24 Feb Meet the Amazing Tina Baker! Owner of Hansen Design Ltd.
What do you love to do with your children? How old are they? And what is your greatest wish for them?
That is a tough question. No specific activity comes to mind. I think for me it is more about being than doing. When I can forget about all the work to be done, things that have happened and things to come and can be purely in the moment with Sophie (4 1/2, my only child) is when I am truly happiest. My internal buzzing slows down and I see her in a completely different light. She exists there in her truth, a child, innocent and pure, devoid of all the complications that come with age, the personification of love. We could be reading a book, exploring Tod’s Point, sledding, painting or just curled up in bed together, it’s not about the activity as much as it is the detachment from what I think I need to be doing.
As far as my greatest wish for Sophie, I am not going to be delusional and wish for her to have a life free from pain and suffering. I think it’s what we do with those realities that determine our character. So my wish for Sophie is that she has the courage to live a life of integrity, to have a heart of compassion and to surround herself with people that love and accept her.
When and where are you the happiest?
Different parts of me would have different answers. The mother in me would say, when I am curled up with Sophie reading a book. The wife – watching Ed play with Sophie, fully engaged. The sister and daughter – when the family is all together in Rhode Island sitting out on the covered porch at sunset having dinner. The woman – walking around Tod’s Point with a good friend and connecting. The designer – the moment when inspiration hits and it all comes together and just flows. The spiritual side of me – being of service to someone in need, sharing my experience strength and hope.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Anywhere my family would be happy to follow. I have had the good fortune of traveling a great deal in my youth. Perhaps this is because my family is from Sweden or my restless nature. I have found however having arrived at this mid point in my life, that I am always happiest when I come home. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I have explored far off lands, only to realize happiness and joy was here at home, within me all along.
What quality do you most admire in a mother?
Today I have more respect for mothers than anyone else. It is a sometimes thankless (for many) labor of love. To be entrusted with the care of the future generation is no small task. To do so devoid of selfish motives is even harder. Motherhood has raised the bar higher than any job I have ever had.
What is your favorite book? Movie?
Oh my so many, but my immediate answer for both is To Kill A Mockingbird. It remains as powerful today as it did the first time I entered its fold.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
Without a doubt, the life I have created with my husband Ed. We both have ‘Phoenix from Ashes’ stories. Despite life circumstances convincing us we would be better off alone, we have continued to be committed to a life together. I lost my father when I was 19, and unbeknownst to me, part of my heart died that day. I didn’t realize that because part of me was so afraid of loving and losing again, I found it difficult to stay in relationships. Ed had his own challenges. It took us 6 ½ years and a lot of work before we got married. Six months later Ed got diagnosed with cancer. The gift of cancer can be that it really makes you evaluate your life and your choices. Up to that point we had desired a life without children. Some people have a mid life crisis and buy red sports cars, we decided to have a baby. It didn’t come easily. Thankfully because of all the work we had done together prior, the setbacks only strengthened our relationship. After three years of trying (which felt like an eternity), Sophie was born. Now as parents we continue to stretch, to let go of everything we think we know about being a parent and trust the process. To parent from a place of love and always be mindful of the power that words hold, especially to little people who are so sensitive and want only love and approval. Actually that applies to everyone.
What do you feel is your strongest talent?
Oh gosh, I don’t know about ‘talent’, but my strengths as a person I would say are my compassion and my optimism. My own personal struggles have made me more compassionate toward others. It is easy to judge people from the masks they wear. It is much more difficult to try to see and connect with what lies beneath it. I also try to find hope and meaning in life’s more painful points. I try to remember that had Ed not come down with cancer we would not have Sophie in our lives. My greatest challenges are my propensity to worry and my difficulty making decisions. Being a parent is a wonderful opportunity to work on these daily 😉
What do you like to do for fun?
Anything involving my family and preferably near the water. I spent a great deal of my early life in pursuit of ‘fun’. Today it is more about joy.
What is your favorite time of the day and why?
I am a dawn and dusk girl. I love the quality and angle of the light and all the long shadows it creates. Besides, the beginning and the ending of stories are always the most powerful.
Where is your favorite place to Party with Moms and what’s your favorite drink?
On a beach with family and friends at sunset with a fresh brewed ice tea with mint. Boring but true.
Tina is the owner and principal designer of a residential design firm Hansen Design Ltd.
Visit her beautiful website below