fight for and love each Jewish child as their own. Listen here for love's great light. See it here.

Love's great light -- the Matron read about new parents out for a walk with their ten day old baby only to witness a car crash, as the driver fell victim to a heart attack. The new parents? Both nurses, they shoved their infant into a complete stranger's hands- leaps of faith!--and worked on that man until he was breathing again. Only when the paramedics took over did their heads raise once: where is my child? Sound asleep, in some old guy's arms.

Love's great light propels us to give blood and body parts to other people -- sometimes complete strangers -- to see the authenticity and need in a child and respond in a way that is genuine and selfless. We build houses, donate food and time, give away clothes, make meals, give directions to strangers and let the bent old lady sit use the only open stall in the restroom, first (even though that last one caused the Matron considerable discomfort a couple of hours earlier!).

Love's great light is so vast that the Matron cannot think of a single moment in her day so far, in which there was no room for grace -- and more grace.

Put down the newspaper. Pet the dog's belly and listen. Hear that need around you? The children, the dog, the husband, the girlfriend, the houseplants, the kitten, the grass. Respond--give-- willingly and just like that, the world is better.

Love's great light.