Yesterday, Scarlett spent an hour with the woman writing and directing the small art film in which the Matron's daughter plays the main character.
The other main character is from Slovenia. Afterward, the Matron was treated to this --
Scarlett: "Mom! Where's Slovenia?"
Matron: "Um. Far away? Across the Atlantic ocean?"
Scarlett: "MOM! That is not enough! Does it snow there? Is it by France? Is it by China which is way far away from France AND Italy? What do people wear? How do their faces look? Do they speak English or is there a Slovenian?"
And then Scarlett burst into tears and threw herself on the bed (well, on the mound of clothes and notebooks and plates with half-eaten bagels providing protective cover for that bed), wailing.
Matron: "Sweetie! You don't have to do this, you know. It's 100% your choice. If you don't want to be in the film, nobody will be mad or disappointed. Only do what you want to do."
Scarlett (weeping): "I REALLY WANT TO DO IT I JUST NEED TO CRY."
And so she did, for about half an hour. When whatever spirit possessed her decided that this host's flora had lost its funk, she picked herself up and googled herself to Slovenian Expert.
Later, at the behest of the tornado sirens, last night at the convenient hour of 10 pm, the Matron and her family huddled in the basement while the wind romped its way through the city. Afterward, John retrieved all the yard toys, pools, and chairs from the street and the neighbors' yards and the Matron worked on getting three children back to the beds they had barely been in due to a plethora of Party (graduations, potlucks, festivity in the summer).
It was the perfect moment for this --
Scarlett: "MOM! Who's going to run the music for Peter Pan?" This would be Scarlett's annual Backyard Theater Production, which is really a multi-family event and attempts to cast everyone that comes into Scarlett's acquaintance.
Matron: "Now is not the time to worry about this."
Scarlett (sobbing): "If Cela can't do the costumes for the mermaids, what will I DO? How can I get those tail-things! And will Daddy use the pool or do we make a fake lagoon? Have we figured out the flying problem yet?"
Matron: "Honey, you don't have to do Peter Pan. This should be fun!"
Scarlett: "IT IS FUN I JUST NEED TO CRY FOR AWHILE."
Yes, this feels like a good time is being had by all. Fun, fun, fun, sings the Matron.
Today, the Matron got an email from a local actress whose initial email to the Matron was somehow lost in electronics. A 'hey now this is short notice can you swing it' email.
Could Scarlett audition for the role of the young Baby Jane in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Tomorrow?
You would think the Matron would've detected a pattern by now. But no, she was unsuspecting, unprotected, forgot her facial gear and body armor.
Matron: "Scarlett? X is doing a play called Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. She wants to know if you want to audition to play Baby Jane."
Scarlett (bursting into tears): "NO NO NO!"
Matron (surprised): "Really? Okay then. It's good you're making your own decisions!"
Scarlett (weeping): "Why are you yelling at me! You're yelling! I can't believe you're yelling at me!"
Here, the Matron pauses to consider what planet she had just landed upon. As far as she could tell, no yelling had transpired. The Matronly yell is undeniable and penetrates walls. In fact, she considered her response 100% appropriate and on the perfectly sane parenting page.
Matron (very very gently, as if talking down someone from that roof): "Scarlett, I apologize if my voice was loud. I think I was surprised and my voice registered that? I'm really not yelling, okay? This is totally not a big deal and it's great to be clear about what you want to do and what you don't! That's a very good quality you have."
The Matron pats her daughter's head, reorients herself to Earth and starts upstairs.
Scarlett: "MOM WHERE ARE YOU GOING!"
Matron: "To email X and tell her that you're passing on this."
Scarlett: "NO NO NO I REALLY REALLY WANT TO DO IT I JUST NEED TO CRY!"
The Matron was suddenly, profoundly, permanently exhausted.
Scarlett? She had phone calls to make! If she did not immediately watch that movie, the big one would hit California and send millions to their death! Without that movie, she would probably be felled by a mysterious coma or Satan's Familiar hit by a car.
Hmmm, hums the Matron as she considers the latter.
Back to reality, as such. And after Scarlett located said movie, she breathed fire and impatience down the Family Neck until one parent picked up and drove to the video store.
She's watching the movie at this very moment. The Matron even heard Merrick sing a bit of "I'm writing a letter to Daddy." She apologizes in advance to her youngest child's future therapist, having to tend to all the trouble that keeping up with the big kids caused him.
Given the theatrics of the last 24 hours, the Matron is not entirely happy to note that her daughter seems somehow well-suited for Baby Jane. Don't they share such placid temperament and easy-going ways? She also now more fully appreciates that all the world's a stage to her daughter. The Matron and her family are captive audience (and supporting roles) for the next decade at least. One wild ride.