Monday, August 2, 2010

Wherein the Matron is a Wee Bit Bitter (Although she Wears that Well)

When Scarlett was Ramona Quimby in that show at the Children's Theatre, she met a new friend and fellow actor. The friend is a year and a half older, but age difference paled in the hot light of love for theater, film, song, drama.

Several months ago, after Ramona and a friendship cemented, this girl --let's call her Deirdre (the Matron likes this name)-- and Scarlett were down to the wire for the role of Annie. Both mothers -- yes, this would be the Matron and the other mother--sat outside an auditorium waiting, while "Tomorrow" belted out into the hallways. Tension was thick.

Scarlett got the role.

Scarlett: "Mom? You know my backyard play? How every year we stage our own production? I think Deirdre should be Annie. I don't even need to be in the show -- I just want her to be Annie. I think she would have been an amazing Annie. If she can't be Annie here, let's make that happen for her at our house."

For the past four years, all life has been suspended during the last week of July as Scarlett --and 15-25--of her friends, stage a massive backyard performance. The children rehearse every evening for three hours and then host 100 or so parents, siblings and friends who come to cheer them on for the performance. It's a great good thing. And the Matron feeds them all, every night of the week.

This year, Deirdre was Annie. Scarlett directed, choreographed and otherwise orchestrated. Scarlett spent the past six months preparing for her friend's redemption for not receiving the role that she herself earned.

Because Deirdre lives half an hour away, it was agreed (by email) that she would spend a few nights here for rehearsals and set building. A few nights morphed into 12 days.

Twelve days in which the Matron dutifully emailed the parents to let them know how their daughter was doing and got no response. Twelve days, four of which meant being up until 2 a.m. with Deirdre because of headaches, rashes, and stomach ailments. Twelve days of feeding, hosting and housing.

Just to add some bitter creme to the week, the Matron stumbled across an amazing theater opportunity for Scarlett and Deirdre. She took the time to carefully send all relevant information to the parents.

Email from Deirdre's mom: "I sent our application by federal express. I hope she gets in."

The big production came and went. Deirdre was awesome. There was a big block party afterward with about 200 people.

Matron to Deidre: "Where are your parents, honey?"

Deirdre: "They left right after the play because they were bored. They'll be back at 10 to pick me up."

Friends, that child was here for 12 days. The Matron set her up with a great acting opportunity. She sat patiently until 2 in the morning while Deirdre had a headache--for three nights. There hours of ice packs for mosquito bites, coddling, and inquiring about the psyche. Truly, she was 100% willing to be there for a child.

But the parents?

Never said thank you or even good-bye. One minute yours truly was cleaning up after the big party and the next?

Matron: "Where's Deirdre?"

Scarlett: "Her dad got her and left."

So yes, this is a petulant post. But can anyone imagine dropping off a child at a friend's house for a stay that stretched into TWELVE DAYS (and nights, oh my) and not saying good-bye at the pick-up?

Or thank you?


Anonymous said...

Dierdre's parents could take lessons in thoughtfulness and generosity from Scarlett. (And you, but you know that, right?)

Minnesota Matron said...

I'm as angry about this as I've been about any kid-parent interaction in 14 years. Yes, I'm fine with my own conduct--and super proud of Scarlett for her concern and care for a friend. But really --12 days without a thank you or good-bye at pick-up time? They left in the midst of the block party so it was easy to slip out. But still. . . good-bye? Trying to model that love and kindness but failing at the moment : -)

Suburban Correspondent said...

Totally weird. Maybe they are extremely introverted? Those sort of people can come across as rude.

*m* said...

Holy crap.

This is shocking to me.

And while yes, I know she's just a kid, I find it disturbing that Deirdre herself slipped away -- even at her parents' bidding -- without seeking you out to say a thank you.

How disturbing, and disappointing.

cardinal said...

Wow doesn't even begin to cover it. I'm wracking my brain, trying to imagine a situation where one could be this thoughtless. About to be indicted for murder? Hellish chemo? Spies about to be outed? The wildest thoughts STILL don't lead me to a case where people would act that way.

Gail said...

Plain ordinary RUDE!!!!

Jen on the Edge said...

Good grief! I can't imagine leaving my child with friends for 12 days, but if I did, I would have:

... called every day to check in with you and touch base with my child.

... made an offer to help cover said child's food during that 12 days.

... sought you out on the last night and given you a fabulous gift and handwritten thank you note.

... said "thank you" many times when presenting the gift mentioned above.

... and followed up the visit by having my child write a thank you note too.

I can't even believe how rude those people were.

Deborah said...

Wow, there had better be the biggest bouquet of flowers being delivered right now.

I'd be angry too..and as a mother and volunteer with a childrens organisation have my own mental list of parents who shocked me with bad manners.

bethany said...

shockingly rude and utterly crass. so sorry you were on the receiving end.

ccr in MA said...

This really blows my mind. I was trying to come up with reasons why they were so out of touch, like maybe they were in counseling to avoid a divorce? But the Fed-Exing the application killed that idea. And to not even thank you? Unbelievable!

Minnesota Matron said...

You guys rock. I'm truly happy to host a child. I don't want to sound like an ungracious host, as I was genuine in my open door invitation to this child and her family. A thank you or even a good-bye was all I needed; I'm glad other people think the parental behavior is a little -- wretched.

JFS in IL said...

Sounds like some parents are ticked off that their girl did not get the "real" role of Annie. Petty, small-minded, and rude. I am sure Deidre noticed the difference between your caring actions and her own folk's indifference.

When she talks up how much fun she had at your house the screw will really turn in her parent's side.

Deb said...

I think all of us can remember an adult who took an interest in us when we were younger...and made a difference in our lives.

You've earned it through this. Maybe she'll look back on this someday and remember what it felt like to be where someone cared about what she did.

Just don't get the parents at all!

MJ said...

Supremely rude.

I can't even go to a bbq without bringing a hostess gift (usually including homemade baking of some sort) plus a suitable beverage.

I can't even fathom doing what they did!

You are amazing, Matron! Good job supporting those kids! They will remember your family indefinitely!

Mama Ava said...

That is really sad. The worst part is that the kid knows that her parents are giving her the short it was really really great that you stepped up and were a great parent to her for those days.

She knows what you did and she appreciates it!

dkuroiwa said...

i'm sorry, but that? that was just plain wrong. i canNOT even begin to imagine the reasons as to why they did that.....and the daughter? did she not say anything at all to miss scarlett later??
Some people just don't know goodness when they leave their daughter with it. bitter? hell, i'd be downright pissed.

that said....i think that the whole production in your yard is something i would love to see sometime. what a great thing for those kids to have to look back upon when they get older.
kudos, matron...lots and lots of kudos to you!!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

How horrible! I feel bad for their daughter if this is how they act. That's rotten treatment of everyone all around.

Raven said...

The lack of common decency (what I think is common anyway) and manners of people, never ceases to shock or disappoint me.

That is insane.

There is no way that I would allow my child to be gone for 12 days without constant contact, offers of help, copious thank yous and a gift package. When he's a guest somewhere he has expected behavior (that even goes as far as stripping whatever bed he slept in and taking the sheets + towels he used to the laundry room)

~annie said...

While I feel bad for you, I feel worse for the child. What kind of parents are "bored" with their kid's performances?! Those people are just plain rude AND rather weird. I'm extremely introverted and can come across as "remote," perhaps even "rude," but that doesn't mean I'm exempt from greetings, farewells and/or thanks! There is NO excuse for their behavior.

Anonymous said...

That is totally outrageous! Gah. I don't blame you for being bitter. I would be livid.

Is it possible, just possible, that they are at this very moment preparing some kind of wonderful thank you gift for you? That happened to my parents once - they lent their holiday home by the sea to someone for a week, and the people didn't leave any kind of thank you note, card, or anything. My parents were a bit miffed. But then, three months later they received a painting from the woman (who is actually a moderately famous artist) inspired by the stay and surrounding scenery. She'd been working on it ever since the trip.

But ack. Ack. Deirdre's parents need a lesson in grace.

Daisy said...

Oh, my. I'm impressed by your generosity and Scarlett's caring. I can't figure this out. Jealous of Scarlett's success? Uncomfortable with your willingness to take care of Dierdre? Socially awkward? Even shy people take the time to say "thanks."

Anonymous said...

That's just rude. I'm shy -- and saying "thank you" and showing genuine gratitude is easy.

To be so summarily dismissed by two parents after the first rate care taking their daughter received? For 12 days (and nights)?..

They put the "ass" in crass.

Cindy in Walla Walla

Susan said...

That is the rudest thing I have heard in a long time. I agree that I feel sorry for the child of parents like that, she will have a hard time in life without role models of good manners and social behavior.

Just know that your own children will not suffer from those issues and will have the same beautiful, caring nature you have - and the sense to know when they are being treated poorly.

Cha Cha said...

Oh my is right.

Methinks you might be giving Deidre the first taste of real parenting - and caring - that the poor child has known.

But really? I don't blame you for being suuuuuper pissed off. I'm mad on your behalf.

Anonymous said...

Mary I will say Thank you since the ignorant imbeciles did not. I too have had parents leave their children here for extended stays and one spent the ENTIRE Christmas vacation with us and they NEVER called him, not once. How do I know? He gave me his phone for "safekeeping" because he wouldn't need it. It is sad that these people have children BUT those kids will always remember your kindness and how your family was warm and welcoming. Take comfort in that. They may or may not ever articulate that to you, but someday they will remember and be grateful for the time spent with all of you. As for the parents...this is what I did. I sent a Thank You letter to them mentioning all the wonderful and fun things we did and how much we enjoyed their child as part of our family (even though one was a royal pain). I also stated that I was surprised that we had not had a chance to speak or meet when the pick up came. The next time the child came I walked out to the car and made direct contact and made the arrangements crystal clear. Rudeness averted a second time and if I have to will repeat this each and every time! Sly and naughty maybe, but the message seems to have been heard. Miss Scarlett is a kind and thoughtful girl , much like her Mama you should be proud!

Minnesota Matron said...

Got a thank you today -- a lovely box of chocolates and a nice note. I feel a little like egg on my face. . . but, still, would've called once during the week.

Optimist said...


Unbelievable - UN.BE.LIEV.A.BLE

(that looks weird - but you can hear me saying it out loud can't you?)

What did you say to Scarlett? She must have noticed.

BTW - you both deserve major kudos. Way above and beyond!!! It's no accident she is such a compassionate friend.


Optimist said...

Just read your last comment. Chocolate is always good, but I can't imagine not talking to my child every day during a visit like that. And not answering your emails???


My husband points out that Deirdre's home life is the perfect breeding ground for the "genius tortured artist syndrome".
Someday, Deirdre will be a successful actress with a bestselling tell-all autobiography - this century's Norma Desmond...


carol said...

Maybe they subscribe to the "It takes a village" theory and you are the village babysitter!