Our first test shoot for the Big Flip. 3 families, 1 luncheon, 3 days. Here’s a taste of what we learned.
We learned that it gets cloudy in the Pacific Northwest.
We saw the magic that happens when we bring people together, and how much we learn just from sharing and listening to each other’s stories.
Rebecca shared her thoughtfully-planned strategies for avoiding the emotional booby traps around money, house chores and identity.
Robyn showed us it’s possible to stay deeply, madly, sweetly in love with the college sweetheart you married, as if time had never passed. And this creates a generosity of spirit that lends great resilience to a long marriage.
Khemika taught us that we can choose to change from the roles and expectations we were taught growing up. And that it’s important to keep a steely courage and confidence in your choices in the face of constant family pressures and questioning.
We learned many other things in our dim-sum-fueled conversation. For instance…
- Women want to see that sparkle in his eyes. When a husband can’t find a job, it’s not just the financial loss that hurts. It’s watching that sparkle seep away from him that hurts the most.
- Marriages are happier when husband and wife have an “adult-adult” relationship. Couples get less happy when interactions start feeling like an “employer-employee” relationship. Things are definitely not happy when it feels like a “parent-child” dynamic.
AT THE YODER HOUSEHOLD, we learned that “keeping it real” is a mantra that keeps this family going.
We saw how Fred is the Master of Comedy in the household, teaching his children a crucial lifelong skill to take a step back and laugh.
And the joy he creates in the family fuels Robyn, Sammi and Joey.
We understand that sometimes, the breadwinner may fantasize about being the wife at home keeping house and caring for the kids.
And the stay-at-home husband occasionally dreams of getting back out there to do what he loves.
And it’s okay. Because being real and honest about how we feel, not just how we should feel, is important.
We witnessed that, in embracing the chaos of their ever-blossoming family, THE WAN-REES CLAN found beauty and joy and wisdom.
We found out that Chip doesn’t think of himself as a stay-at-home dad. He’s the family’s Social Director and Spiritual Center, the community arts organizer, and everyone’s favorite neighbor. (Just don’t call him the mayor.)
We witnessed how Bonnie juggles work, parenthood, and motherhood—gracefully and professionally. And how much she respects and adores Chip for what he’s doing for their kids and their home.
We learned that it’s not always easy. A mother may wonder what she may have lost, not being with her little ones as much as she’d like during their most precious years.
A man may wonder, what’s lost when his work is put on hold while he raises a family.
But Bonnie, Chip, Ziggy, Isla and Ruby also taught us that, when they come together as one, nothing is lost, and much more is gained with the unconditional love, support and safe haven of a tight-knit family.
And we wonder what else baby #4 will teach the Wan-Rees tribe when it arrives in May.
We learned all kinds of wonderful things we didn’t expect to at the MAGICAL MENAGERIE OF LEVY-MIZIUMSKI.
Violet and Gregor taught us that chickens can be beautiful.
We learned that salamanders have funny ears.
Violet and Gregor showed us they love their cats.
We learned that Gregor is an incredible craftsman with a great reputation in construction and home improvement. But even the most glowing reputation doesn’t bring in enough income when folks don’t have the money to spend on big home improvement projects.
But Gregor the Builder also showed us that there are many ways for a husband to contribute to the family, besides financially.
Like fixing the bathroom floor.
Organizing the glassware.
Fixing up the basement.
Getting creative with decor.
Baking and cooking.
And making Violet laugh.
Gregor and Violet also taught us that, for them, the pressure they feel isn’t about the gender reversal. It’s simply the challenge of trying to make it on one-income in what was once a two-income household.
“If Gregor were a woman, or Violet were a man, and we were a gay couple—it would be no different.”
Gregor also demonstrated how to use “in the hour of the wolf” in casual conversation outside the world of Game of Thrones. Well, maybe only Gregor and Violet can pull that off.
Paige and Winston learned that they quite like working together.
And we all learned that Izzy may not be the best child-wrangler.
The Big Flip – Izzy the Ineffective Child Wrangler from Izzy Chan on Vimeo.
Photos by lead photographer Paige Green.
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