Manda, better known now as The GreenMama, and I met twenty years ago on the first day of cross-country preseason when I was a freshman and she was a sophomore at Oberlin College. There was an instant energetic connection that has persisted from the very first moment. Was it because we were both devout vegans at the time? I think not. Rather it was and remains a bond that keeps us close despite the physical distances. She has supported and encouraged me in many ways on this journey that is life, and so I was honored when she asked if I would join her in the making of the book, GreenMama: Giving Your Child a Healthy Start and a Greener Future. She in her ever brilliant way devoted herself feverishly to researching and writing, making science and research accessible to the eco-conscious lay parents and caregivers of the world, while I, her side kick, looked for the beauty in our children and other peoples‘ and attempted to capture some of the joy and wonder of conscious living and childhood.
Last June we, me, Manda and our four girls, spent a week on Cortes Island, a remote island in the channel between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia. It is an island possessed of a preserved natural beauty the likes of which is unfamiliar to a city girl like me. We watched seals and dolphins frolic in front of our rented cottage, bounded gazelle like through the second growth forests, collected shells and frolicked with purple sea stars. It was nothing short of dreamy, I tell you! Our girls romped and played and, well, were bribed into modeling for the book. Manda and I knocked our heads together and came up with a shot list of which we attempted to actualize by planning adventures around the images we needed. I do like to take pictures and my two girls have become quite familiar with my camera lens, but sadly have begun to resist being my muses. We did our best to cajole them into having fun and when all was said and done they were quite proud (at least the older girls were) of being in a real book and helping to share a bit of their mothers’ passions with the world.
After departing Cortes and trekking with my family back to the Chicagoland area I was on my own with the shot list. There were playrooms, changing areas, pregnant mamas and young babes to capture in action. I called my midwife, I called my friends, I called friends of friends asking each one for their participation in this project. I am honored and blessed with a community of people who both supported the mission of this book and were happy to indulge me and my lens. Heidi and Anu, beloved dear friends, were beyond accommodating, attempting elimination communication for the first time, pretending to sleep in my bed, taking a bath in my sink, demonstrating breastfeeding and baby wearing, truly anything I asked. They played together naturally and lovingly, a beautiful mother and daughter. Kristen and her girls were sweet and giggly, eager and creative. Adele as always was a gem. Sebastian and Moxie couldn’t have been more joyous and playful when we plunged into a mid-winters snow. Cree and Sophie welcomed me into their lovely Waldorf home and classroom. And Lucia, I absolutely can’t say enough wonderful things about Lucia. My midwife gave me her name, I called her and she came over immediately which just so happened to be the morning of her due date. It was as if my pregnant sister had just arrived. We spent several hours chatting while she posed, followed my directives and changed outfits on the fly.
I sent Manda image after and image and thankfully I was able, to the best of my limited ability, to actualize her vision. She is so encouraging and supportive of my work that I will forever collaborate with her, after a bit of cajoling, whenever asked. I am excited to continue this journey together, for each of us to labor in our unique ways to help express the other’s vision. I hope you have a chance to pour over The GreenMama: Giving Your Child a Healthy Start and a Greener Future, to revel in it’s information filled pages and to sink into the images while you learn and absorb the bountiful information it contains.