Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Don't Hate You

While transporting children, the Matron overheard the following between two strapped-in five year olds:

Friend: "My mom doesn't like taking care of me."

Merrick: "My mom hates me."

Friend: "My mom doesn't hate me. She just hates taking CARE of me."

Merrick: "Well. My mom hates me."

Merrick, the Matron understands that she should whisk you to your room each and every time this phrase flies off your lips. Should children utter these words to one another, they are punished.

Occasionally, you hurt yourself. Your mother will rush toward you.

"Go away! You hate me!"

Or, you request an ice cream cone at the very moment the Matron is setting the table for dinner. She must say no.

"You hate me!"

The Matron is fairly certain she knows the origins of the phrase, the emotional kernel of the sentiment (which she understands is not hate).

Because frequently, you will rush into the kitchen holding your penis, requesting an audience to watch that instrument do its work, just as the Matron is in the midst of complex culinary swirl. She will roll her eyes and sigh in exasperation-- and then go with you.

"You hate me!"

Or she is carrying two backpacks, one purse, one stuffed parrot, three books, bag of Cheetos, and one grocery bag from van to care and you yell: "Mama! Help me find my sword!"

When she alerts you to the fact that she is otherwise occupied and that once this load has been lightened, she must let the barking dogs back in and immediately turn around and drive Stryker to baseball, you say this:

"You hate me!"

You see, Merrick, your mother doesn't hate you. It's simply that-- from your perspective--she must be so astoundingly frequently unavailable to you. She's right there! Why can't she throw the ball, find the doggie, fix the turtle or find the baseball bat?

So when your friend says his mother hates taking care of him, it's just that we--the Mamas of the world -- would love nothing more than a wide landscape of time, money and psyche that would allow us to be with you in ways that are bigger, better and more interesting than wiping butter off your face or watching you brush your teeth.

If the Matron didn't have dinner to make or Scarlett to transport, yes, she'd play with you. If she didn't have to go to teach Saturday mornings, she would not mind finding Freddie the Frog in your toy chest. Better yet, she would prefer to go on a bide ride or read a book.

Today, Merrick, your mother has 50 people coming to her house in under three hours. She's sorry she doesn't have time to paint that bench purple or braid string.

But she doesn't hate you. And she will stop her party preparations to take you to the bathroom, find the cream colored socks, and even read a book, once. Just a fraction of your requests, she knows.

But she's trying.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Satan's Familiar

Yesterday, the Matron defied gravity. She hoisted the tiny acorns into her one and only push-up bra and tottered on high heels.

She felt fine!

Her hair looked good. Her purse and shoes worked well. All that teacher appreciation was just shooting through those veins! She loves her women students!

After teaching her day class, she shot home to grab the eighteen items she forgot to pack earlier: guitar for the guitar lesson; snacks; notes for teachers; overdue library books. Apples, string cheese, water. Her good mood allowed her to toss a new bag of Oreo into the mix.

As she was heading out the door to retrieve her children, Satan's Familiar implored. He wanted to ride along.

Now, Satan's Familiar is currently confined to the back porch, sort of the Matronly version of the kennel. He spends most of his time there with complete and total access to the dog door. In and out, he can go. Poop in the grass? Entirely within his reach.

But on Wednesday, SF was off the porch for just ten brief minutes. Not one to waste time, he deposited not one but three piles of poop in Scarlett's room.

That dog has talent.

But John is certain, certain, that Satan's Familiar will undergo miraculous Bowel Realignment if only he is allowed to ride in the car. To that end, SF has started traveling to post offices, grocery stores, banks and schools..

He hangs his ugly black head out the window, happy.

Because she was flying high--she felt fine, this hip middle-aged version of the put-together working mama balancing the world on her slim shoulders -- the Matron opened the door and let that damn dog out.

He immediately shot across the street and disappeared.

Satan's Familiar does not answer to any name. And, he is thoroughly afraid of the Matron, sensing her hatred and all that.

Ten minutes later, the Matron found SF eating squirrel food (bread) five houses down. He cowered against a tree until she grabbed him and, because she will support any Bowel Realignment Plan, put him in the van.

She picked up the children from school where Satan's Familiar spent some time deceiving the other families into thinking him an adorable, benign family pet. He played fetch! He licked small children. He allowed himself to be picked up and hugged by mobs of preschoolers.

"What a sweet dog!"

"He's so good with children!"

"Scruffy! What a perfect name!"


In the van, the children sensed her free spirit and implored: "Can we go to Bread and Chocolate, Mom! Please, please, please!"

They are very good at the unified front. So she relented.

The sun was shining. The day was fine and so was the Matron. She and her children enjoyed a lovely treat at Bread and Chocolate, a decadent little coffee shop on the trendy and busy Grand Avenue.

As they were leaving, the Matron sensed something. . . something unusual. The female intuition made her turn and yes! She met the eye and got a wide smile from a gorgeous mid-forties male who was sipping his espresso at a sidewalk table. She couldn't help it. She smiled back, this calm put-together well-dressed working mama who was not screaming at her children nor wearing sweat pants!

Then she opened the door to the van.

Satan's Familiar shot out.

Grand Avenue is a busy, busy, busy, street. Cars drive on it. Lots of them.

And the Matron tottered and ran and raced on those high heels, her acorn chest heaving as she screamed after that dog who gave one thorough romp up and down the block. The three children cried and screamed by her side as Satan's Familiar darted once out into the street!

He shot back! Passers by tried to grab him. Gorgeous lunged, too. The Matron yelled "Scruffy!" at the top of her lungs to no avail.

Finally, the dog decided to cower under the van, with cars whipping by at top speed, just inches from his head.

Did she mention that Scarlett is sobbing: "He's going to die! He's going to get hit by a car!"

So the Matron (who is furious) spends give a few minutes kneeling on the sidewalk -- all semblance of her formerly fine self abandoned -- screaming at Satan's Familiar to COME OUT RIGHT NOW (you goddamn dog) in front of the audience of coffee shop patrons (including Gorgeous) who were previously enjoying some peace and quiet with their latte.

As Satan's Familiar consistently creeps away from the Matron, she realizes that he senses her, ah, current state. He fears for his life. Rightly.

So Stryker calls his dog, quietly, gently: "Scruffy! Here you, boy!"

Scruffy goes right into his arms. The Matron hoists her acorn bra back into position, pulls up the hosiery and hauls herself into that van.

Only to discover that while they had been enjoyed cinnamon swirls and cocoa, Satan's Familiar had eaten all of the snacks the Matron had packed and forgotten in the car - including a brand new bag of Oreo cookies! Crackers, string cheese. Attentive to the food pyramid, he even gnawed on an apple.

The Matron understands this is part of his plan to produce four times his body weight in poop later this evening. She wonders how he will worm his way into the house so he can distribute the goods evenly.

At least, as she was pulling away from the curb, that that guy? He gave her one last smile.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

But Then There Is This

So the Matron has a few high need students on her hands.

She also has this: a current night class with a gaggle of 8 women in their early forties who've become dear friends through their shared quest for the all-important college degree.

They are practically lunching instead of in schooling as they sit around their shared table and try (largely successfully) not to talk about their children, husbands and jobs and instead, to focus on College English.

They are respectful, disciplined, courteous, friendly and hard-working.

The Matron must resist the frequent and intense urge to sit down at that table. She'd like to start conversations: "Oh! You have a 15-year old! How are you handling the whole driving thing?"

Or join in, when she eavesdrops on this: "There's a plastic spoon sitting on the front steps. It's been there for 42 days. I'm not moving it. Think anyone else will?"

She can hardly stand it! She wants to chat.

And they are not helping her situation.

The second week of class, one of these women raised her hand and said this: "You look so cute today! It's the hair, up like that."

Matron: "Oh, thank you! I'm of a certain age. I'll take any compliment I can get."

Student: "Honey, age doesn't matter. We all wanna look good."

Laughter and general female good will.

The following week, the entire group waved her over to the table to point out how smashingly the Matronly earrings and bracelet operated as a fashion unit. The indigo and amber sparkled and popped, just so. They noted their collective approval.

Later, the boots.

Student raises hand: "Mary? Where did you get those boots? Please don't tell me you got those at a thrift store, too? I'll be just sick with envy."

The Matron notices how they then put their heads together and peered in her direction.

Yesterday, the Matron spent quite some time dressing for these women. She fretted and scowled at the brown pants with the Doc Martin boots. Not quite right -- and besides, no clear jewelry match--not to mention the purse! She wiggled into something that was just a bit too hot for the audience. Maybe gypsy, hippy-dippy kinda thing? Not quite right.

She finally settled on a sea green J.Jill dress that was breezy and bookish, in a feminine sort of way. Tights, shoes, and jewelry, carefully considered. Why, she nearly forgot to create the quiz, she was so preoccupied!

Here's the kind of scholarly recognition she's getting these days. Forget Omar. Let's be grateful for any kind of teacher appreciation.

"Mary! Did you notice how the blue in those shoes perfectly draws out the tiny flowers in the dress? You add in the gray tights and it's just stunning!"

Yes! She noticed! And thank you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Example of Why Matron is Not Allowed to be Typical Stage Mother Even is She so Wanted

Matron: "Scarlett, your hair looks really nice pulled back like that."

Scarlett: "One hundred and four."

Matron: "One hundred and four what?"

Scarlett: "One hundred and four times you've said something about me, to me."

Matron: "Is that bad?"

Scarlett: "Let's just say we'd rather not get to one hundred and five, shall we?"

Dear Director of Homeland Security

The Matron has important news for you!

She has identified the most pressing threat our nation faces--a danger that threatens her immediate personal safety!

She shocked, just shocked, that you have not noticed this danger before!

This threat to the good citizens of our country will floor you in its simplicity and pervasiveness; you will be astounded by our complicity, our national willingness to accept this ploy as the standard, the norm.


Children are allowed to drive cars.

Because yesterday, while minding her own business on 94, shuttling one child to this friend and picking up another, there, the Matron looked at the driver next to her and that driver?

Looked about 12 years old. It was difficult to discern who was the shakier person in that car, the young girl or the father gripping the dashboard next to her.

Then it occurred to the Matron that in just over 3 years, her oldest child (note emphasis) will legally be allowed to get behind the wheel of a car and negotiate all operations of several hundred pounds of steel.

She is not sure what the solution is, Director. Because this dangerous activity has been around so long and is taken for granted, accepted as the norm, people may be slow to eliminate the scourge--sort of like meatloaf. It's just part of the landscape.

The Matron's awakening -- these are not permitted drivers or new drivers or student drivers -- these are children coming at her, fast--simply reinforces her previous alarm regarding Transportation.

Things that move will be our demise!

So please stop building that darn wall through the back yards of poor people in Texas (while conveniently creating big gaps when you get to somebody 'connected' but that's a separate letter, she supposes) and attend to this issue immediately!

The rules must be changed before July 17th, 2011. Thank you for your compliance.