Friday, May 7, 2010


Matron's friend, upon a chance meeting at the grocery store: "Hey, it's great to see you! What are you up to these days?"

Matron: "What the blog says."

Friend: "I don't read your blog. I don't believe in blogging."

Matron (little pause): "Is that sort of like not 'believing in' being gay? Like these things exist -- blogging and sexual preference. There's no refuting. How can you not believe in something that exists?"

Friend: "Well, I guess I refuse to read your blog because it's completely self-serving."

Matron: "That's entirely the point!"

Friend: "But I want a conversation and exchange, not just to read about you."

Matron: "That's what 'comments' are for. Plus, I have three children. I don't need more human interaction."

Friend: "I can't even fully explain it, but I don't believe in blogs. It's not personal, I don't like the medium."

Matron: "Can I send you postcards?"

Friend: "That would be fine."

Guess who wrote a post card tonight, for the first time in 15 years.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dear Family (Okay, Maybe Just the Husband)

Dear Family,

Here is what the Matron does not need to address on Mother’s Day:

1.Breakfast in bed

2. Cleaning and cooking

3. Saatan’s Familiar

4. FiFighting of any sort (boys, it is actually possible to walk past one another without poking or jostling)

5. The mandatory visits to all other mothers in the family, especially her own.

6. Driving children , anywhere

7. Anything made by Hallmark

8. Her wrinkles

9. The family chore calendar

10. Husband’s belief that any holiday is a good time to for a morning quickie

Instead, your mother would like just this: privacy and a book. Given the simplicity of this desire, it should be do-able for one day. However, in reality, the dog will still be here. There will be pancakes made by children served to her before she has had a chance to pee or brush her teeth. There are still other mothers in the family.

And the male desire for a morning quickie? Never goes out of style . . . .

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Give Her a Box of Macaroni and a Broom

The Matron is sort of a start from scratch cook -- even if that 'scratch' means a can of mushrooms and some salad dressing. When her husband met her, she had exactly that in her fridge: one can of mushrooms and French dressing--which was dinner.

But last night, she labored over an extravagance for her family. Glazed chicken. Potatoes. Carrots with a slight bit of peanut sauce--mushrooms, red peppers, onions. Can we all pause here and acknowledge all the chopping, planning and presentation?

This was an hour and a half endeavor.

Her family? Practically fled the table in 7 minutes (she counted).

Stryker: "I hate chicken. Can I go now?"

Scarlett: "Did you know I'm a vegetarian? These chickens are tied to the ground with hundreds of others. They have horrible lives. I will never eat meat again."

This was news to the Matron -- Scarlett's perspective and not the reality of meat. She's wildly sympathetic but unwilling to give up a good burger on the grill, although her family does buy their meat from a family farm. The cows roam free and have names. But Scarlett said that naming animals you'll eventually kill isn't good public policy.

Merrick: "Did you see my basketball? I don't want any more cawwots. I want to play basketball."

Tonight, faced with more rejection and HOURS in the kitchen? Not to mention American Idol and Glee ahead? The Matron ordered pizza, which was a big hit.

Here's her confession: she'd rather spend that hour and a half cleaning than cooking. A sparkling house lasts a few hours. A meal? Under ten minutes -- at least in her house

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Merrick? Can you please stop frightening your mother?

When Merrick was born -- all 10 pounds of him -- a nurse got very interested in him right before discharge. She turned him over and inspected; she stared and got down next to him for twenty minutes. The Matron was pleased that a professional was so interested in her beautiful baby! She assumed the nurse was just adoring the offspring.

Nurse: "Mary? I'm sorry to tell you this, but I need to take Merrick to the nursery so a neurologist can look at him."

Turns out that he was having little tiny seizures -- seizures that the Matron thought were just baby twitches. They do that, babies. They twitch.

Perhaps the most surreal moment of this whole ordeal was when the Matron and her husband were standing near the nurses' station during a tour for pregnant women and their partners. The tour was puttering about the nurses' station when they got the news from the neurologist: seizures. Their baby was head toward intensive care.

Everybody watched the poor baby get wheeled off and the Matron fall apart. Welcome to motherhood! The pregnant tourists were visibly scared: everyone's worst nightmare.

Now, the nature of the seizures remain a bit of a mystery, as it turns out that they just went away and there was really nothing wrong with him. But for four days he lived in the little tiny intensive care bubble, with the Matron standing by his side. She lived there too.

That was hospitalization number one.

Number two:

Eight months later, the Matron noticed that Merrick's perfectly precious left eye looked swollen. The swelling continued --joined by its pal, redness --- so rapidly that she became alarmed -- alarmed enough to take him to the emergency room, which isn't something one might normally consider for a red eye. But this eye was popping into something circus-like, rapidly.

She walked into the ER with her little guy just as their family pediatrician was walking out. Conicidence or Universe intervening? She likes the latter.

Anyway, the doctor greeted the Matron and then gasped in horror. She grabbed Merrick out of his mother's arms and sprinted back in, yelling for a nurse. This was actually rather alarming to the Matron, who followed behind as a mini-team started work on her child. Within FIVE MINUTES he had an antibiotic drip in his arm.

It turns out that he had periorbital cellulitis --an infection of the optic nerve. This can kill you, relatively efficiently. By this time his eye was ready for Pixar and this all transpired in the span of an hour, which was the reason the medical folk believed the infection, deadly.

Then the antibiotics didn't work.

Merrick was in the hospital fighting that infection for eight days.

By day six, it was clear the medicine kicked in and the eye stopped threatening to spread to Asia. But those were six days of horror. Once again, guess who lived at the hospital?

Day six she was able to take her guy around in a little red wagon, followed by the massive IV drip. They strolled up and down the hospital halls as a little diversion because it is hard to sit still and be institutionalized when you're eight months old and recently learned to crawl.

As they were paused at a corner - -the pathetic eight month old baby wired to machines and an exhausted mama -- a man walking by dropped a $20 bill into the wagon!! She briefly considered putting out a hat to see what else would happen, but instead (after realizing the money had been dropped and trying to flag down the guy to return it, to no avail) she bought herself a strong cup of coffee and cried for about an hour.

He's better now. But even after He Who Cannot Be Named needed crutches for an entire summer (torn ACL at nine!), these two hospital stints retain much of their horror.

Merrick is currently not allowed to have a cold. He's used up that karma -- at least for the mama.