Feb 182010

A Guest Post from Our Cindy….

I was very ill my sophomore year in high school. At one point, the doctors discovered what they thought was a pituitary tumor in my brain. I remember the pediatric oncologist coming in to sit on the side of my bed with my mother looking on. I heard him talking. But I didn’t really HEAR them, if you know what I mean. I heard brain surgery and that they would surgically be entering my mouth under my nose. Suddenly I became focused on my nose. I then heard the words radiation therapy. At that point I had heard enough from the doctor. So being a typical 15 year old, I left the room to go hang out with my friend in the hallway . I hung out with my friend who sat there with me in the empty pediatric ward hallway that night. That friend was there to just BE.

Glennon’s mother, “Tisha,” was my high school counselor. The day before my surgery, there was a knock at my front door. There stood Mrs. Doyle, Glennon, and Mandy. I can remember looking into each of their eyes. I saw looks of compassion, concern, and fear. Here in front of them was a high school girl getting ready to face brain surgery and the possibility of brain cancer. They knew that if something went wrong in surgery my sight could be affected forever. There in their hands was an offering, a small basket holding a porcelain glitter rainbow unicorn. They were there for me. THEY were here just to BE. Thankfully when they performed my surgery, it was not a tumor, but an abscess. Therefore, no cancer.

You know what, Glennon, outside of my parents, your mother taught me the meaning of just how to BE for people. She would give guidance when needed or asked. But most importantly she listened without judging. My parents taught me to BE, your mother taught me to BE, my faith taught me to BE. And learning how to just beprepared me for my life in nursing.

I am now a Family Nurse Practitioner in the Emergency Room. I initially started out in the Adult ICU on the night shift as a registered nurse. The night shift was quiet. During the night shift my coworkers and I were on our own. During the night shift I learned to BE for my patients. I remember one family who couldn’t bear to sit by their mother, because they felt it was time to let go. So each night, I sat there with her. Do for others as you would want them to do for you. I just didn’t want her to be alone. I performed my bed side nursing, gave her bed baths, and I talked with her. There was never a physical response except for fluctuations in her heart rate. But I wanted to just BE for her. I held her hand as she left this world.

From there, I moved on to Pediatric Oncology both as a registered nurse and family nurse practitioner. That, Monkees, is where my heart has always been. These amazing children go on living and BEING despite living their cancer. These children and families have been my teachers. They have taught me to BE in life, no matter what life presents. During that time in my career, I primarily worked night shift. Again, the night shift was quiet. During night shift I was on my own with these families in the stillness. During the night shift, I had some of the most touching experiences with these families. Sometimes the teenagers who didn’t want to talk openly about their fears of cancer to their parents for fear of causing them stress, would talk to me, instead. I would just BE. Sometimes the mother or father would come out to talk to me after their child would fall asleep. They would talk to me, the nurse, about their fears because they didn’t want their child to see their tears. I would just BE.

The Emergency Room is definitely a different pace, a different world. Sometimes, outside of needing an antibiotic, stitches, or cast the patient or family just need to be heard. So I stop and BE there, too. Recently, a patient came in with a dislocated ankle. I brought my supervising physician in to take a look. He looked me and said, “Let‘s get her ready for sedation, you manage her airway, I’ll pop her ankle in place.” The amazing ER team went to work like busy bees in a rhythm. I was at the patient’s head. She was in pain, anxious, tearful, fearful of pain. At that moment I stopped. I brushed the hair away from her face, wiped her tears away, and she talked while I listened. She looked at me said, “Please don’t leave me. Please be by my side during this.” So there I was, to just BE. As she slipped into sedation and her eyes closed, I went back to my job of managing her airway and providing her with oxygen by bag. Before she knew it, her ankle was back in place and there she slept peacefully. No pain, no tears, just peace.

But, you want to know the kicker, Monkees? Ask me to BE for a patient and I will do it with no problem. But ask me to BE for family and friends… now that is easier said than done. For my husband, I am so focused on BEING his wife, his confidante, his friend, that sometimes I forget to just BE there for him. For my children, I want so badly to BE their protector and encourager that I forget to let them just BE a kid. For my friends, I want so badly to be their problem solver and to bring them happiness and peace that sometimes I forget that they don’t want me to solve their problems, but just to BE.

As I open up Momastery each morning, I continue to learn how to just BE. Glennon, you are teaching me, teaching us, teaching the Monkees to BE. That is a gift that will keep on giving and giving. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me on that day before my surgery. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me, for us, now.

Feb 192010

Hello Lovies.

It’s Friday. We made it. Inhale, Exhale.

Sister was over last night and we talked a lot about ya’ll. Also, she bought us pizza. She always offers to pay and I pretend to object and then sigh and sit back down quickly. It takes a big woman to allow her unpaid slave freeing Sister to spring for her family’s pizza…and I am that big woman.

Craig and I have rarely eaten out without Sister paying our bill. Usually, she’s not even with us. She just finds out where we’re eating, calls the restaurant, and takes care of it. The waiter comes to our table with a big smile (Sister is a good tipper) and says, your bill is taken care of. And we smile and leave. We have come to expect this. Occasionally, (and quite irresponsibly) Sister forgets and the waiter brings us the bill like we’re just any old family. We are, of course, horribly offended. Craig smiles patiently at the waiter, hands him back the bill and say, “Oh, there must be some mistake…we are The Meltons. THE. MELLLL-TONS.” And we all stare at the waiter wide-eyed, waiting for him to get it. The waiter usually stares back, places the bill on the table and walks away. Then we drive home and talk about how selfish and distracted from us Sister has been lately. We always forgive her though, because she’s family. But we make a point to call her immediately and tell her all about our embarrassing moment because it’s important to allow people the chance to do better next time.

This is not what I was going to write about today.

Here’s the Momastery haps. My Lymie Mono is sucking me dry. My very good friend, Erin, who is doing an amazing job over at Full At Last, reprimanded me recently for not getting enough sleep. She suggested that since bodies repair themselves during rest times, perhaps I should be sleeping past 4:30 am. She suggested maybe I post less often. Don’t be mad at her, she just loves me even more than she loves Momastery.

So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m going to go ahead and post more often, which is pretty close to what Erin was suggesting. A little different maybe, but close.

Lv2run said she’s having a hard time on Saturdays, because she doesn’t have Momastery. Isn’t that something? We are starting to depend on each other and I love that. Tomorrow, in honor of Lv2run, Saturday will become Inspiration Saturday. Every Saturday I will post a special quote or a poem. I love poetry… it touches my heart and comforts and inspires me, and I want to share that with you. I’d also like to invite Chimmy, Momastery’s poet laureate, and other Monkee poets to share their work with us. Also, there are many Monkees who don’t consider themselves poets, but appreciate poetry so much that they have become passionate about sharing it. They are like beauty collectors….Diane comes to mind. So if you are a poet or a beauty collector, and you discover a poem, short story, or quote that you think would be perfect for Inspiration Saturday, send it my way.

FURTHERMORE. Many of you have requested more family pictures. I avoid posting pictures too often because this blog isn’t about my family, it’s about all of us. It’s about your family just as much as mine, and so I avoid too much of that based on principle. But here’s the deal. I’m usually excellent at sticking to my principles until I get tired. And I’m a little tired. So…starting next week we’ll kick off “Picture of the Week” day. Once a week I’ll post no essay, just a picture. And yes, yes, I am aware that when you ask for pictures of the family you really mean pictures of Craig. I’ll see what I can do. I think this new plan will work out well. Once a week- you get Craig, I get sleep. Good stuff.

Lastly, on Picture Day and Inspiration Saturday I am going to close comments. This is not because I don’t love your comments. It is actually because I am completely obsessed with your comments. It’s because I check the blog 400 times a day to see if you’ve left any new comments and I read and reread and rereread them and my kids are starving. I need to start feeding them more often during the day. They’re getting really skinny. I need to get a grip, Monkees, at least twice a week.

Okay. Check back this afternoon for your Cocktale with Adrianne. And tomorrow for some beautiful poems. And leave me a comment, please. My kids ate a lot of pizza last night so they should be fine till Craig gets home tonight.

Love you, Sweet Monkees.


Feb 192010


Glennon has mentioned her collection of wooden word signs in several Momastery posts. Her signs say things like, Simplify, Love is patient, love is kind, and Prayer changes things. What she didn’t tell you is that I’m responsible for a fair portion of her collection. It all started when I and two other friends had a sign made for Glennon as a birthday gift several years ago. She went on and on about how much she liked the gift. After that, whenever I spotted a board sign that reminded me of Glennon, I’d buy it for her and leave it on her porch. Every time I took a trip to Homegoods, both of our wooden word sign collections grew. And since the mounting hardware on most Homegoods items is just a touch off-center, none of them are level.

I have decided to stop cluttering up Glennon’s house with word signs. (I can take a hint.) Instead, I’ve been concentrating on cluttering up my own property a bit more. The inside of our house has at least one sign in every room, so I had to take my habit outside. My most recent purchase is a big wooden Life is Good sign to hang in our back yard this spring. It will be placed directly underneath the wooden plaque already hanging back there that says, Welcome to our Deck. There is plenty of room left back there for more, so I really don’t see an end to all this.

I’m not sure why so many of us enjoy hanging word signs in our homes, but we do. Maybe we like them because they are a way for us to come right out and say what is important to us. We can let certain values be known, loud and clear. (I know a LOT of people who firmly believe we should all Live well, Laugh often, Love much.) Or maybe we’re just drawn to them because we grew up in homes with signs and quotes, and they make us feel nostalgic. Glennon grew up reading Bubba’s sign that said, Don’t be so humble – you are not that great. Something about that sign must have stuck with Glennon because she really is one the most courteously respectful people I know. She has lots of reasons to be arrogant, but she isn’t. I especially love how she humbly offers her heart to us on this blog.

I grew up with signs too. The one that I remember most vividly hung in our dining room. It was a quote by Carl Schurz that said, My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. I cannot imagine how many times I must have read that sign over the course of my life. Its message must have stuck with me and my big brother because we both are passionate today about our beliefs about this country and what is best for it. The funny part is that we are polar opposites regarding our political views. So even though we were raised together in a house where political ideas and opinions were discussed at the dinner table, my brother and I avoid the topic these days in order to keep peace in the family. The fact that he lives on one side of the country and I live on the other is also helpful. (Note that I followed the rules and managed to write that paragraph without actually telling you my political views…or explaining in great detail why I am right and my brother is so very wrong.)

So if wooden word signs helped make Glennon humble and turned me into a political big-mouth, perhaps I ought to put more thought into the signs currently adorning my home and influencing my kids’ behavior. I’m thinking that some of our signs might be too vague. There is one hanging above my daughter’s bedroom doorway that says, Live a good life. That signs leaves a bit too much room for interpretation for my liking. After all, she and I could have two very different definitions of the term good life. Maybe I should take that sign down and replace it with a clearer directive, like Earn a Full College Scholarship.

My favorite sign in our house is hanging in our playroom. Before I tell you what it says, I need to point out one of the signs hanging in Glennon’s house. It will be another fun comparison of her sweet to my spicy, my yin to her yang. You can make your own conclusions about what effects these signs are having on our children. In Glennon’s basement, which is decorated in a style I like to call preschool-meets-toy-store-awesomeness, she has a Dr. Seuss quote on the wall that reads, A person’s a person, no matter how small. Isn’t that sweet? No wonder kids feel loved and valued at the Melton house. Whenever my daughter’s play time at the Melton’s house comes to an end, she never ever wants to leave. Perhaps going home to play does not appeal to her because the sign in our playroom is less sweet than the one in Glennon’s. Hanging directly above a rack of toy bins at a child’s eye level is a sign that reads, BE NICE OR GO AWAY.

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