ÂŠ 2017 Wildling Magazine All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced by any means without prior written consent from the publisher, except for brief portions quoted for the purpose of review, as permitted by copyright law. www.wildlingmagazine.com email@example.com Instagram @wildlingmagazine Facebook facebook.com/wildlingmagazine Front Cover image by Miss Figuette Back Cover image by Nancy Ebert Inside Cover image by KC Lostetter Back Inside Cover image by Rebecca Lindon
CONTENTS VOLUME 8 March 2017
Monty & Co.
Phang-Nga & Phuket
Raising Global Guardians
The Mindful Parent
Treasuring The Chaos
Sas & Yosh
An Unbreakable Bond
The Quiet Voice of Courage
Danielle Chassin www.globalguardianproject.com KC Lostetter www.kclostetterphotography.com Charlene Hardy www.charlenehardyphotography.com Jessica Ellis Porter www.jleighcaptures.com Karina Papadopoulos www.woodlandgirls.com Cindy Johnson www.cindyjohnsonboudoirphotography.com Rebecca Lindon www.rebeccalindon.com Amber Hatch www.amberhatch.com Beth Kempton www.dowhatyouloveforlife.com Nancy Ebert www.nancy-ebert.de Marshes & Flint www.marshesandflint.co.uk
Image by KC Lostetter
In February this year, I embarked on a 6-month travel adventure with my two children aged 2 and 5. Our journey will take us through SE Asia and on to Australia and New Zealand in a bid to introduce them to cultures, vegetation, food and wildlife unlike their own back in England. More importantly, I hope to instill a deep understanding that the world is a welcoming, magical place and give them a sense of wanderlust in their formative years. In the current political environment, this has become even more pertinent. That is really what Wildling Magazine is all about and I am so thankful to be meeting up with some of the friends I have made over the last two years whilst curating this project. I’ll also be adding to our ‘Motherhood’ video series as we travel (check out our youtube if you haven’t seen these yet) to share a snapshot of how motherhood looks on the other side of the world… much the same at its core, it seems. In Volume 8 you can read about the first chapter of our journey in our Thailand travel diary as well as hearing from one of the women behind the Global Guardian Project, reading a touching tale of adoption and learning more about mindfulness in motherhood. Charlene Hardy shares her experiences of mothering three daughters, Cindy Johnson shares her photography project based around the Japanese art of Kintsugi and there are fashion editorials, travel diaries and artisan profiles galore. Enjoy!
Rebecca Lindon Editor-in-Chief
RAISING GLOBAL GUARDIANS PERSONAL ESSAY words by Danielle Chassin and photography by Camille Zara Ansar and Danielle Chassin
I grew up in a family of five, two parents and three children. I was the oldest, very independent and introverted. My parents believed very much in the value of a good work ethic, which meant they wanted us to learn to do things through hard work and perseverance. They also put a strong emphasis on honesty and following through on our promises. They didn’t push any sort of political or extra-curricular agenda on us. They let us identify our interests and then encouraged us to pursue them. Because of this, we all had fairly different interests. I spent many hours in my own imagination every day, dreaming up stories and scenarios, usually about me living in a forest as a fairy among plants and small creatures. I was also very sensitive, and my big imagination, which in a child is intimately connected to empathy, led me down the path of caring deeply for animals and plants. In my young imaginations, I was sure that flowers and trees communicated with each other, it was just that us humans didn’t understand their language. This empathy and connection I had, which came about from imagining their lives, led me from a young age to care for all living things and the planet’s ecosystems. I really thought of the planet as a living body. This naturally led me to find ways to care for it. From as young as I can remember, I would secretly go through the garbage at home and take things out that I thought could be reused. I would keep them in my room and try to invent things with them, so they wouldn’t end up in landfill. I refused to eat meat and animal flesh from as young as I knew it was an animal I was being served. Over time, I also dropped all animal products because I couldn’t bear the thought of eating from an animal I felt so connected to. As a young child, I imposed my ideas about family,
friends and dreams onto animals and so I didn’t want to steal this from them in order to eat. I was a little precocious, you might say. I think that children are born with a deep connection to nature, and that this connection is often lost or suppressed in the First World. I think many parents recognize that this loss is happening and are actively working against it. I see the surge of writing and groups related to raising wild children as a reaction to the perceived and real decline in our connection to nature. I think the easiest thing we can do to combat that loss is to foster the connection that is already there. In other words, nurture childrens’ interest and connection with nature, plants and animals. Sometimes I think that parenting is made easier through the suppression of that connection. For example, we walk or bike almost everywhere we go. It might make walking faster if I downplay the beauty of a stick or pebble along the way that has got them lingering too long at a corner, but by saying: “It’s just a stick, come on let’s go, we have important things to do!”, I am suggesting that sticks and pebbles and petals shouldn’t be given such high regard or that spending time with nature and natural objects isn’t important. That, I think, contributes to a suppression of a child’s natural connection. I focus on spending as much time as possible out in nature, year round. But I don’t overthink what counts as nature. There is no need to drive to the mountains for a hike or visit a zoo or botanical garden. Grass is plant life and when you look closely there is much to observe. We think of animals in the broad sense, we don’t need to track deer to observe wild animals, insects are everywhere and we can learn a lot from them. All animals are important and all have something to teach us about our humanity.
Ultimately, I strive to be creative and open minded about nature and how we can connect with the planet. The wild could be a field of wildflowers on an abandoned city lot — tread lightly by the edge, observe and learn. The wild could be lifting up rocks at the public park to say hello to beetles and worms. The more children (and we adults) have real life experiences with living plants and animals the more we can empathize with them, the more we feel a part of their world, and us a part of theirs. Our interdependence becomes obvious and our interconnectedness becomes embodied. As a mother, I try to create conditions in which my children will have some of their best memories and life experiences out in nature. Through those happy, positive memories of birthday parties at the park, summers swimming in the river and making stick forts, they will strengthen their bond with nature and are more likely to want to protect and act as stewards of the natural world, at least in part because nature forms such a positive part of their life history. My children are six years apart in age, so they are in very different places developmentally. My daughter, Ro, has always had a special connection with animals. We sometimes joke that she is like Snow White because wild animals will come right up to her, they trust her completely. She has always cared about protecting animals from harm, and perhaps surprisingly, even living downtown we have spent many hours and days helping frogs cross the road, making turtle crossing signs and moving snails to the shade. This is all possible because we are very fortunate to be able to live a block from an inlet that is thriving with life. Ro became more environmentally motivated when she learned that city dumps existed.
She was appalled by the amount of garbage, a literal “trash mountain”, that people willingly produced. That was the start of her caring about minimizing waste and actively supporting recycling and composting. My son, Sen, is still young and his motivation is emotional more than rational. He enjoys nature, loves animals and the beauty of plants, so he naturally wants to protect them. Like many young children he gets very upset when he sees a dead animal or garbage left in a public place. When he learned that sea animals were dying because of plastic pollution, even plastic waste that is far inland, he became very motivated to pick up garbage everywhere we went. He’s been known to yell “stop!” as we are biking somewhere because he sees a plastic bag or spoon on the ground. As much as caring for the planet can be inconvenient to busy schedules and parenting I try my best to always make sure I support my children’s efforts to care for the planet, even if it means stopping the bikes five times on the way to ballet class. The Global Guardian Project was my friend, Rebecca Lane’s idea. Rebecca is an artist who is passionate about global education and environmental stewardship, especially endangered animal protection. She wanted to develop tools for parents and educators to help raise children to be environmental stewards or as she calls them “global guardians”. Essentially, the idea behind GGP is to raise children differently, so they will treat the planet better than the current generation has. Rebecca approached me to collaborate with her on the project because she knows the project’s mission aligns with my interests and skills. Rebecca is the founder and owner of the project, I am her enthusiastic collaborator.
Currently GGP develops a new learning capsule each month, focused on a particular country; its endangered species, plants, local activists and so on. The information is a great learning resource for schools and home educators as it covers curriculum basics, but also informs and inspires children about the natural world, sparks curiosity and offers tools, ideas, projects and strategies to become stewards of the planet. Our capsules aim to teach science, engineering, technology, math, arts and language in an interesting way that applies to real life situations. Another big part of our mission is to help children understand that they donâ€™t have to wait to be grown up to be positive changemakers, by sharing stories of young activists and simple actions we can all take, we seek to empower children to be the change. GGP also maintains a blog, where we share free resources, art downloads, interviews and other information, from time to time. We have dreams to expand our offerings furtherâ€Ś all in due time.
Global Guardian subscribers receive a new learning capsule every month. The capsule is a rich multimedia magazine, that includes original podcasts and videos, art downloads, maps, activity sheets, and over 50 pages or original curriculum content. Subscribers can print the text components or use them digitally. Travellers and worldschoolers love our format, because they can carry loads of learning materials on an iPad, our capsules are like a Kindle for schools. We hear from parents and educators all the time that they love the materials and how well suited the lessons are to the challenges of our world. Our favourite thing to hear, though, are all the stories of children starting up projects and taking action, getting excited about beach clean ups and visiting animal rehabilitation centres, telling their friends about coral reefs and helping their parents look for organic and fair trade labels. Thatâ€™s exactly what we were hoping for and it gives us so much hope for the future!
NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL ESSAY words and photography by KC Lostetter
This trip was really special for us. There is a lot of fear when having children that your travel adventures have to come to an end when adding to the family. We truly believed that travel didsnâ€™t have to end and having our daughter with us, made the trip so much more meaningful. Keelin was almost 10 months when we jumped on a plane from Hawaii to Auckland for a 10 day trip. As soon as we landed, we hopped one more plane to start our adventure on the South Island. We picked up our camper van in Christchurch, with a flexible schedule/plan for the 10 day trip. Having the camper van as a means for transportation and place to sleep at night made the trip so much easier. We were able to stop when we needed, whether that be for food, exploring, play or rest. New Zealand makes it incredibly easy to travel this way with plenty of camping opportunities, and we were able to stock up on food, diapers and other necessities throughout the trip. On the South Island we did some hiking, saw a glacier, explored national parks, snow capped mountain views, saw monk seals, and went wine tasting. We then took the ferry (its own adventure) across the Cook Strait to Wellington on the North Island with our camper van and we were ready for more exploring. Each Island was uniquely its own. The North Island, full of rolling green hills and hoards of sheep, lent itself to sunshine and warmer weather. On the North Island we swam in a natural hot spring, visited Hobbiton, attended a Maori Cultural Center, and took ferries to a few of the islands near Auckland. After 10 days of vacation, intentionally unplugging our phones from social media contact, and spending time as a family, we were convinced that travel is still very much possible with children and that we should purchase a camper van. After living in Hawaii for the last 4.5 years, our little family will be relocating to the mainland United States. We are so excited to explore the National Parks of North America, hopefully with a new camper van. If I could give two tips for traveling with children they would be to pack as minimalist as possible (you donâ€™t need all the gadgets and equipment) and be flexible! If you can be flexible the kids can be flexible and everyone will have a good time.
DAUGHTERS PERSONAL ESSAY words and photography by Charlene Hardy
Growing up my daughters each had their own very unique personality. The one thing all three had in common was keeping me on my toes as to what to expect. My daughters all went through different stages in their young years, sometimes they loved princesses and pink and when I would be so tired of seeing pink and playing with princess dolls, they seemed to grow into the next phase. When my second daughter was five, all she wanted to wear was a dress that was silver, every day she asked and begged to wear her shiny dress. I remember her running home after school and changing out of her dress and into a pair of pants declaring she was going to grow up to be a firefighter. I think it was great that as young children they had the confidence and sense of adventure to change their likes and dislikes, trying out new things until they found things they were passionate about. As young children the three girls spent lots of time in our playroom together, making classrooms out of boxes then the next day the boxes would be cages for stuffed animals at their pretend refuge. I love that they all had very different interests as young girls because that taught them valuable lessons about playing together, trying out new ideas and being open to another personâ€™s suggestions. As they got older their play time slowly changed into trying on different clothes to make new outfits, running offices, being president and creating videos with their Ipods. The one thing that didnâ€™t change is they played together, had fun together, fought with each other and learned how to get along together. After my first daughter was born, I was pleasantly surprised that she had her own little unique personality right from birth. At that point in time I thought the personality was related to genetics or environment and assumed my next children would share the same personality traits. I was so wrong about that theory! My oldest was very social as a baby, babbling and staring at anyone in sight. She was laid back, didnâ€™t demand to be held and would talk herself to sleep at night. My second arrived and she suffered from colic and allergies, was not laid back and mellow like my first. My second screamed when anyone touched her or tried to hold her. I could not believe how opposite they were. Then along came the third baby girl and she was a whole different little person. My third soon took the place of the family clown, she was shy like my second but loved to get people to smile. It is funny how some of those strong personality traits followed them into childhood and are still present now as they approach adulthood. I often wonder how people with the same parents, growing up in the same environment can have such different personalities.
I really had no idea what to expect as my daughters grew in age and maturity. I had friends with teenage children and it always struck me how independent the teens were, making plans with friends and schedules full of activities. I assumed that as children grew older they would spend less and less time with their parents. I have found this to be true - up to a point. My children do spend less of their free time hanging out with mom or playing in the playroom but during the teen years, I have found the parents’ role and responsibility becomes of greater importance. I have seen and heard firsthand what the teens growing up today are faced with. They have challenges I could have never imagined as a young adult myself. I have found creating a safe place for them to come home to, an understanding ear to listen to them as they try to find their way with friends and in society has become a huge role in my life. My goal has shifted from trying to teach them how to play nicely with each other to helping and guiding them into the next chapter of life as responsible, truthful and caring individuals. I will be honest, watching my oldest transition into the teen years was rough at times and simply amazing during other times. It was heart wrenching to watch her encounter problems that I didn’t see coming or as a mother just couldn’t fix for her. Her friends changed and school became more difficult. No one told me as a mother it would hurt so bad to watch someone else go through this time in their life. But then there would be days where that shining, social personality would just radiate and she would accomplish goals we never thought possible. If I were to describe parenting during my oldest’s transition into young adulthood I would sum it up as emotionally challenging. I was used to kissing boo-boo’s and making everything better and I felt absolutely powerless. Every day though she made me proud either through accomplishing a goal or how she dealt with a particular problem she was having. I was so impressed with the dignity and strength she faced in the early teenage years. As when they were babies, toddlers and small children, my daughters each had their own unique set of challenges and their own ways of dealing with adversity. My second daughter dealt with similar problems but the way she approached the problems she faced was in a completely different manner, meaning everything we learned and thought we could apply the second time around has changed. The friends still changed and school become more difficult but instead of talking about it, my second daughter held everything in. She liked solving her own problems and we had to work really hard to teach her that it was ok to let us know what was going on, even if it was maddening or embarrassing. My new motto for surviving the teenage years is to be flexible and remember to have lots of patience. As my girls are growing into adulthood I see my role changing from someone who takes care of them to someone who supports them. I love watching each one of them take their own paths into the world and learn as they are growing. I love it when they come to me just to talk and tell me about what is going on in their lives. I enjoy watching them explore and discover new talents that I know nothing about. This really is a period of time filled with so much growth and discovery. At first it felt strange to take a step back and just allow myself to observe them but now I relish every chance I get to just be there and watch them take these steps into adulthood.
My daughters make me proud every single day. I get to see them face difficult decisions with the ease and confidence I wish I had when I was their age. Each one of them is talented in their own unique way. I have had the opportunity to watch them do activities from pole vaulting to ballet, piano to playing the bass, helping friends to having the strength to allow others to help them. I have never faced some of the social challenges they have had to face but watching them take these challenges head on always makes my heart swell with pride. But more than anything else, the simple acts of kindness I witness my daughters doing everyday makes me the very proudest. My youngest went through a period of time when she would come home from school every day hungry. I would open her lunch box and every last crumb was gone. I would pack more but it never seemed like she got enough to eat. One day I decided to surprise her at school and eat lunch. While I was there I witnessed her giving her food away to her best friend whose lunch lacked substance and quantity. My daughters have taught me so much. I am constantly reminded to speak gentler words to my own peers and to try to find those random acts of kindness to do for others. They have also taught me to have fun in life and have the courage to try new things. I am so amazed at how much each one of my girls have been able to accomplish. I am reminded daily of the importance to keep learning and growing even as an adult. A little about the photos: Taking photos of my children is something I try to do as often as possible. I cherish the time they allow me to take their photos. For me, taking photos of a person is a very personal event, trying to have someone lower their guard and allow you a glimpse of their true personality is a gift they give to you as a photographer. It is a magical feeling as a mother to look at the photos and see a little bit of their unique personalities shining through. Looking at the pictures of my daughters, I see the social personality of my daughter, looking directly in the lens as if questioning the viewer what conversation they want to have with her. My second is more timid, she is very cautious about who she lets in and when I take her photo, I think it shows. My third daughter is still the clown, always laughing and giggling trying to make sure everyone is having a fun time.
AN UNBREAKABLE BOND PERSONAL ESSAY words by Melissa Bunn and photography by Jessica Ellis Porter
Jake was seven years old when he came to live with us. Since he was one, his grandmother had taken care of him. Jake’s father, who is my husband’s brother, had been sentenced to 15 years in prison. Sadly, that happened right before Jake’s birth. His mother, who never seemed to care enough about him, easily signed her rights away. It always bothered me greatly that they never seemed to fight for their precious child. They moved on with their lives like he didn’t exist. Jake has never had a normal, typical child’s life. He’s never had that hero of a dad or felt that unconditional love of a mother. His grandmother wasn’t much better. As time passed and Jake got older, it became clearer that he wasn’t being properly cared for by her. We would visit and pick him up as much as possible. We would have him on holidays and weekends. All I could think about was getting him out of there. He began acting out in odd ways and developed anger issues. This happy and sweet child started to shut down and I began to worry about him more and more each day. We knew something had to be done. On a Monday in March of 2015, we got a call from child services. They were at Jake’s home and were taking him away from his grandmother. We were then asked the question that changed my life overnight. Would we like to take Jake into our home to live? We had to decide then and there. If we chose not to, foster care was his next option. I remember feeling the eagerness to yell ‘Yes!’, but at the same moment I questioned everything. Was I ready to be a parent? Would I even be good at it? Every worry ran through my mind at lightning speed. My husband and I weren’t having a good marriage. Would this even work out? 27
I went with my instinct and just like that, he was with us. That week was a whirlwind of emotion - relief he was with us and away from that home, excitement and happiness but also fear and worry. I worried about my marriage. Would we be able to work past our problems and come together for this wonderful boy who deserved the life he’d never had? Could we provide that for him? I thought this would be a good opportunity for my husband to change and step up. Jake was so excited to be with us. You could see the joy in his eyes. Although there were some days you knew he was confused and didn’t understand. I think it took a while for him to be sure he wasn’t going back. We were honest with him on certain things, but some things he was just too young to understand. Jake began having emotional problems almost immediately. It was obvious to me that he had developed bad coping mechanisms. At such a young age, he had developed a lot of anger and anxiety ‘Time outs’ consisted of hurting himself instead of calming down. He would never hit or hurt us, but would scratch, bite and hit himself. He had learned to be a certain way growing up. His grandmother didn’t help him with school work or read to him at night. Instead of understanding she punished him fiercely. It was apparent that he didn’t have the skills he needed to cope with his emotions. I knew it would take time for him to feel safe again. He needed love and compassion. He also needed guidance and help. On the good days, which were rare in the beginning, we would play and laugh. I could see that child he should be coming out. At times it
would last for days and in an instant, something would trigger him. He would shut down and get angry. I started to feel so much pity for him. I knew after time passed that pity was not what he needed most. He needed not only love, but guidelines. He needed to be treated like a true child. He needed rules and at the same time, support and encouragement. I wanted my husband and I to give him that. Months had gone by and we got closer with him. Things were OK with me and my husband and on June 24th 2015, we were granted full custody. I remember the joy I felt that day. I was finally getting that family I had been wanting. Jake was safe and nobody could take him. After my husband and I received custody, about a month after, we separated. My notion that my husband would change quickly faded with his actions. He started to choose a path that I couldn’t be a part of. I felt alone, afraid and stressed beyond words. I knew my marriage was over. I knew I had to leave, but I knew Jake couldn’t stay with him. My husband couldn’t take care of himself, much less a child. He made bad decisions and didn’t seem to care who he hurt in the process. After many days, weeks crying and feeling lost, I left him and was able to take Jake with me. It has been the two of us ever since. I was an emotional wreck for a while. My world had flipped upside down. Everything was happening so fast, I felt so much at one time. I was so worried about Jake and how this would affect him. He had been through so much already. One day he looked at me with such intensity and said; ‘I don’t want my uncle to come back because he’s mean to you’. That has stuck with me. This 7-year old child made it so clear to me. He was right. No matter how hurt Jake was by his uncle leaving, he cared more about me being hurt than himself. I remember holding him so tight. Jake helped me more in the next few months than anyone realised. He kept me going when I had no more drive to go. He got me out of bed each day and gave me purpose. We had
bad days when he missed his family and didn’t understand where they all went. Days when I didn’t feel like playing or laughing. We helped each other keep going and tackled each day as best we could. I think it was in those months following the separation that I started to feel like a motherfigure. I don’t remember an exact day or event but in those few months it slowly happened. He had nobody but me and it clicked. I had to try and be who he deserved and I had to move on from my old life. There were days of not knowing what would happen or what I wanted, but that urge to protect him and shelter him was strong. I loved this little boy and he loved me. Jake loves people and loves to give hugs as much as he can. He is definitely all boy - he loves to run and dig in the dirt. He has so much energy and loves to talk! We love to play outside together. We play catch and hit the baseball a lot. I thank God at times that I know how to play baseball! He’s starting to finally figure out what he loves to do. He finally has the chance to be a kid. The hardest part of my journey as a mother is trying to not be selfish anymore. I hadn’t prepared myself for that. Getting him overnight did not give me a moment to accept that. I battled with it almost every day and I definitely failed at times and still do. I always heard people say when you have kids, your life is not your own and now I understand that phrase! Seeing Jake hurt and not being able to fix it is definitely a hard part of my journey - wanting to fix and mend every hurt he has. My hopes for Jake’s future are many. I just ultimately want him to be happy. That he will look back on his life and see good memories. That he will never feel unloved or unwanted. As we both get older, I want him to know that I will always be here for him. That my care and love will never fade away. I hope our bond will never cease, that we will always have each other. 30
COLOUR POP! FASHION photography and styling by Miss Figuette
Sara wears dress by Cherry Papaya. Vini wears trousers by Wolf & Rita and sweatshirt by Piu Piu Chick.
Sara wears dress and jacket by Piu Piu Chick (previous page).
Vini wears trousers and tee by Wolf & Rita.
Shoes by Moleke.
Sara wears skirt and top by Wolf & Rita and Vini wears trousers by Cherry Papaya and sweatshirt by Piu Piu Chick. Shoes by Moleke and masks by Mamute Design.
ABOUT LOVE PERSONAL ESSAY words and photography by Karina Papadopoulos
I was born in Poland and settled in the Black Forest after a series of travels around the world. At the beginning of my business career I sacrificed my free time to gain more professional skills. I travelled around Europe and Asia in order to connect with other markets and I truly loved it, travel became my life. I was constantly on the go, learning and observing other cultures, different work ethics, meeting new faces and spending time with new friends. I have worked in and around the fashion industry for fourteen years. Starting out, I still remember my excitement and commitment to being a manager and having responsibility for others. At that time I never thought that I would become a totally different person.
had a lot of doubts, but was very young and egoistic. I believe, however, that our true love and mutual trust kept us strong even though there were thousands of miles between us.
My very busy husband took time off to come and visit me in China. I knew it cost him a lot to accept this situation, to face it and realise that our marriage was different to others. I am incredibly grateful that he gave me the opportunity and the chance to find myself again. It is a kind of paradox, but that time in our lives made us stronger as a couple. He told me once the favorite quote of his grandfather “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.” I think this quote describes the Ten years ago I decided to spend almost two years most fundamental rule of the universe. Love is in China. My husband wasn’t the biggest fan of not owned and cannot be taken. this idea, but back then, I strongly believed that this kind of experience would keep me in the Many people have the ability to feel someone game career-wise, help me stay connected to the else’s pain and help the person work through it. larger world and also satisfy my natural yearning A few, a very special few, have the ability to feel for intellectual stimulation. A voice inside my someone else’s dreams and help them open doors head told me to go for it. I felt my husband that might otherwise have remained closed. My loved me enough to let me go through with it. I husband is one of them. He did not take away think it is called ‘the power of hope’.. . I quickly my freedom and independence, he gave it to me. realised this adventure would present me with many challenges. It seems unbelievable, but I Love is the great neutraliser of negativity. It was pretty sure that this situation could work allows us to see pain behind anger, to recognise for our marriage. Now, after many years I can hidden misfortune behind very public expression see my selfishness, but I also learned that if you of bitterness, and to reach out with kindness truly believe in something, it will happen. and compassion to those who strike out in fear. Love truly does conquer all. Selfishness is the This period was a time of transition, shifting biggest destroyer of love and mercy, of goodness, towards something new for me. I obviously sensitivity and happiness.
Sometimes one of the partners goes through a period of intense personal challenge, severely hampering his ability to contribute to the marriage. During these times, if the marriage is to survive, it’s up to the other partner to keep the relationship together. From the years perspective, I think that the most important thing is being able to forgive and forget and to be less selfish. My China adventure gave me an amazing lesson. I was a stranger in a completely different culture and had to respect it. Fortunately the Chinese showed me how it is to be accepted no matter who you are. It was a great feeling to became part of a new community, I met a lot of new people and most of them became my friends. This experience taught me the most important lessons in my life: to be patient (very useful if you are a mother), to be kind, generous and respectful. These four qualities made me a better woman, wife and mother. Having learned that, I managed to control anger and I found new balance and reduced my stress levels, which in turn had a very positive impact on all of my relationships. I believe that everybody should challenge themselves to be as respectful as possible and feel a sense of achievement every time they do something positive. This point became very important to me in terms of my little daughter. People concentrate wrongly on teaching others through negative means. In reality, generosity is more likely to produce a generous person. I decided to simplify my life, to make it more minimalistic in a way that shifted my resources to my deepest values. I believe minimalism can provide many positive changes in life. I think that this will give me the space necessary to make more things possible. I try every single day to teach my daughter to be thankful for everything in life. Grateful people notice the light in the dark, joy in the sadness and purpose in sorrow. I encourage her to share and help others. Sometimes even the smallest gestures can send a powerful message. Volunteering helps me translate the meaning of generosity and is a great way of showing my daughter the value of kindness and contribution to the community. Family life gives us many opportunities to grow in patience, it brings peace and joy to our relationships, it’s a gentle attitude towards others. At the moment we are all trying to find a balance in our family life. I don‘t regret moving to the Black Forest because it gives me a certain freedom and space for imagination every single day. I became a lifestyle and kids’ photographer and storyteller; exploring the strength of love and translating it through the lens of my camera. I still travel and try to battle my own fears and apprehensions about this. Every day I am thankful to be a mom, wife, sister and daughter. I am still learning to be a better person, think long-term, be authentic, expand my horizons, listen and open doors for other people, worry less and love more….
KINTSUGI PHOTOGRAPHY ESSAY words and photography by Cindy Johnson
I was inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi for this photo project. In Kintsugi, broken lots are fixed with gold, making the broken parts stronger than they were when whole. As a boudoir photographer, I have the honor to see lots of bodies naked, physically and emotionally, and I have seen a lot of scars. I love to hear everyone’s stories of overcoming trauma, of strength. I loved showing everyone in this project, especially the children, that their scars are a beautiful part of what makes them unique. To show them they are badges of honor, not something to hide. Keaton’s story “July 8, 2011 is a day our family will never forget. We spent the day at the Children’s Museum... once home, my husband was needing to quickly mow the lawn so I could leave for my evening photoshoot. The baby was napping, the newly 6 year old was watching tv....and our sweet, adventurous 3 year old (and only boy) couldn’t be held captive inside. He begged to play in the dirt outside behind the barn, so I eventually gave in, promising I would play with him outside while Daddy mowed the lawn. About 20 minutes later, I had to run inside to use the restroom (was going to run in and run back out....you know, for like 30 seconds). Keaton said he didn’t have to go, so I told him “Ok but just play in the dirt right here, buddy.” As I ran inside, little did I know that he would change his mind and be about 30 steps behind me, following me into the house. As I went inside and barely sat on the toilet, I heard what sounded like a wood chipper in our backyard.... it was the most horrific sound I have ever heard. I thought my husband had run over a tree limb, but quickly realized it was more serious than that once I heard the blood curdling screams coming from both my husband and son. Keaton had run up to the house, behind the ride-on mower, and at the exact same time, my husband backed the mower up to go around a tree. In doing so, he knocked our son down and completely backed over his legs. Keaton’s legs looked like they had been in a meat grinder, with his feet just dangling from his ankles. The 2 fire trucks, ambulance and 4 police cars seemed to take forever to get to our house, when it was really about 3 minutes. I remember running around feeling like I needed to be doing something, ANYTHING, .and Keaton screaming “My legs, my legs!!!” while he laid on Justin in the front yard. The paramedics took him to Methodist trauma, while my husband rode with him and I rode in the police car, as I was too frantic to ride with Keaton. My poor baby was in shock, white as a ghost with purple lips. He had lost over half of his blood, and they were unsure he would make it to the hospital. Once arriving at Methodist, hearing him screaming for me while they opened the ambulance doors was the best sound I had ever heard....my baby was still alive!!! They called in an orthopedic surgeon to rush Keaton to surgery, and when he arrived, he had us sign amputation papers giving them permission to amputate both of his precious feet.
They told us the injuries were too severe and his feet were not able to be saved. Fast forward three hours, and his surgeon came out to tell us that his surgery was done, and they *might* have been able to save his feet (what was left of them) but they would have to take it day by day to see if they are truly saved or not. Keaton spent three nights in ICU, received four blood transfusions, ten nights on the General Pediatrics floor, had 8 surgeries in those 13 nights and more IVs and needle pricks than I could have imagined. However, he came home 14 days later, with 8 1/2 toes, most of his metatarsals, 3 pins in his feet, more stitches than we could count, and skin grafts from his left thigh to cover his right knee and the tops of both feet. He was in a wheelchair for 3 months, but he was the most determined kid I have ever seen! He was supposed to be in physical therapy for numerous months afterwards to learn to walk again....and he ended up not even going to one appointment because he was so determined to do it on his own.... and he did!!! Fast forward five years, and Keaton is running, climbing, jumping and being active just like any other boy his age. He is playing travel soccer (1-2 age groups ahead even) and hasnâ€™t let his accident stop him by any means! Keaton never once felt sorry for himself and never once gave up. He was a trooper through it all, and he is our real life superhero! To us, Keatonâ€™s scars are just our daily reminders of how strong he is, and we truly believe he is stronger because of them and will do big things in his life! â€?
Greyson’s story “Greyson’s pregnancy was entirely different than my other’s. He was so feisty! He jumped, bumped, and fought from the very beginning. I remember telling my husband, “Oh, he’s going to be a wild child!” Little did we know, he would need every ounce of that strength and I’m so thankful he has it. He was born with a few birth defects, the most notable being unicoronal craniosynostosis. In layman’s terms, the coronal suture of his skull had fused in utero and wasn’t allowing his head to grow, thus putting extreme pressure on his precious brain. The news was overwhelming, but the thought of major skull surgery on our new baby was unfathomable. Worse yet, we had to wait for months until it was relatively safe to perform the procedure. We had to watch as our baby screamed in pain from headaches, lost his appetite and vomited from the pressure on his brain. It was a true nightmare. On February 13th, 2015 Greyson underwent a major cranial vault reconstruction and frontal orbital advancement. Literally, the surgeons removed my son’s skull and forehead, salvaged what could be used and placed him back together like a puzzle with plates and screws. Recovery was harder than anything I’ve experienced yet in this life, those details sometimes too much for me to bear. He has a long road still ahead- multiple surgeries, some lingering brain damage, global delays and lots of specialists. When I feel overwhelmed with it all, I look at my little guy and I’m reminded of just how far we’ve come. Life is never guaranteed to be easy or fair, but it CAN be beautiful, in spite of the chaos. My little Greyson has changed my entire outlook. Love more. Be kind. No matter what. You never know what’s around the corner.... Don’t waste the precious time you have.”
Nina’s story “On February 19, 2013, after a failed induction, I was rushed to the operating room for a cesarean section. It was a disappointing birth experience, but my son is happy and healthy. I treasure my scar as his window to the world.”
Evee’s story “Evee was given a 50% chance of surviving to birth at 32 weeks gestation after being diagnosed with Ebstein’s Anomaly. At birth, her O2 levels were in the 70’s with oxygen and her heart was enlarged to 90% of her chest. She had a shunt placed at 2 weeks old, then open heart surgery at 2 years old with an artificial valve. She is expected to have another open heart in the next 5 years. She is now 10 and a thriving, beautiful, vivacious girl. She is kind, brave, sensitive, and the best big sister..”
MONTY & CO ARTISAN PROFILE words by Leigh Montague and photography by Bec O’Connor
From a young age I knew I wanted to work in fashion. As a child I was surrounded by uniform my parents’ daily workwear was quite distinctive and they stood out from the crowd. My mum was a beautician and financial advisor, picking me up at the school gates in banana yellow power suits, strong heels, big hair - it was very late 80/90’s fashion with a touch of ‘Ab Fab’. Both my grandfathers were in the Royal Air Force along with my dad who was either clad in smart formal Navy military attire or utilitarian flightsuits. Their uniform and style had a huge influence on my aesthetic, my love of Navy, history, utility and British heritage. Having grown up in Wiltshire I left to pursue a career as a fashion designer. Internships at DVF in New York and Marks & Spencer followed where I stayed for a decade as a menswear designer specialising in casualwear. It was an amazing job. I gained so much experience and knowledge of retailing, sourcing, product development, fabric and innovation. It came with big responsibilities; designing new products for multi-million pound turnover departments and creating design direction for sub brands. I travelled extensively for inspiration and development trips, to factories, mills, tradeshows and fabric fairs. I was in Sri Lanka shortly after the Tsunami visiting jersey factories and witnessed the aftermath. I was in Mumbai the night of the 2008 terrorist attacks developing casual shirts and on the plane to LA when Michael Jackson died - it was crazy at times.
I fortunately experienced so much through travelling, seeing the development of emerging countries, understanding new cultures and watching the demands of the materialist western world on manufacturing. I love menswear for its restraint, functionality and structure. The focus on fabric, quality, fit and detailing fitted my style and values as a designer. The menswear industry is really exciting, dynamic and friendly. Men are very loyal to brands and spend a lot of time and effort finding a product they love and this always kept my interest. The idea for Monty & Co. was born from a desire to find simple, stylish, functional and unisex clothing for my young son Grayson. I was frustrated by the gender-driven childrenswear offering on the high street. I had been looking everywhere for hardwearing workwear and cotton classics like chore jackets, overalls and smocks for him. I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I got to my sewing machine and started to make them. I have always been a hands-on designer and getting back to using my technical skills sketching, drafting patterns and sewing was also something I had been wanting to do for some time, so this was the perfect excuse. At the same time I had returned back to my corporate design role following maternity leave. As a designer the job required a lot of travelling and immediately I set off on a development trip to the Far East for 2 weeks and I very nearly missed my sons first steps.
It made me question my work/life balance, I knew I couldn’t commit to the job anymore - I craved the freedom to spend more time with my son. While I’d been away I had also reflected on how the retail industry had changed, particularly in the last few years. The increasing relentless fashion cycle, how retailers were sacrificing quality in product development for constantly increasing profitability. I felt uncomfortable being associated with an industry producing clothing that in some instances, was being made without a conscience and often at the expense of others.
As a mother my buying patterns were changing. I was now buying for a need not for want, but I was conscious of buying less, buying better and that extended particularly to the clothing I brought for Grayson.
A passion to solve these problems and a frustration with the industry led me to detach myself from the corporate world to invest in creating my vision for Monty & Co - a timeless unisex brand that centered on a slow fashion approach, where I could indulge my passion for local British manufacturing and provenance. My aim was to go back to basics and champion a return to quality and provide real value in childrenswear. Making clothes like they used to I was becoming slightly obesessed with finding be made: to love, to last, to pass down to future out where my purchases were coming from, who generations. had made them and could I trust the brand.
As a designer my inspiration comes from the same Being outdoors and attending forest school with values that are important to me; the originality my son all make my heart flutter and spark my of real life and authenticity of tradition, people, creativity. places and history. Iâ€™m lucky to be living in London, such a The simple beauty of the British landscape, its creatively rich city that offers all the above for cities, towns, country and coast is a constant me to indulge and introduce Grayson to. provider of ideas and inspiration. It connects intrinsically with my love of British style, heritage Having Grayson has re-ignited my passion to and workwear. Iâ€™ve always been fascinated by absorb everything around me. Seeing him play, clothing and textiles, the past/present, its impact create and explore has increased my appetite to and message within society. I love research and learn and discover even more. His inquisitive, never stop; we have a library at home to house positive energy, love of the outdoors and nature my extending book and magazine collection. has given me a fresh outlook and approach to my Delving into archives, vintage markets, art life in general. galleries/museums, photography, fabric fairs and discovering new creative neighbourhoods are a Motherhood has made me more comfortable in favourite pastime. my own skin and ability.
I’m definitely more decisive and brave as a result. Motherhood is like climbing a mountain; it takes small steps, commitment and endless patience. The journey is testing but rewarding. I don’t think I would have ever started a business if I hadn’t become a mother; It’s given me the confidence to follow my instincts and start something without having too many expectations.
working late whilst he’s in bed, working at weekends but overall it’s a much more sustainable way of life. It’s my passion project so it very rarely feels like work.
I think the biggest challenge of motherhood has been letting go, not getting overwhelmed, and accepting I’m not able to control or dedicate 100% to everything. Multi-tasking takes on Before I had Grayson I was working towards a whole new dynamic as a parent and a small being a design manager or a creative director for business owner. Doing a good job is enough, it’s a menswear brand - that was my goal. That all taken me time to be okay with that. changed with motherhood; my outlook on the industry changed along with my aspirations and Motherhood has taught me the importance and priorities. Instead I’ve had to create my own role value of time. Since the day Grayson was born to continue my design career. Starting Monty & the reality of having a child to nurture has made Co. has allowed me to continue to fulfill my own me intensely aware of how precious time it is. I creative needs and identity whilst utilising and want to make every moment of his childhood extending my experience and skills. The added count. I want to treasure the memories we benefit of the flexibility that comes with being create together, having time to do that is all that your own boss has allowed me to be around for matters to me now. my son. It’s not without compromises - often www.montyandco.com
PHANG NGA & PHUKET TRAVEL ESSAY words and photography by Rebecca Lindon
The initial 14-hour flight was the part of our trip to Thailand that worried me the most, and turned out to be surprisingly easy thanks to a night flight and two very patient children. I decided to bypass the hectic environment of Bangkok and head straight to Phuket where I knew we would be charmed ans revitalised by long, languid days on stretches of white sands. Our first stop was just north of Phuket in the Phang-Nga province at The Akyra; a stylish resort on Natai Beach. Low slung hammocks, a smattering of king-size beach beds with billowing canopies and a roomy swimming pool steps from the calm, blue seas allowed us to spend time recovering and adjusting to the heat. The children quickly discovered the in-house ice cream boutique and learned first-hand just how much the wonderful Thai people adore children. The positioning of the resort makes it an ideal place to explore the beautiful Phang Nga Bay by sea canoe or speedboat, but if you’d like to escape the crowds then head to the Similan Islands which the staff also told us was their favourite set of islands around Phuket. A short walk along the beach you’ll find their sister hotel The Aleenta where we stayed in a onebedroom villa with it’s own pool, much to the delight of my children who could open the sliding doors and take two steps from their bed for a swim. The resort is bigger and our villa was across a road from the eating areas and beach and, as a result, we spent more time in our room. Our most memorable evening was spent bathing in our outdoor tub under the full moon and listening to the wildlife.
Eve wears dress by Piu Piu Chick.
Zeus wears swimming shorts by Cherry Papaya and Eve wears kaftan by Lala + Zizo.
The Aleenta has more facilities for children including a kidsâ€™ club and lovely play area, plus free daily activities. My 5-year old son enjoyed a thai boxing class while his younger sister spent an hour whizzing down the slide and happily rummaging through boxes of toys. For adults thereâ€™s yoga, sea kayaks and excursions out to the Sunday night market in Phuket Town, plus a luxury spa. The rest of our time was spent on the island of Phuket in apartments in Karon, Nai Thon (our favourite) and Nai Yang. Despite what you read on the internet, driving here is no different to any other city and I chose to hire a car rather than paying hiked-up taxi fares (lunch for 3 cost the same as getting a taxi a few km down the road). This allowed us to travel all over the island and enjoy the sights on our own schedule.
Zeus wears swimming shorts by Cherry Papaya and Eve wears bikini by Wolf & Rita.
My son has always been interested in Buddha and his thoughts on reincarnation and how we should treat people and animals. He was delighted to see Big Buddha sitting atop a hill near Karon and stood mesmerised when we went to visit him early one morning (go before 9am to avoid the crowds). They watched with a little more trepidation at Toh Sae or Monkey Hill as it’s more commonly known, where the wild monkeys roam around and take peanuts from tourists. One of them tried to groom my son’s hair with his fingers and received a frosty reception from Zeus who decided to retreat to our car and watch through the windows. Whilst the monkey meant no harm, we did see a few overzealous tourists getting nipped on the fingers so it’s wise to take care. If you’re a keen shopper then there are night markets all around the island and more modern shopping malls in Patong (Jungleceylon) and Phuket Town (Central Festival). Perhaps here is a good place to talk about animal tourism in Phuket - there are many ‘shows’ and attractions where tourists can interact with drugged tigers, snakes and ‘tamed’ elephants in captivity. It’s common to see elephants at trekking sites on the side of the road, carrying large saddles with two tourists atop and for me, an upsetting sight. But elephant tourism is a complex issue, these beautiful animals were originally brought here to work in the logging industry and now owners must find ways to feed and care for them. A new elephant sanctuary has opened on Phuket where visitors can observe and interact with the rescued elephants in a responsible way and I’d urge you to take that option. We were lucky enough to be introduced to a man who looks after two young elephants and were able to play with them in the small bay where they live and witness their cheeky nature first-hand! Our final stop was at the tropical resort of Keemala. Set in the hills behind Kamala Beach (a great area for families), this resort is like stepping into a tribal village with modern luxuries. Thatched cottages meet woven ‘bird’s nest’ villas boasting incredible views, outdoor showers, deep bath tubs, and the softest beds I have ever slept in. Each villa has its own pool or you can pop down to the main pool with waterfall for a little more space. The food was the best we tasted during our trip and the children were delighted to discover that all the latest kids’ movies were waiting for them on our villa entertainment system - in-room dining whilst watching ‘Finding Dory’ became our evening ritual. We whole-heartedly recommend the smoothie bowl for breakfast and the chocolate trio for an afterdinner treat!
Eve wears trousers by Lala + Zizo and sunglasses by Rockahula. Sandals by Havaianas.
The hill location of Keemala means that the resort is a maze of steep pathways that run through lush, jungle-like gardens - whilst the surroundings are beautiful, in the heat the slopes can be a little too much for tiny legs. Thankfully the staff are happy to whizz you from villa to restaurant in one of their golf buggies. And if youâ€™d like a change of scenery, a shuttle regularly runs down to Kamala Beach which is so pretty at sunset and provides cheaper dining options. We spent a month in Phang-Nga and Phuket and experienced new foods, learned new words (which were used to charm Thai ladies who shared their smiles and fruit with us), talked over tricky topics such as the devastating tsunami and how abject poverty sits beside the height of luxury in this country, and one of us threw off their armbands and finally learned how to swim. www.theakyra.com / www.aleenta.com / www.keemala.com
Eve wears trousers by Lala + Zizo and top by Piu Piu Chick. Zeus wears top by Piu Piu Chick.
THE MINDFUL PARENT PERSONAL ESSAY words by Amber Hatch
When I was in labour with my first child, I was really suffering with terrible pains. I was at home, and hoping to stay there – but I was despairing that I couldn’t manage. Then I suddenly realised that I was fighting the contractions. I began to welcome them, and everything changed. As labour progressed I understood more and more how the intellectualizing and self-pitying caused me unnecessary pain. I didn’t know that I was using mindfulness at the time – but I recognised that I was accessing something tremendously powerful. Months later I came across the term mindfulness, and realised that this was what I had experienced in a very intense way during labour. It took me a few more months to join a class and begin meditating regularly. The benefits were immediate. Mindfulness and parenting have always been bound up together for me. I now have three children, my eldest is almost nine. Whenever I have I learnt anything through meditation and Buddhism I have considered how I can use it in my family. In fact, family life is a practice in itself. When you start to see it that way it opens up a lot of possibilities. Mindfulness isn’t necessarily something spectacular (though it can be) but it can help us consistently any moment we choose. So every time I remember to be present with my children, I get to feel the joy of being with them. Sometimes mindfulness can help me have a broader perspective on what’s happening. Any mindful moment has the potential to change the course of the whole day. For example, just recently I had taken my newborn baby into my bedroom to feed her quietly. My older two followed me in, in high spirits. They began to jump around on the bed next to me, and I started to feel harassed. Then my five-year-old 67
son grabbed the hairdryer and turned it on. I noticed annoyance rise up inside me, but then almost simultaneously I was able to see that the situation was rather funny – I had come for peace and quiet and instead I was being blasted with a hairdryer. Mindfulness meant I was able to deal with the situation light-heartedly, rather than lose my temper. Using mindfulness as we go about raising children means that we can consciously choose how we respond to circumstances. This is enormously helpful. It gives us some space, so that we can register what’s happening with our kids before we react. The wonderful thing about mindfulness is that through practice we can actually get better at calling it up and keeping hold of it. That means you can stay calm and connected more easily and more often. Top 3 tips for introducing mindfulness into your daily life as a parent... 1) A really simple way to call up mindfulness is to bring the attention to the breath. This brings you right into the present moment. It’s really important not to add mindfulness to a “to do” list and then feel guilty about not doing it. Just start doing it right away – every moment you remember. 2) Earmark particular activities for mindfulness practice. For example, when you read your child a story, or when you bathe them. Try to stay mindful throughout the activity. 3) Find a “bell of mindfulness” something that reminds you to be mindful whenever you hear it. I used my children’s angry outbursts as a bell – which was the times I most needed mindfulness! Mindfulness For Parents by Amber Hatch is published in paperback by Watkins priced £9.99.
Mindfulness For Parents by Amber Hatch is published in paperback by Watkins on 16th priced ÂŁ9.99
TREASURING THE CHAOS PERSONAL ESSAY words by Beth Kempton and photography by Neil Shaw
The truth is, the chaos in my living room didn’t bother me half as much as the chaos in my head. Where thoughts used to be tidily filed away, there has been a break-in and everything is scattered, but there’s no time to clear up the mess. I find myself scrabbling round the floor of my mind for words, reaching out to the end of the sentence I started, imploring it to come back. I have put my credit card in the fridge, gone out with my shoes on the wrong feet and walked into a room forgetting why I’m there more times than I care to remember. Fried, bamboozled, drunk on love and lack of sleep. The baby days were the most emotionally chaotic, but even now, with my girls a little older – Sienna is 3 and Maia is 18 months – there are tough days. Instead of night feeds and endless nappy changing, there are tantrums and tiny tornadoes. But here’s the thing with motherhood – it’s both the most challenging and most precious thing I have known. I’m not the same person that I was before children. My heart is bigger, and it grows every day.
It is at much greater risk of breaking, but that’s a risk worth taking. To begin with I found it confusing, to at once feel so blessed yet so frustrated. So deeply grateful for their presence, yet stressed out by their demands. So utterly in love, yet out of control. I was feeling trapped by the realities of motherhood, but didn’t understand why, because I was so happy to be a mother. It was something I had long dreamt of and wished for, and my love for my girls could power the stars. In time I realized what was going on, and what I could do about it. In my mind I could separate the context – being a mother to two sweet girls – and my response to that context – which included frustration, guilt, worry and fear. That response had become a cage which was trapping me. And for a free spirit like me, that was crushing. I came to see that it’s exactly because I treasure the context of motherhood so much that I find the cage bars so frustrating. They get in the way of the rest. I had been raging about the context, but it was the cage I needed to escape.
The more I thought about this, the more sense saying we have to make choices and right now it made. And so I set out on a quest to discover this is mine. I want them to say “Our house was how to free myself. a happy house. We were always loved and looked after, and we were taught how to love and look The thing I missed most was quiet time. after each other.” Headspace and heartspace. Room for myself, to think, read, ponder, wander. A little corner of my I think about the women I want my girls to day where I was free to do whatever I wanted. It become – kind and generous, big-hearted sounds selfish, but as soon as I made it a priority, and curious, adventurous and brave, knowing I realized it was the ultimate, and essential, self themselves and free to choose their path – and care. And the more space I made for myself, the then I look to myself and ask if I am modeling more present I was for my family, and in my all of these things. Sometimes yes, but often, no. business, and in every area of my life. I am working on being able to say yes to that more. One of the books I read during that vital time of self discovery, was the beautiful ‘Anam Cara’ “Don’t worry. It won’t last.” they say. But that’s by John O’Donohue. In it he says, “In order to also the sad thing, and the reason for seeking preserve your own difference in love, you need the gift in amongst it all. Because it won’t last. plenty of room for your soul. In Hebrew one of They will soon be interested in different things, the original words for salvation is also the word different people. They won’t want to hold my for space… That which grows needs space.” hand, snuggle in close, play for hours, stroke my hair, chatter with me all day long. And so now, It’s not just the children who are growing, but while it lasts, I’m going to treasure it. Mess births us parents too. We need space to grow into beauty. Chaos is progress, and there is energy in the parents we are becoming. The discomfort it. In learning as in life. Now I’m only tidying up is growth. That’s why it’s scary, difficult and once a day, choosing instead to spend my time chaotic, but look what it leads to. hand in tiny hand, scattering kisses, in the game, not outside it. And by focusing on one thing at a Now I look around at the chaos on my living time, by really being with my children when I’m room floor – the half-dressed doll and rabble of with them, I find the tangle in my head is gently Duplo blocks, the pile of books and scattering of unraveling too. abandoned crayons - and I see something else. I see their incessant curiosity, boundless energy, If you come round to my house you will still and burning desire to learn more about the sometimes find me stressed or snappy or juggling world around them. I see joy. Un-adult-erated too many things. That’s the nature of life with a child’s play. There’s medicine in their laughter cocktail of small children, your own business and and wonder in the air. lots of big dreams. But I hope you’d see me catch myself when I’m in it these days, more often than I think about how I want them to remember not stopping to join in the teddy bears’ tea party, their childhood. Is the most important thing for and taking a moment to breathe deeply and smile them to say, “We always had a tidy house”? No. at the wonder of it all. I’m not judging you if you have a tidy house. I am secretly jealous of your tidy house. I am just Beth Kempton, Freedom Seeker, Hay House UK, £10.99
SAS & YOSH ARTISAN PROFILE words by Sarah Bellisario and Yoshie Allan
Sarah: I studied media and worked in design at TIME Magazine for a short time before becoming a teacher. I taught art in a private girls’ school for nearly 10 years before taking a redundancy and going back to university to study for an MA in ‘Children’s Book Illustration’ at the Cambridge school of Art.
in a small city in a countryside region of Japan and grew my imagination by lots of inspiration from books and nature. Also from my father and grandmother who were both very creative. At age 18 I moved to central Japan to study to be a vet then changed my way to study fashion at a college. I soaked up new inspirations from the busy, cool and fun, inspirational Tokyo City. I have many creator friends and their amazing I then taught at a Sixth form Art College for a work has always inspired me too. year before founding ‘Sas and Yosh’. However during all of my career, since university I have Since I had my two lovely children, they have always produced my own work in the form of never stopped bringing new inspiration to me, illustration and art prints and have organized especially new story ideas by just the way they are! yearly exhibitions where I sold my work, so I That is wonderful and I love it. At home, my son guess that’s been the backbone of everything I draws hundreds of passenger planes or his own have done. Manga (he also loves taking LEGO motion video with his mobile phone), my daughter makes Yoshie: collage artwork and other lovely things to give to A while after I moved to the UK, our mutual me or my husband, and I am working on a design friend introduced Sarah to me as we were both or doing DIY - this is our usual home scene. We artist/illustrators and also working on picture enjoy sharing ideas and making our own books as books. We favourited each other’s artwork so well and it is so much fun. much and became good creative like-minded friends. Our illustration looks quite different but Sarah: we found very good vibes on our collaborative Back when I was teaching I lived and worked artworks when we tried. That’s how naturally our in a boarding house looking after other people’s Sas and Yosh design studio was born. children, and then when I met my husband he already had two teenagers from his first marriage Within our brand, we both do drawing and so there was a large element of being like a mum colouring, repeatable pattern-making, etc.. that came with my job and then my relationship. Sometimes Sarah does the main drawing and I do I loved working with kids and so having my own main colouring and pattern design, or vice versa, child was something I was desperate to do. When depending on the project. We also take turns to I had Scarlet, I felt like she was the last puzzle edit our initial ideas back and forth. Then we piece I had been missing in my life. do our final check before we publish our new designs to the world via our own collection or Being a mother has made me incredibly happy and a collaboration with other brands and designers. totally terrified in equal measure. It’s taught me to rigorously manage my time and work harder, I have been inspired by everything around me and and although money is much less forthcoming have loved to express myself by creating things than in my previous jobs, I feel I have the best of by hand since I was very little. I was brought up both worlds. I make my living from my studio
at home doing a job I’m passionate about and creating art every day, which I adore, whilst not missing out on any of my daughter’s childhood. In fact I’m far more determined to make our brand succeed because I couldn’t give up this way of life now.
to experience art exhibitions and theatre and different environments. Its made me kinder, crankier, exhausted, exhilarated, forgetful, organized and incredibly proud. Yoshie: The biggest challenges of motherhood for me have been; 1.To keep calm.
When my daughter was very little I felt very fearful and hyper vigilant of everything, because suddenly I had this tiny person to look after. So as she gets older I’m trying to learn to relax 2. Not to forget to listen to my kids when I am so more and enjoy my time with her rather than into my own world. be constantly worried of things that may never happen. 3.To find a best balance between a precious parenting moment and a joyful artist life (I am Being a mother has taught me to remember to still on my way to find it…). make fun of myself, to enjoy laughing about stupid things and rediscover my inner child. 4.Turn whatever happens to us into a positive result and laugh as much as possible. It’s made me get out of the house and visit more places because I love taking my daughter www.sasandyosh.com
MEXICO TRAVEL ESSAY photography by Nancy Ebert
LITTLE MILESTONES FASHION & INTERIORS photography by Rebecca Lindon and styling by Marshes & Flint
(Left) Evie wears trousers , kimono and bodysuit by Organic Zoo. Cushion and blanket by Wee Gallery. (Right) Art print and felt garland by Olli Ella and camera by Fanny & Alexander. All available at Marshes & Flint.
Wood animals by Ostheimer from Marshes & Flint.
(Left ) Cashmere cardigan and trousers by Olivier Baby and bodysuit by Organic Zoo. (Right) Cashmere romper and shirt by Olivier Baby, ball by Wee Gallery and cushion by Olli Ella. All available at Marshes & Flint.
Luggy basket by Olli Ella, hanger by Meri Meri, dress by Olivier Baby and nesting dolls by Wee Gallery. (Overleaf ) Baby basket by Olli Ella and blanket by Sleepy Doe. All available at Marshes & Flint.
www.marshesandflint.co.uk @marshesandflint 92
THE QUIET VOICE OF COURAGE PERSONAL ESSAY words by Anonymous
My darling girl; It may be many moons before your little eyes can cast this, but when they do, sorry, truly, from the bottom of my heart for not doing more. I have sleepless nights over this. Thank you for contorting yourself in to my quiet voice of courage. You are infinitively brave and I am forever proud of you. I love you more than you may ever come to know. This is true. I had no idea who the man I was living with or married to really was. I mean I thought I knew him and yet I just could not make head nor tail of our relationship at that time. All I knew is that I needed to break the cycle we kept revisiting, one of pure adoration, to projection and finally the emotional abuse. This appeared to intensify with every stage of our commitment, which for others signified much happiness… I longed for that happiness. Finding out I was pregnant with you was initially not one of elation but pure fear. Writing this now, makes me feel so sad and shamed to admit. I have always wished for a family that would bring all the dizziness of love and yet, having it all with him left me petrified. Our love and desire to have children was one of very few things we tended to agree on. Now wise to the pregnancy, we continued to speak at cross purposes with differing needs, if his comfort was any colder at that time it would have been liquid nitrogen. He eventually handed me the ultimatum that, should I steer from any natural course, he would have no choice but to divorce me. I came to the conclusion that I would spend some further years miserable but could make our relationship appear successful by virtue of staying put. With this ultimatum, I realised, I’m on my own hereon in, now deep in trouble. I knew how this may work against me should I leave, how he now had a further “possession” he could use to manipulate me, a further extension of himself, someone else to boast about as his trophy for all who would listen and to fall prey to then remark on how much of a fantastic husband/father he was. I spent the first 14 weeks incredibly sick in hospital and alone. Followed by pneumonia and anaemia etc. At the core, I think now I was deeply depressed and they were psychosomatic symptoms. He worked away more and smoked cannabis more when home, meanwhile I craved and obsessed more about a consummate love for you, a love that would surrounded you, engulf you, and fill you up.
How did this come to be? This situation I now found myself in?! I was 18, he was 20, he pursued me mercilessly and with such intensity I had never experienced before. Initially I was positively overwhelmed by how strikingly confident, successful and ambitious he was. His family were so closely woven, which was quite the contrast to mine, which on paper wasn’t your stereotypical yet happy family. Our relationship spanned a surprising 6 years. We met and some months followed before we were living together in our first house, some 18 months later I was engaged and now stopping plans to travel, now juggling working all hours and University; now commuting back and forth as the stress of a long-distance relationship was causing endless arguments and “silent treatment” which would always end in me booking an impromptu surprise trip home to try and reconcile, despite this we survived to see out my graduation. 18 months later, we were wed. It was impulsive and frantic… and controlled. One thing that remained consistent throughout was the pattern that followed, one of immense highs followed by immense lows. I would be idolised one day, to disappointing him and feeling at a loss the next. I would take some time out over the years when sadness deeply set in, I’d pack my bags and head home, move out for a while, I would find myself back, no sooner talked back around and with enough attention paid and a few more promises, I realise now it was to keep me invested in us a little more. The day you were born my heart whispered to me. You truly were the making of happiness. With your love, you silently gave me permission to pursue it entirely. You told me that somehow with you, I no longer needed to play for time. You were enough. You became that catalyst to leave. It would be only one year later before our relationship finally ended, and everything we shared was instantly revoked with one almighty knee-jerk and explosive reaction from him. He initially drove off as I told him bloodied but unbowed that our break was now infinite. Threats followed of him keeping you until agonisingly a plan was then drawn up as to how we would “share” you. He placed every conceivable barrier in the way to stop us leaving and to make us dependent on him once more, he would guise being supportive and helpful to manipulate, play mind games and tug back at that steering wheel. I suffered yet more psychosomatic symptoms; stomach migraines, sleepless nights, crippled with anxiety and yet I failed at the time to see any correlation. It hindered work and issues were starting to crop up in other areas of my life. During this time, I would also learn that my mother had a brain tumour. It was all too much to digest. I would find myself panicked in meetings and some days simply unable to get out of bed. We initially remained in the house until it sold. I had no physical assets now to offer you or us, no plan thereafter, terrified of discussing any finances for you, I realised I had to severe ties, any dependency on him and anything with him and rebuild. The material things in our life dominated us, they were shouting so loudly it was overriding any ability to care about things of greater value, you. With a head so clouded with self-doubt I had absolutely no capacity to parent. I had to toss all practicalities aside. I had to go to be the person I so longed to be, for you, for me.
I felt liberated, like walking on velvet clouds and my life would no longer be that rollercoaster but more of a monorail, avoiding the lows but the immense highs too. To him I had nothing to show for it, but I had everything. I had our blissful bubble and a softer, slower pace of life. I had it all. Now in a small rented property, I had you and you had me, we had each other, we had the ability to navigate our own way and deliberate our own decisions, for us, just the two of us. This taste of freedom was so sweet and finally I could breathe, albeit momentarily. Eventually with the freezing of any assets came the discarding of me, erased, clicked and dragged to the mental trash can icon like a deleted file in his life. As quick as that, a total of 2 months, swiftly moving on to someone else, an attractive other, a mummy who has girls herself, one your age and he would often boast of your twin-like relationship. Only months in you would call her mummy and them sisters. If ever I tried to explain my upset, I realised he was incapable of empathising how hurtful that might be and the truth would always somehow be distorted, warped and projected back on me. Then I had a second chance at first love. I was starting to hold my own more as I felt truly supported by his love. We share the same phrasebook, moral compass and map in this life. You love each other so much. He contested every action we took from then on. Left with no option now but to try and negotiate through court. After speaking to several solicitors, I was made aware that Magistrates / Judges no longer look favourably to mothers in shared care arrangements, that it can go either way as it was â€œshared careâ€? after all. Although hard to accept, I understood this but a roll of the dice was better than this exhaustion of trying to negotiate alone. I was advised to act quickly before being dealt the hand as respondent as this would serve advantageous. I discovered I was pregnant, now expecting your brother or sister. I did not realise the court process would span my entire pregnancy. I was 11 weeks at the initial FHDRA (First Initial Hearing), bilious but confident. I later learned his partner was also pregnant, and only weeks behind me. We were made to sign a declaration not to mention the physical assault months before, that would set the grounds for any negotiation. Without it he was not open to talking.
He had been supported by the same barrister right up until the final hearing. We arrived at court, so nervous with anticipation. We hoped the courts would be savvy to any “counter-parenting tactics’ he may use. He arrived without legal representation on that day due to costs and I wondered what may follow. I was informed at the final hearing that as he did not have legal representation, he would be allowed to draft the cross-examination questions and cross-examine me, terrified and panicked I asked my barrister to intervene in some way. This he was not able to do. I did not scream out in protest that day as they read out that outcome, in an attempt to justify any of his false accusations, I should have seized that opportunity. Instead I remained silent once more in denial it was happening and in complete shock whilst our Barrister frantically tried to grapple with facts and was reeling over how we could appeal as soon as possible. I held on, hopeful that it would soon be overturned. My labour was long but to my absolute relief, despite our stress, she was here safe. We spent that evening in hospital as a four. We came home and as it was your scheduled weekend with him, you returned there. I spent the next day with your sister on my chest, feeling so fortunate and complete. That day was for us, to allow for some recovery time and yet I could not help but agonise over the appeal the next day. I was informed that the judge did not find the decision to be lawfully wrong and therefore he was not able to overturn it. The judge found the Magistrates decision to be in their discretion and without considering any new or further evidence the order was effective from the moment you started school. We had months left. I felt we had been blessed with a beautiful girl no sooner as we had to watch our other beautiful girl leave. So bitterly cruel- I couldn’t breathe. I think a part of me died the day you started school. It’s again a day that should be monumental for the right reasons for most. I feel now I have let you down in the worst imaginable way. I’ve not been honest with myself, I’ve lived in denial and consequently tolerated it all and have allowed this to happen by not taking the appropriate action, despite advice. It has always been fear standing in our way. If I write this very matter of fact, or a little removed, I am so sorry it’s just that I’m numb.
I agonise over that hearing at any given moment in one day. We are all so heavy with grief. I wonder how I am the only ghost in this town as I go on to question its absolute injustice and find myself letting it eat me from the inside out. He has not a single ounce of remorse, any remorse for using you for his one-upmanship. I don’t understand the Magistrates decision, still to this day it makes no sense. I replay the outcome as it was read, so disassociated, like looking in on someone else’s trauma. We are now caught in a busy whirl of our own making, regretful that I did not file under domestic violence, for not recognising it as abuse. It was not just about that single day and its outcome, but the years thereafter that we would be subjected to. It was not about how he abused me but how he was happy to use you in the process. We spend most days angry for the memories we have lost. I am distraught that despite him having residency he continues to work away whilst his mum or partner collect you and care for you, not him, and not I. I am sad that you may now feel a sense of abandonment which I feel too. You are only 4 and despite being so emotionally intelligent you are not my confidante nor my counsel and I struggle to find the language to explain. I still find that I go in to your room to draw your curtains when you are not here. I will leave our bed in the early hours and go to your now empty room and I’ll whisper how much I need you and how I long to hold you tightly. I’ll curl up as I did back then to protect you but now I am wide awake, without you. Now too frightened to sleep for different reasons, for that another day will jade my ability to recall our happier times and it’s those times that I so fiercely need to protect. It’s all I have. I miss being your mummy, I’m so lost without you. I miss your cheerfulness and I am pained at echoes of your laugh that play over and over in my head. I miss how you smile with your eyes, I miss you demanding one more story at night time. I miss hearing your voice bellowing in the house, your calls for me, your presence. I miss how you made motherhood so unbelievably joyful. I miss teaching you the way of the world and how you could teach me so much in return. Mostly how I can never imagine my life without you, and yet here I am now seeing you fortnightly and one evening a week. You are still teaching me, vastly of our capabilities when faced with the toughest of situations. You will continue to make us strive to be nothing but our best self for you.
When you scream at me for lack of understanding, I do understand darling, I really do. I may quickly pick you up calm and collected, please do not be fooled. I am breaking up inside. How could the greatest thing in my life be taken so savagely?! Please don’t forget these happier times. Please don’t forget how special we are, our bond. Don’t forget I live on in you despite any efforts to drown us out. We will live on. I had to write this because to date his conditioning of my responses to his words and behaviours has stuck and to be honest, I still fear what he could do, might do, will do. I can’t control what’s happening but I can control the way we respond to what’s happening- that’s the power of self-control. We are the gatekeepers of our own integrity. We get to decide what we are and what we are not. As I write this, I still can’t really explain in words how hurt and betrayed I feel although I hope to find positive use for this sorrow, that I may muster some energy, for when those questions start to arise. By documenting these emotions whilst raw, I can hopefully give myself some permission to mentally switch off for a time. To momentarily park these feelings just to start living ‘present’ again. I know it is the kindest thing I could do for us right now. If you are ever struck with this deep sadness (I wish will all my might you never are), please take comfort that we love you so fiercely. We are immensely proud of you for being the kind and empathetic person you are. In a world where you can be anything, you continue to be kind. ‘What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when you bring what is within you out in to the world, miracles happen.’ Henry David Thoreau. I still very much believe in these miracles. Maybe one day we’ll catch our miracles in a wave of change. Until then, I’ll be missing you. Mummy xxxxx
Cherry Papaya www.cherrypapaya.com Fanny & Alexander www.fannyandalexander.com.ar Havaianas www.havaianas-store.com Lala + Zizo www.lalaandzizo.com Mamute Designs www.mamutedesign.com Marshes & Flint www.marshesandflint.co.uk Meri Meri www.merimeri.com Moleke www.moleke.pt Olivier Baby www.olivierbaby.com Olli Ella www.olliella.com Organic Zoo www.organic-zoo.com Ostheimer www.ostheimertoys.com Piu Piu Chick www.piupiuchick.com Rockahula www.rockahulakids.com Sleepy Doe www.sleepydoe.com Wee Gallery www.weegallery.com Wolf & Rita www.wolfandrita.com
Published on Mar 30, 2017
Volume 8 delves deep into motherhood with essays on mindfulness, embracing chaos, mothering daughters and raising global guardians. Our tra...