Mar 102010

“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” Brian Andreas

As you know, Bubba is a wise man. Mostly, I believe the same things about life that Bubba does, and I teach my children the same things he taught me.

With one rather important exception.

Bubba taught us to NEVER QUIT. Growing up, it was important to think twice, for example, before taking up gymnastics or the viola, because you just knew you would be turning cartwheels while fiddling at your own funeral. I really do appreciate and respect his position on this. His mentors are Vince Lombardi and Joe Paterno, after all. But I have a very different position than he does about quitting. I think quitting is exactly the right thing to do sometimes. I actually love quitting. It often takes a lot of quits to find the right fit. I think sometimes quitting something that’s not working requires a lot of self awareness and courage.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently. Because my family is about to make a BIG quit and a BIG New Try.

The Meltons are quitting life as we know it.

We’re responding to a feeling down deep in our souls, in that place that won’t be ignored, that our family needs something different. Something other than the high paced life we’re struggling to keep up with right now. This is how I feel about raising three children and a marriage and trying to keep track of the PTA meetings and birthday parties and fundraisers and thank you notes and athletics and play dates and girls’ nights out and storytimes and life in the suburban fast lane. Just this. This is Craig and me. Everyday. Obviously, I’m Lucy, for too many reasons to discuss today. Craig is Ethel. Just imagine her with better abs.

In short, we feel like a family stuck on a roller coaster who would prefer to be pulled along gently in a Radio Flyer Wagon. And for years we’ve dreamed of dropping out. Of literally stepping back from the conveyor belt, slowing down, and focusing up. In three weeks, we’re doing it.

It’s been a tough year for our family. The Lyme has changed us forever. Mostly for the good, as far as I can see.

Monkees, we’re moving.

We’re pulling our kids out of school, packing our bags and renting a little house on the Chesapeake Bay in a Norman Rockwell town in which the only store is the Ice Cream/ Gossip shop. We won’t have a mall or restaurants or beauty salons but we will have a big front porch to sit on and watch our neighbors walk by and a back porch to watch the fishing boats haul in their catches for the day. And that’s what we’re gonna do.

We’re going to sit on our dock of the bay and watch time roll away. We’re going to count oyster shells and catch crabs and spend Sundays at the local church and then walk to the farmers’ markets. We’re going to hike the half mile to Bubba and Tisha’s house for dinner, or maybe kayak over on an especially nice evening. My girls and I are going to wear sundresses and flip flops exclusively. Chase is going to carry his fishing pole around like Huck Finn. We’re going to say ya’ll a lot and try hard to develop some sort of accent. I have no idea what else we’re going to do with our time. I guess we are going to do whatever it is that people do when there is nothing else to do. Except drugs. I really hope there are other options.

I’m aware that all of our problems won’t be solved by moving. As Bubba says, “Wherever you go, there you are.” But I think it’s worth a try. I want to honor each of the deep desires of my soul, in case God put them there as the stepping stones toward my best life. So, I am going to honor my soul’s desire to live in a place that matches my insides a little closer. My insides are slow. I want to live in a place where it’s okay to be slow.

I want to have no schedule, nothing on my To Do list other than enjoy my kids and read and write and pray and heal. Not just from the Lyme, from everything. I want fewer options, less noise, fewer cars and stores and outings that require dressing nicely. I want more space, not like walk-in-closet- space but can’t- see- another-soul-space. I want more empty time. I want to learn how to relax. I want to deal with fewer people more intimately. I want to go to a small town church every Sunday morning. I actually want to plant a garden, which is a desire I find absolutely inexplicable. I want there to be fewer things I have to buy. Fewer meetings to forget about. Less less less. I just want Craig. And my kids. And my mom and dad. And the water.

We’ve rented our little water house for six months. Maybe we’ll be back sooner. Maybe we’ll never be back. I absolutely love not knowing.

I’d like to invite you Monkees to come with me on this new adventure. Not much will change… I’ll just write to you from my back porch, watching the sunrise on the bay. And I’ll tell ya what it’s like to be a drop out.

To anticipate a few of your questions…Yes, we will keep our house here, Craig will commute back and forth. He’ll work from the bay house often. He can do that since he sells soft silverware. No, we can’t afford to do this. But more importantly, we can’t afford not to. And yep, I’m nervous about homeschooling Chase. As the #1 fan of public schools, I never planned to make this decision. But we all know that life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

So Chase. Listen Up, Brother. Homeschool Lesson #1:

When life gives you Lyme (or something comparable),

It becomes time to Follow your Dreams.

Even, especially, if they seem quite nonsensical and inconvenient.

Because that’s how you know they’re your dreams

And not someone else’s.

You’re Dismissed Honey. Now go check the crab pots.

P.S. Ya’ll come visit, you hear?

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest

Mar 092010

I’ve been avoiding writing about how sick I am, because Momastery is supposed to be a hopeful place and sickness is so ugh. But in addition to hopeful, this is also an honest place. And life is painful sometimes so it’s probably best not to pretend otherwise.

It is becoming obvious that my fantastic wit and charm are not going to get me out of this Lyme disease debacle. I am shocked and offended by this, really. The truth is that Lyme has me so sick and tired that finding the gusto to even use adjectives these days is tough. What I really want to write to you every morning is:

Yo. Sick. Tired. Enjoy day. Love, G

But then I think of all the wonderful messages and well wishes you’d send me after a post like that and it feels excruciating for some reason. It’s like that quote from William Blake that I read in one of Lamott’s books,“We are put on this earth to endure the beams of love.” Beams of love are tough to endure, though I’m not sure why.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about all of you mothers out there who are sick and raising your babies in the shadow of exhaustion and hopelessness and darkness and pain. To you, I just want to say hello. Hello. Thank you for existing. Thank you for making it through the long days. When I’m feeling bad, thinking about you both breaks my heart and encourages it.

It’s hard enough to be a healthy mother, but when you’re sick, there are all these layers of guilt and anger and fear piled on top of the normal mommy layers that make things very, very heavy. When a mother becomes sick, her vulnerability makes her love her children even more, but her weakness makes her unable to care for them the way she wants to, and this feels a bit like torture.

All I have the energy to do these days is hug and smell and squeeze my children. I am so needy, but I can’t give them what they need. I can’t play. I can’t be patient. I can’t even be kind on my bad days.

Last week was so tough that the four of us just sat on the couch and watched TV all day, every day. Morning till night. Show after show after show after God forsaken show. I did nothing but try my hardest not to look weak and pathetic and to smile at them occasionally. I felt guilty and worthless. I also felt panicked that because of my sickness I was missing chunks of their childhood. In the midst of the guilt and the panic I thought… Well, at least things can’t get any worse. But then I got sicker and I stopped feeling guilty and panicked…I couldn’t even find the energy to care. And that was worse.

It’s like how a month ago I felt so guilty that I couldn’t summon the energy to make out with Craig and now some days I can’t even find the energy to smile at Craig. That’s worse.

It’s like how I used to spend so many of my healthy days wishing someone would help me take care of these damn kids and now I just want more than anything to have the ability to take care of my own damn kids. That’s worse.

So anyway. Today is just one of those Keep it Real Momastery days, Sisters. Life is tough. Nobody ever told me otherwise. I can take it. I can stay hopeful. I can do hard things. But it’s important to say it sometimes. Life is tough.

There’s good news, too. All this drama has led to some big decisions. Some big, life-changing decisions that I’ll share tomorrow. And I remain hopeful, as always. I’m comforted by my belief that if I’m in a valley, and I just keep walking, I’ll eventually find myself atop a mountain. Yeah, I do. I really believe that crap. I have good reason to.

To all of you mommies who are sick or tired or depressed or angry or alone or in some way feel like you’ve got one arm tied behind your back… Thank you. Thank you for keeping the faith. Thank you for getting out of bed each morning and putting one foot in front of the other out of sheer will and hope and love. How do you DO IT? How do we do it, ladies?

We are warriors, we mothers.

Love to you and to your babies,


Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest

Mar 082010

It’s Monkday, friends, otherwise known as…Momastery Beauty Collection day. It’s the day we Monkees take a vow of silence (no comments) to let the beauty offered soak in real good. While I’m at it, I’m going to take vows of poverty and celibacy too, because I’d like some public credit for the lifestyle I’m already living. The rest of you can choose to commit only to silence, though, if things are going better for you at home.

Anyway…on to the beauty of the day.

Some of you have inquired about my political views.

This is probably the closest I’ll get to discussing What I’m For. I think it’s good enough.

Also….since I promised myself I’d never lie to you people, I should also mention that nobody really asked me about my political views. But doesn’t it make me sound quite important and fancy to say that people have? “Oh, hello…Some of you have inquired about my political views.” Love it. So fancy. Not true, but fancy. Like my hair color.

Love, G

P.S. Second Official Hermit Crab Book Club Meeting is coming up. Finish Same Kind of Different as Me, prepare your koffee and krumpets and meet us first thing Thursday morning!

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest