Sunday, March 8, 2009

Like the Matron has All Day to Manage Someone Else's Life

The Matron suddenly has a part-time job caring for her mothe, whose hospitalization does not seem to be nearing an end.    Driving alone takes a new two hours out of her already impossible day.  

Given that the perpetually busy Matron (the job, the novels, the needy students, the family, the works, the near teen, the house, the man, the need to create art!, the volunteer work -- you get it!) is suddenly even busier -- AND -- given that her own psyche is being taxed, challenged, prodded and rolled due to her mother's illness (did you know that the Matron has a toddler living within her?) -- given all these complexities of her own wild and precious life, the Matron experienced the following with some bemusement.

She ran into an old high school acquaintanc, Adelle (so not her real name)  while tending to her mother in her hometown.  Seems that word of Scarlett's acting preceeded the Matron, via a proud, bedridden grandma.  

Adelle:  "I would never do that to my daughter."

Matron:  "What?"

Adelle:  "You know, push all that stuff on her at such a young age."

Matron:  "Push her?   She's entirely self-driven."

Adelle (with superiority and skepticism in perfect balance):  "Whenever any kid starts doing unusual, semiprofessional stuff at 7, there's a parent who has to make the phone calls, drive, organize and manage."

Matron:  "Same for play dates and soccer.   If your child wanted to be in Brownies, wouldn't you help her out?  But if your kid says 'sign me up for the stage' at seven, it's wrong to do that?"

Adelle:  "It's different.  I just think it's sad that people live through their children's accomplishments."  She shoots the Matron a knowing look.

Matron (deciding to jump conversational ship):  "Me too.   Oh!  My Mom's hemoragging.  Gotta run!  Ta-ta!"

The Matron has run into this attitude before and understands that some people will always see her negatively because yes, she helps  her daughter.   But live through her?  

Who runs the show that is Scarlett?   In a bit of serendipity, after the Matron returned home (post-Adelle) last night, Scarlett unveiled her new creation:  Love to Love Acting.   And requested that her mother link the daughter's blog on hers, as the child is not adverse to Audience.   Check out that first post, in which Scarlett proclaims:  "I live to act, sing and dance."  So there.  But Scarlett?  Stop with the commas!

Because Adelle works at the hospital, the Matron is certain to see her again.  Even though the Matron has Written Orders to be immediately executed should she wear a hat, button or t-shirt with one of her children's photograph on it (and that special message, like "Proud Mama of an honor student"), even so, she is tempted to  quickly construct garb with Stryker's photo and GPA so she can live through him, too, and give Adelle a LOT to talk about with the locals. 

No, the life the Matron is living is all her own.  And right now, that life is demanding and a little bit painful as the past forty-some years of a complex relationship play out around that hospital bed.    She hopes she can survive it.

25 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm a busy person too--it's my nature. When my mom was sick though, I dropped out of almost everything-and it was the best decision I ever made. Sometimes life necessitates you get back to the absolute basics-if for survival if nothing else.

So scale waaaay back (and call your doctor for a Xanax prescription). Hang in there.

smalltownmom said...

Some kids are pushed by their parents. Obviously Scarlett is not one of them.

Good luck.

distracted by shiny objects said...

"That's an interesting thought. Let me think about it and I appreciate you taking the time to think about my family. Thank you."
Practice. And. Repeat.

It will make your life easier, and that's a good thing right now.

Ulrike said...

Minnesota Matron and Scarlett, you are both wonderful.

I like the comment by 'distracted by shiny objects'. I am noting it down for future use myself.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Oh, wow. You didn't hit her? Nice. Distracted By Shiny Objects is much too kind. You need something a little zing-ier, don't you think?

How about, "Well, I wouldn't push her like that, but I need the money for my drug habit."

Or, "I gave life to her - she owes me."

Because Adelle apparently knows what she knows; and nothing you can say will change her mind.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kmkat said...

I quite like distracted by shiny objects response, although you might say "...taking time from your very, very busy life to think about..." Really, she needs a little dope slap upside the head.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I really like that Suburban Correspondent. I really do.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Dear Matron:

Healthy boundaries are essential, in the case of your mother and that Adelle. Nobody walks in the Matron's darling leather boots paired with a skinny skirt but the Matron. You alone have all the facts as you decide how to balance and prioritize and triage. I support your decisions and actions with whatever you must do concerning your mother.

There has never been a question in my mind that the Matron celebrates and supports Scarlett, she does not display and live through her. Many a time I have had well-meaning (and perhaps not so well-meaning) individuals (teachers, friends, and such like) tell me not to push Laura. Good heavens! If they only knew, that child has had her finger on my back pushing me since she picked her little head up and tried to looked out of that plastic hospital bassinet. The Matron does not push Scarlett, she's trying to keep up with her.

XOXO

Heather said...

So, jealous much "Adelle"? Wow. Perhaps she needs a brilliant child (or three) to live through so she can stop worrying about other people's children.

Lynda said...

We all have an Adelle from time to time...ugh!

Nora said...

You could pressure Scarlett into ACTING like an over-parented kid being PUSHED into acting while at the hospital in front of all your old high school friends....

Wenderina said...

Jealosy, thou name ist Adelle. Or some such thing. And I loved the commas. It made me feel breathless reading it, and I'm sure that is the way it would be spoken.

Becky said...

Boy, what a presumptuous snit. Or should we go with toxic bitch? I can't decide!

Amy said...

She spoke like a mother who has used that excuse as why not to let her children get involved. We are only living through them because all we do is play chauffeur, cheerleader and manager, all the time. We have very little time to live our own life. And believe me-no time in my life have I ever wanted to play some sort of ball which is all my kids do. Now off my high horse to go back to re-living my life through my children. :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Distracted has the best quote ever. I'm going to memorize it.

Beth said...

Strange how a woman living her “own life” also involves taking care of so many other lives. And that when our days are already overwhelming, we somehow always manage to fit in yet another emergency or crisis - and still cope!
Remember to take care of yourself, too.

Voyager said...

I have been where you are. Take care.
V.

Swistle said...

OMG, like you have time right now to hit someone with a shovel and bury them by the light of the moon. Can't you delegate someone ELSE to deal with Adelle?

I like your "Me too" response because it is absolutely agreeable and friendly while communicating the message "What you are passive-aggressively or maybe just aggressive-aggressively saying? It does not apply to my life. Therefore you must be talking about someone else's life, in which case I can comfortably agree with what you are pretending to be saying." Teenagery mid-sentence question mark included.

Daisy said...

Best wished to you in surviving this episode of the Sandwich Generation. It tears on us, especially the nurturers.

Ree said...

Some people shouldn't be allowed to have a mouth.

Just sayin.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Nora's idea is great! I bet Scarlett would enjoy that.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I love the Nora plan. You and Scarlett, co-conspirators. Fun for Scarlet. Post material for the Matron. Reading material for all!

Liz said...

Adelle is just jealous. She probably stays home at night and sings Broadway songs to herself in the mirror to assuage the pain of never indulging in her true passion and she is instead stuck in her hometown being a curmudgeon.

Scarlett acts of her own volition, and she is lucky to have parents who understand the importance of creative outlet. Because she gets to have supportive, encouraging (and not pushy!) parents, she will probably not be hanging out in hospitals when she is an adult harassing her childhood friends.

Unless, that is, she actually really wants to be a nurse and all of this stage stuff is pretense and you are stifling her underpaid, overworked health care career by shoving her into song and dance. Ha!

Memarie Lane said...

Does Adelle have green eyes?