Spiders and cobwebs cloak the front porches lining our streets. Kids are over-extended, but vibrant with energy from trunk-or-treats, block parties, and school festivals. Mine certainly are. Six o'clock came way too early for the Gemelli household this morning. I can appreciate the fact that not everybody participates in Halloween. I get it.
But as for my family, I'm going to tell you how Harry Potter became an evangelist this week. And J.K. Rowling might drop her butter beer at the news.
The woman stands in my dining room, swinging the baby cradled in her arms back and forth. Cooing at his chubby, round face, she begins to reminisce. She was too young when she had her first, she tells me—just out of high school.
She's a grandma now. Her eyes glaze over, though, as she describes the terror of telling her parents all those years ago. Run away. Change names. She would have done anything not to have to face them with the news.
Please join me to welcome Meredith Mills to the Gritty Pearl this week. Meredith has a way with words. With a gentle beckon out of the rush, and into the beauty of mindful parenthood moments, she'll bring you home.
Also, writers, don't forget to share your favorite work at the #GritUP Collective, at the bottom of the page. Welcome!
"Somedays she has no idea how she'll do it. But every single day, it still gets done." Unknown
My Kids Can Be Selfish and So Can I: Three Ideas for Building "Otherness" (And #GritUp Writer's Collective)
It's August already. How did that happen? Time flies as the beach beckons, complete with an oversized umbrella and a glass of sweet tea. Many of us have been on the wedding circuit these past few months. Rather than traveling the Tour de Nuptiale, perhaps you've celebrated an anniversary recently. Summertime brings more than its share of opportunities to examine our own relationships as we lend our support to others'.
There are nine of us women. The colors in our eyes are varied - shades of chocolate browns, hazels, greens, and the brightest blues. Our bodies are agile, slow-moving, thin, tall, round, and petite. Our ages range from eighty-seven to eleven. We’re grandmothers, mothers, and young women waiting to discover the rest of our lives.
I call us family.
It’s spring break here in Wilmington and we’re entering week three (year-round schedule). Though I always dread the first few days of our routine change - the boys bickering over games, taking turns, and having constant "fairness" disputes - by the end we’re in sync, and I hate to send them back to class.
This time, the transition looks different. As our kids hit the books, my husband and I will slip away to celebrate our first ten years together. A gaggle of incoming family will be in charge at the Gemelli house so that a couple of tired parents can find rest under a palm tree or two.
Like many of you, the majority of my time is spent as mom, wife, and whatever else is asked of me. Over the years, it’s been easy to lose sight of the simple woman I’ve always been - a daydreaming daughter of God, enthralled with the dialed-down, simple life that used to come naturally.
Returning to her is a purposeful practice that I’ve adopted over the years. As I pack my suitcase and envision my impending escape from responsibility, I remember the words of April Lakata Cao. Her wind-through-the-hair reminder is one that I come back to time and time again. It's about the little things imprinted in our memories, the smells, the freedom, the mistakes, and living to the full.
Here’s hoping that you’ll be inspired to spend time with the you who gets lost in the shuffle too.
Light up the room,
When I was nineteen I had a jacked-up Jeep with big tires. I bought it that way, trading in my sensible, tan, automatic Corolla for a stick-shift Wrangler. To this day I don’t know what possessed me, but I drove that green monster off the lot, lurching and stalling along the way. (Did I mention I had no idea how to drive a stick?)
I never made it home. I ran out of gas on a hill and panicked when I couldn’t figure out how to stop from rolling backwards.
How often do we climb a mountain only to forget where we came from?
Floating horizontal and weightless on the surface of the water, I barely blinked as clouds above me crept their way across the sky. There was no sound, just the muted ebb of water in my ears. My arms worked themselves back and forth, gently raising my head with each stroke. I wondered if I could rest like that forever in this personal lagoon, where dreams took root and conversations with God were as familiar as breathing. Some days there wouldn't be a single boat on the lake. Those were my favorite - not a ripple in sight to disturb the vivid reflections of a changing sky.
February. For some of us, new diets are becoming a struggle and frustration is growing. We're reminded by the pretty faces staring back at us from magazine covers that summer will be here in the blink of an eye. Just when I feel pressure to look my best, I remember that you might be experiencing the exact same thing. I sent this love message to you for the first time three years ago, so internet kin, it's time for a body image revisit...
I've circled this island in my kitchen no less than fifty-two times and I swear, there's NOTHING to eat in this place. I'm tired, irritated, and after putting the boys to bed, I cleaned the you-know-what off the side of the toilets and tile flooring. The stool overflowed again. Some days there isn’t enough Clorox in the world to accomplish the super feats of Mom. It’s only 8pm. I drag like a weary, homemaking soldier headed home from battle and want nothing more than to settle into the respite of my comfy, tan couch.
Believer. Wife. Mom. Writer. Marriage and Family Therapist. Accidental Speaker. Crossfitter and Total Book Nerd.
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PEOPLE I FOLLOW:
BECAUSE I LEARN:
BECAUSE I LAUGH:
Elizabeth Laing Thompson
Liz Curtis Higgs
BECAUSE I ADVOCATE:
Juli Slattery at Authentic Intimacy
BECAUSE I CRY (HAPPILY):
Inspiring Writing Groups:
Suzanne Eller's #LiveFreeThrusday
Holley Gerth's #CoffeeForYourHeart
Kelly Balarie's #RaraLinkup
Jennifer Duke Lee's #TellHisStory
Susan Mead's #DanceWithJesus