Sundown at Moonlight

AA photo 4 photo 4 (96) photo 1 AAA  I don't remember the last time I spent every day of the week at the beach. I must have been in high school because that's what we'd do then. We'd wake up and ask for a ride to the beach. Or we'd walk, if we were at my friend, Meredith's house. Her backyard had a treehouse with a view of the beach, the kind of thing kids dream about unless it's a part of their reality. It was part of mine and only now do I truly appreciate what that means. Mere's dad built the house himself and we spent our summers in sleeping bags beneath the stained glass and its collage of stars. Sometimes we'd sleep, but that was only after we'd exhausted all conversation. And in the morning we'd wrap our towels (still damp from the day before) around our waists and climb down the winding wooden stairs toward the new day.

There is no place like home when you grow up in a treehouse, overlooking the beach where every ghost begs to be buried alive.

We're the same girls when we get together except now our bellies are swollen and our suits offer more coverage.

I've had a hard time these last few weeks since we've been back. I thought I would feel relieved with the kids back to school but I feel lost. The twins are off for a month and my mom came up to help last week because I was panicked and desperate for some help. (Three periods in five weeks is my body's way of telling me I've taken on too much which I have a tendency to do until I'm literally bleeding out. I finally called the doctor so there's that. I should have called weeks ago so there's that, too.)

The "I got this, no problem" laid back beach Bec has peeled away from the shoreline and can now be found under a table, head in her hands, because "got this, no problem" isn't the truth--not right now, anyway.

It's no wonder that the treehouse sounds pretty nice right about now. 
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Moonlight Beach was ground zero for all of the things that used to break my heart. Now it's just this place that happened once. That beckons and whispers and feels like home in a way it probably shouldn't. And all of these thoughts race through my head as I watch my children... the clash of where I am now in this moment and where I was then in this place. Something I'm sure I've written about 7897918 times before, but there you have it. I feel like I'm still a kid when I come home. I feel like I'm wandering into the place I used to belong hoping that it will reclaim me. Not just Moonlight but all of the beaches here.
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The kids don't know any of those stories. They don't know what I used to do here. They don't know that I used to be someone else here. And I was. I was all of the things I want to keep them away from. I was all the things I want to revisit every day of my life.

I don't want to leave.

Even though it's dark.

Even though I'm holding a dirty diaper in my hand.
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If I squint I can make out my feet as they looked then... tan with toe rings, anklets and the like... 

I used to go where the crowd was sure to gather. Now I find myself turning away as soon as I spot the umbrellas. Too many people... too many places to get lost.

It's a beautiful life, this, and I have never been happier to be where I am at the age that I am with the people I am with. But the familiarity of old friends in an old town, sandwiched between the same sand and sky, takes me back to the days when fake IDs were all we needed to feel like adults.

And coming home is all we need to feel like kids again. (Even when we know the feeling isn't mutual.)

"When I was your age," they used to tell us with cautionary tales and we all rolled our eyes because everything was the worst. And it was, somehow. We had to find fault in our sandcastles in order to prepare for their inevitable disappearance.

We knew, even then, that in time, those summers would be washed away clean.
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And suddenly I am meeting my former self in the middle, trying desperately to catch up.

As they call for me. 

And chase the waves. 

And watch the sun disappear. Without knowing what secrets I have kept. What secrets I am keeping. 
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"What are you thinking about?" my mom asks. 

"Nothing much," I say. 

"Watch this, Mom," Fable says. 

I'm watching.
It's a pain not unlike an itch... A part of me marvels at the collage of then and now... of my children's shadows bumping against my own. But there's also the part that isn't ready for all of this. Like, in my head, I'm sixteen again, except I have to round up four children and pack them into a minivan now because it's dark outside. It's dark and it's cold and I need to put this dirty diaper in a trash can but I don't know where the trash cans are. They used to be right here but now they've moved.

Three weeks later and I'm still trying to find one.
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Alli Collection Scarves/Capes (and Giveaway!)

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My friend, Alli, illustrator extraordinaire, has just come out with her first collection of silk scarves and they're beautiful and lively and interesting and today I get to share them with you and give one away. (Hooray!) Here are some of my favorites from her debut collection, inspired by "Little Edie Beale and the spirit of iconoclastic women."

Each Little Edie scarf is an expression of romance, boldness, fortitude and longing. And like Little Edie herself, these images are imbued with a childlike whimsy and innate chicness. There's also a delicious ironic pleasure in wearing a scarf inspired by one of the world's most legendary scarf wearers: In a moment of meta-design, the scarf depicts Edie wearing a scarf in her signature head wrap. Alli Arnold’s debut collection also features her most popular illustration: "The Skirt". This elegant line drawing conveys a timeless femininity and unwavering confidence with her simple, sexy stride. “My illustration of 'The Skirt' inspires me to put my best foot forward," says Arnold, "and I hope everyone who wears this scarf feels that same boost of confidence."
 Alli Arnold Skirt 2013
As a gift, Alli sent us the anchor scarf and when it arrived in the mail, Fable promptly put it on and wore it as a cape. For the last several weeks she has been wearing it this way to museums and friends' houses and the park, around the house, over her pajamas... 
I almost forgot it was a scarf at all until I tried it on, myself as a headband... 
one and around the neck, of course...
photo 3 and my personal favorite, as a second face on top of my face...
photo 5< Okay, so that's my SECOND favorite way. Nothing can beat Fable wearing it as a cape...
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And so, today I am proud to give away away one scarf/cape to a lucky reader. To win? Tell me about an iconoclastic woman who inspires you. I'll choose one winner next Thursday, September, 4th. In the meantime, Alli is offering 20% off her scarves with code GGC at checkout. All the love,


On Sisterhood and Skateboards and Gripping the Lunchbox with Both Hands

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When the twins were born I wrote a post recognizing myself as a feminist. I had resisted the title for many years because I didn't understand the title. It wasn't until I gave birth to daughters that I recognized the importance of pushing back and standing up and saying something. 

I wrote about my purple skateboard, then--about how, when I was little growing up on a street surrounded by boys, I wanted to be one of them. Except they didn't want me to be a part of their group so they broke my skateboard and told me that girls couldn't skate.

I listened to them. I must have been about seven or eight at the time but those words changed me. I spent my entire high school years dating skateboarders, sitting on their boards, attending their contests, wearing the logos of their sponsors to school on my backpacks and hoodies, hell even shoes. I even worked at a skate shop for two summers, gripping boards and selling trucks and picking up lunch for everyone.

I am bringing this story back from the archives only because, all these years later,  it has been weighing heavy on my heart that I was unable to SEE myself as someone other than the spectator.

Not that I would have ever become a great skateboarder but now I recognize that instead of standing up for myself I sat down. I worshipped the very boys who told me I couldn't. And, embarrassingly enough, a part of me still does.


The day before school started, I took the big kids to Target to pick out their notebooks and lunch boxes. Archer went with a blue sack with ample room for his water bottle and Bento box, Fable chose a Sophia the First lunch box covered in flashing lights.

"Are you sure you don't want this one?" I asked, pulling down a quieter version of the same lunchbox "Or this one with a Hello Kitty?"

"No, Mom. THIS one is MY FAVORITE LUNCH BOX EVER! This is the one. Let's go."

The kids picked out their notebooks and after purchasing a navy dress for Fable to wear on her first day and new navy shirts for Archer, we went home.

That evening, the kids packed their backpacks, laid out their clothes, and the next day were off to their first day of kindergarten and fourth grade.

Their first couple of days went by without a hitch. Fable made an instant friend with whom she sat with at lunch, someone she had never met before. There was one snag, however, and I didn't hear about it until day three when Fable admitted to me that her lunch box had become a target for punching and kicking, flicking and throwing.

It wasn't a complete surprise. A lunch box that lights up when it's touched is a tempting thing for a child to hit, or in this case, a group of boys to karate chop out of Fable's hands.

I felt my fists clench when she described the scene. How she told the boys to stop but they didn't stop. How it wasn't until the girls told them to stop TOGETHER that they finally stopped.

"Good for you," I said. "But maybe we should get you a new lunch box. One that doesn't cause you any grief?"

"No way, Mom! It's MY lunchbox! I love my lunch box!"

I told her to please keep me posted if it happened again and good for her for sticking up for herself.

"I'm glad you found a soul sister who is brave like you," I told her.

It didn't occur to me until much later that night, what had just happened...

Fable, without even realizing she had done so, had accepted that there would be times when what she wore and did and represented would cause some to want to touch, take and dismantle... but instead of wearing a higher-cut top or a quieter color  trading in the light-up lunch box for something that would perhaps garner less attention, keep the boys from hitting, help her stay anonymous in the crowd, she stood up. She stood up to them and she stood up to me and she said the word that I struggled so hard to say as a child, a teenager, a young woman, and even now.

She said no.

"This is my lunch box. I love this lunch box. I chose this lunch box. They're the ones who need to STOP. Not me."
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I wanted to wake her up and tell her how right she was.

I wanted to thank her for showing ME what it means to be a sister, and a feminist and an individual who knows how to say NO to those who are challenging her RIGHT to say YES.

So the next morning I did.

"THIS is why feminism matters..."

Because saying NO to others is not enough sometimes. We need comrades and partners, sisters and brothers, friends and family to help us raise the volume, build our muscles, dance our dance...
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And while we're at it, let us please hold onto our light-up lunch boxes with all of our might, regardless of how tempting they are to others to touch, tamper, take away.

Turning them off should not have to be an option.

My five year old daughter taught me that.
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