Thursday, December 30, 2010

Viva las 2011

The Matron will return on Monday, January 3. She's indulging in champagne and dreams of plastic surgery to repair various things.

Lest anyone think that yours truly is a blogging slacker, she'll note that since September 2007, the Matron has produced nearly 1100 high quality posts, averaging 1.4 entries a day. Please don't check her math. She's close.

But find a more reliable blogger who makes no money? Uh, no. Oh wait--that's the Catholic school girl guilt requiring that she quantify taking a day off. Funny how that stays with you.

So thanks to everyone who reads and writes and for the hundreds who show up here! She's grateful and buoyed by the readership. Even if the comments aren't staggering, the readership grows monthly. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your thoughts and lives. A special, warm thank you to those who are so faithful, coming here so often over those past three years. If you're ever in Minnesota . . . and she means that. Don't forget she's at

And a fruitful, complex, and surprising 2011 to us all!

- Mary

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Note to the Parents

While cleaning, the Matron found a small notebook; she keeps various notebooks by the telephone in the kitchen for, well, notes. This notebook looked to be from days past, but because the Matron is zealous about tidying (remember she suffers from Incurable Clutter Brain Suck) she's certain the notebook is not entirely dated. But as she was filing away the notebook, the Universe --and probably Oprah and Dr. Phil -- intervened so that the spine fell into this page, clearly written by a child's hand:

"I the undersigned do attest that I have never before parented and insofar as I have no experience for this job I am now liable for my mistakes (turn page). And I agree to pay for any counseling in perpetuity (insert name of child who authored the document-- let's just say this child cannot be referred to on the blog) may require as a result of my parental ineptitude.

Signed ___________________ Mary (mother in question)

___________________ John (father in question)

Whoa. The Matron is not taking on that bill. She needs to start thinking about retirement. Good luck, oh nameless one. And she applauds your visionary stance and careful planning for the future.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Ah, Christmas. Oh wait -- then, ah, the New Year.

There's nothing like the nation grinding to a halt to return one to memories. Some of which are, well, complex.

When the Matron was a Young Miss -- 16 -- (and you're in for a gasp here), she had yet to embark upon the monthly cycle signaling fertility and new life, or the potential thereof. This slow start at the gate didn't bother the Young Miss much until she turned 15 and all of her friends were "WHAT?" and tampon stories seemed like a secret, forbidden, sect. Like being the "it girl" of all time.

She turned 16 at the end of one November. One month later on Christmas morning, she woke to a slate of gifts that included footie pajamas and--her first period.

The Matron considers this now as Scarlett's friends have largely embarked upon this journey. The Diva is a young 7th grader, entering school just four days ahead of the cut-off line; and she's tiny. Plus, she's friends with many theater girls much older than her, girls who are dating, shaving their legs and hopefully rejecting various substances. Because Scarlett is a bit of a local 'starlet' (sorry, it's late and she couldn't help it), Scarlett has substantial cache with these older theater-loving teen girls. Plus -- according to pretty much everyone on the planet, including complete strangers in Indonesia and North Ireland -- the second Scarlett disembarks from her family's ship and enters a theater? She's like Meryl Streep. Focused, adult, professional, observant.

So the 12 year old with 17 year old 'friends' is also acknowledged in her own right and well respected as a professional and treated as a peer; yet Scarlett can't quite image the dramas and daily complexities of being seventeen, on the cusp of adulthood. It's a complex bit of reality. Tonight, she's spending the night at a friend's house -- a theater friend who is a good two years older, which places her at the same age as HWCBN. The differences seem vast to the Matron.

All this ruminating returned the Matron to that Christmas morning when she went into her bedroom to put on her 'footie' pajamas and discovered that the deal was finally done -- her first period. Even then, the irony of the pajamas, stuffed animals and ability to procreate was not lost on her (but consider this geared toward women). Why don't sixty year old men wear footie pajamas? The Matron definitely thinks footies would lose their appeal of old men in footies started popping up in ads.

When the Young Miss told her mother the news that Christmas day, this is what she heard:

"Don't tell anyone. There's plenty of stuff in the hall closet. Just use it."

She didn't tell anyone or ask for assistance ever again.

That call to silence about women's bodies--the daily ins and outs, the pressures for conformity, the genuine physical challenges of blood, babies and birth -- has always haunted the Matron.

She's entering a different phase now. Fertility? Those days are done. But the body still holds challenges and triumphs, offers its daily lessons and reminders about choices, inheritance and inevitability.

But as she sees the books about bodies, life, changes, and puberty sitting prominently in Scarlett's room where yours truly softly left them -- with a conversation and invitation --and notices that the books aren't burned or thrown away, there's hope.

A new year ahead. And there's always another girl entering the world, picking up the legacy and reshaping it into something new.