When Joe and I first met in school in 1988 he had a camera around his neck. He has been taking pictures for over twenty years. For many years his passion lay dormant. During the intensely busy decade of pregnancies, babies and toddlers he put the camera aside and we started a home business called, Willow Toys. We are grateful to be one of the leading stores in the U.S. to sell the kind of wooden toys that we do, made by hand. We have been in Mothering Magazine's Best Natural Toys review three times with our Willow Kitchen, Sir Gabriel's Castle and Emeline's Dollhouse.
So much of Joe's joyful focus has been on Willow Toys, facilitating my advocacy, travel and living life with four kids. His photography has been on the back burner for a long time.
In the last couple of years however, Joe's passion for photography has been able to be nurtured. He has invested in equipment, lenses and classes. He has perfected his own style and experienced so much by connecting with other photographers.
I have really enjoyed supporting Joe's passion in my own way. I find him props at yard sales. I search for opportunities in which he can take amazing photos and I am designing him a website. We find ways in which Joe can give back through is photography too, which has really fed a need within us to give to others. I have enjoyed focusing on my husband's rekindled passion and I am enjoying helping him expand his interest into a business. Most recently, he began selling prints on Etsy. Check him out!
Our life has been a dance of nurturing each other's interests in life. So much expansion and growth have been the result in doing so. I think it is important being a Radical Unschooling parent that we don't just have the focus on our children and their interests. For our children to truly understand that learning never ends, we really have to Be lifelong learners ourselves. It can be sometimes easy to forget our partner's needs on this path when we are both so focused on the kids. Our lives are all so intertwined and we get into a rhythm. However, it's important for me to keep things exciting and fresh.
Bringing new tools for expansion, such as books, magazines, new foods, new games and toys and objects for creativity helps support everyone in different ways. When we take day trips and travel, we try to work in visiting places that further an interests as a family. If we take a trip to visit friends we might stop at a card shop for Devin on the way and hit a discount store on the way back so Tiff can shop for and buy used toys. (Something she presently loves to do). We know that Orion loves trucks so we might take the long way home and drive through a construction site so he can have that moment of impassioned joy. Keeping our interests in mind on trips makes everywhere we go so memorable and special.
When Joe brings me home something to nurture whatever I am into at the time, it means so much. I feel so loved and understood. I am grateful to be able to give my children and Joe that amazing feeling whenever I can.