Friday, July 24, 2009

A Little Joy on Friday

Yes, a bit of joy. One life. Live, fully!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

But What if She Can't Keep Up?

The Matron is of the firm belief that the most essential element of parenting is solidified at the toddler level when the wee one, well, toddles-- off in the direction of whatever interests him or her most. At that ever transitory moment.

Shiny toy!


Dog! That kid is off and running.

And the parent's job is to follow that child who is chasing her interests.

Well, that's worked out all fine and dandy in theory but life on the Rocket Ship named Scarlett can be pretty exhausting. Some people wake up in the morning and read the newspaper. She goes here.

Scarlett: "Mom! Why don't those people change that web site overnight! There are the VERY SAME auditions as last night! It's been TEN HOURS. Can't there be something new?"

Repeat. Every morning.

The Matron understands that there are Stage Mothers who fit the hiss and claw. She's met a few. But there are Stage Mothers who honest to God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah fall into the camp of Dazed and Confused and Driven by the Child (and who would rather be blogging).

Here's what happens when you don't plan or plot or scheme but go with the flow as it presents itself to the child.

Ring, ring, ring goes the telephone.

Matron: "Hello?"

Best Agent in Town: "Hello this is X! Can we sign your daughter?"

Matron queries Scarlett: "Do you want an agent? Try the whole commercial route?"

Scarlett: "YES YES YES YES."

Three weeks and a couple of commercial audition and film shoots later.

Ring, ring, ring, ring.

Matron: "Hello?"

L.A.- Agent: "Hello! We've seen your daughter's film clips. We'd like to sign her as a client for sit-coms, movies and TV."

Matron: "Scarlett do you want to audition for movies and television shows and pilots filmed mostly in L.A.?"

Scarlett: "YES YES YES YES."

The Matron will admit that this one gave her pause. What if the child won the golden ticket and was called out West? But in the end, she continued following that toddling child because she didn't want to be the one to say NO. She knows the NO is ahead. (previous sentence being big moral behind blog post to other potential stage parents) But she'd rather the NO TO YOUR DREAMS come from someone else and that she --the mama--be the one who helps her daughter stand strong in the face of denial and disappointment. That's the greater lesson than being the star.

What if following where your child leads you means that your ten-year old is booked from January to May of 2010 in local theatre? It is July 2009 and the Matron is juggling that far ahead.

And when you follow this Rocket Ship, there's no distinction between a rickety back yard stage and The Guthrie. A show is a show is a show and trumps all else.

Because what if following your child meant that three plus years ago, your then-7 year old had numerous 14 year olds up her sleeve--all theater rats-- and the group conspired to stage some down-home backyard production of Annie involving 28 children, 97 costumes and a pet rat?

You do it. Well, the Matron did.

That show morphed into another and another and this summer is the Fourth Annual Backyard Production, requiring one full week of 5:00-8:30 rehearsals, 23 children, 19 buckets of paint, four seven foot-tall cardboard backdrops, eleven stage curtains and 37 sturdy paper clips, one vomiting session (Satan's Familiar) and a hands-down-no-discussion-policy-of-no-parental-involvement-whatsoever.

Besides feeding them.

Tonight, the Matron picked up a prop and Scarlett screamed: DONT TOUCH THAT.

So she's in the midst of rehearsal for the Fourth Annual Play. Meaning a dozen families drop off their children for a week of nights -- wild, child-driven nights spent painting sets, blocking scenes, practicing songs, hammering stages--with parents positioned in the wings in case anyone needs to be driven to the hospital.

The big production is Saturday at 5 pm. Scarlett is currently existing in a state of Directorial Anxiety. She falls asleep with sheets of paper at her side -- scraps of potential costumes littering her floor, sheet music in the hallway. She wakes up, checks the audition web site, reads the Arts section of the local paper and gets down to making her show.

Scarlett: "Mom. This show ends Saturday at 6 pm. I need another. Can you get me something?"

Following that child. . . . with blisters.

And if the San Diego sit-com works out, she plans to stay here. . . .

Monday, July 20, 2009

Someone Else's Story

About a month ago, theMatron was innocently reading the newspaper when she tripped over this:

"Small Dog Rescue, a nonprofit that rescues small dogs in the upper Midwest, needs foster homes for dogs to stay while they await adoption. Contact. . . "

Just like that, she lost her senses.

She thought: what a great family project, caring for small dogs!

She promptly forgot the other ongoing already existing family projects:

  • caring for the small dog that is Satan's Familiar, he of all things evil
  • caring for the aging dog that is Jekyll, who has regressed to all things Bodily Fluid as he sleeps (and pees, poops and vomits) his way toward a (she hopes) peaceful natural death
  • Scarlett's Fourth Annual Backyard Theatre Production which is currently rehearsing The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and is slowly sucking all the brain cells out of the Matron
  • care and maintenance of the newly minted 13 year old who has high demands for conversation and purchase, these days
  • moving items from where they were dropped to where they actually belong, which is an activity that could take up 120% of the Matron's time and therefore, an activity now being passed onto the children (she hopes)
  • keeping nature --and the bikes, balls, buckets, jump ropes, scooters, chalk-- sufficiently at bay that the neighbors don't start referring to her front yard as the trailer park jungle
Those are just the emergency family projects. Then there's Actual Student Anything.

Still, those senses were gone so she signed on for one more duty in an already busy life. And told her children after the fact, as a surprise.

Joy! Ecstasy! Complete abandon! Praise heaped upon their mother.

Stryker: "For once this family will do something interesting."

Well, okay, begrudging approval. But the other two screamed and whooped.

On the administrative front, the Matron might have signed on to become a CIA Agent, Small Dog Rescue did that much Investigation of her fine self. They called ALL of her many references and even checked in with their vet!

So the Matron was all groovy with the process of being vetted, feeling a new unimagined kinship with Sarah Palin and sort of all process-oriented and down to detail. The Small Dog folk operated by email and she was linked in and looped up and copied about this dog and that, until it was finally established that her first foster dog would be Abby, a toy poodle.

Then she got the email with the 'Information Sheet' on Abby. She clicked on that attachment and started reading.

What are the circumstances of the dog's release? We've had Abby for 13 years, since she was a tiny puppy. For the past 5 years our lives have been very difficult. We haven't been able to afford a vet or groomer. Now we might lose our house. We love Abby very much but with our family situation and troubles and now the house issue, it is clear that we can't take care of her. We've been thinking about this for over a year and the time has come."

The Matron actually honestly hadn't fully realized that these rescued dogs came from somewhere. They had a story. And this one had a family, giving her away.

Later that day she found herself in her kitchen with her family as they gave another family (a husband and wife) privacy -- in the living room -- to say good-bye to the dog they loved and had lived with for over a decade. To say there were tears?

A river ran through them -- all of them.

And the Matron didn't inquire. She didn't try to get detail or reason or background - the why? What happened? What forced you? Are there children? How do they feel? What's the matter?

She wanted to know their story but didn't ask. Instead, she opted for dignity, grace and reassurance.

Afterward, she shut the door behind what looked like a very average middle-class, middle-aged couple holidng each other for support as they wept their way to their car.

Harder still were the two days this little darling spent waiting by the front door for her family's return.

She's better now. Dear little Abby.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Matron's New Gig

The Matronly Online Data Function is sort of like the robot in Lost in Space: danger, danger!

This is her clever way of saying that she has no idea WHO is reading her blog, only how many.

So she can't tell how many of you aren't already Women's Colony readers. For the rest of you, the Matron has been buttering her bread on both sides - burning the candle-- tripping the light fantastic without letting on!

The Women's Colony's founding writer, Mrs. G, has set this online magazine up as a sort of collective and the Matron is one of that pack! If you're one of the (cough mumble) 2 or 3 readers who didn't get here, from there already, check out this fabulous magazine!

Much more on Monday! More dogs! More doings! More Stage Mother (really--and it's good). More work than usual too which is why she's very behind on her Reality Show Blog and why today's post is just shameless self-promotion.