Lalaby Family - Journal no. 2

Marisa Birger Christensen

- and her daugther Madison

 
Lalaby Family

Home away from home

We are excited to present our second journal with a big hearted and open minded woman, Marisa Birger Christensen. Coming from a Danish family of strong traditions and now living in London, raising one – soon two – kids with roots in Denmark, England and Barbados. 



  Photographer: Alona Vibe 
Styling: Trine Frølich
Interview: Laura Lawaetz

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A story about being curious about life, raising multi culture kids and passing on important values - for generations to come. 

“I have always been very close to my family. My parents divorced seven years ago and both my Mum and Dad have new partners now - and both have kids from their previous marriages too. Their doors are always open and we all spend a lot of time together. I see it as a blessing having a big family now. 

 As a family you can forget to talk but going through a divorce and having kids has brought my brother and me closer together. I think we now make an effort to stay even closer and it is extremely important for me to be part of my niece's and nephew's lives."

 

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When we visit Marisa she is staying in her father's and girlfriend's seaside house North of Copenhagen where she lived as a teenager with her mum and dad.

This house has a special sense of ‘hygge’ and love, this is the place I call home. We recently celebrated Madison’s second year birthday here with both my parents, their boyfriend and girlfriend, their kids, my brother and his family as well. It means a lot to me that this is possible. Kids definitely have a special way of bringing a family closer together."  

 

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The family history is important to Marisa and her family, something that instantly feel when we enter their home. There is a beautiful mix of designer furniture and family treasures. A portrait of her grandmother painted by Vilhelm Lundstrøm has a central place in the dining room and so has furniture by her fathers uncle, Finn Juhl, next to a baby crib which has been in the family for generations waiting to be passed on.

“It is a family crib that my dad slept in when he was a kid. My brother and I slept in this crib and now my niece, nephew and my own daugther as well. 

 

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Despite divorce, additional family members and long distance relationships do not always have a happy ending, it is an important part of Marisa’s story and she is grateful for what she has and the values she was brought up with. 

"My parent’s divorce has taught me that one chooses ones own family and that love and respect are the most important pillars in a family. 

It has always been important to me, to find my own way. I joined the army when I was twenty. I had been studying for two years but wanted to try something different. I really learned a lot and I loved it. I then moved to Barcelona to finish my studies before moving to London six years ago. 

Originally I came to London as a friend of mine was going and never planned to stay this long. Then I met Myles and love made me stay. 

 My parents have taught me to follow my heart. They have always made me feel loved and supported. They have inspired me to do what makes me happy, to be kind and respectful and to always be curious about what life has to offer. Values I want to pass on to my own kids."

 

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"London has always felt like a second home to me. I was born in London, my parents lived here for twelwe years until I was three. 


My dad sometimes jokes about being jealous about me living here. When my parents lived here, we had to move back as my dad had to take over the family business, Birger Christensen, in Denmark.  He is the fifth generation and it was a given thing that he had to take over the business. He always gave me and my brother the choice. He never said we couldn’t work in the business, but have always encouraged us to choose whatever makes us happy in life.

 Living in London with kids can be challenging. Madison was born during the first lockdown, and it was extremely difficult not having my own relatives close by. We did not visit Denmark until she was four months old. I want Madison and her little sister to have close bonds with her Danish, English and Bajan family, which is why we use Facetime a lot and talk to her about our family members every day. I also want to go to Barbados as often as possible to visit our family there."

 

Lalaby Family

Jeanette Madsen

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Marisa was brought up in Denmark with her older brother and her boyfriend Myles has three younger siblings and they were brought up in London by their mother and grandmother. 

  

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"Myles’ Nan who lives in the UK but was born in Barbados, is the centre of the family bringing everyone together. She is always happy and smiling and it is important for her to be part of her grandchildren’s life. 

Myles and his family have a calm, kind and fun way of looking at life. When we visited his family in Barbados I really loved their mentality. They enjoy life to the fullest, open their homes to anyone in need and cooks amazing food to make everyone feel welcome.” 

 

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With roots in Denmark, London and Barbados, Madison and her baby sister will be multi culture kids, something that Marisa reflects on. 

"Raising mixed raced kids is definitely something I think about. I want to make sure our girls don’t feel different or like they don’t belong. Talking about race and racism is something that will be important to me from their childhood.

Madison's nursery has a rainbow color of kids and I like that she doesn't have to feel different. London has multiple cultures and it is not something that worries Myles. In Denmark it is not the same, maybe that is why it is more of a concern to me. 

I would like to raise my kids to be confident and to do their best. I strive to create a home with love respect and kindness and believe that with this in mind it does not matter where you live or which skin-colour you have."

 

Lalaby Family

Jeanette Madsen

 

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Raising strong and independent girls that are free to choose what makes them happy in life is important to Marisa. 

"My mum has been hardworking most of her life, working for the Danish embassy in London and running her own businesses. She has always been a strong independent woman and a role model to me like she will be to my girls. 

I want to give our girls the freedom to adapt to who they are like multi culture kids. Their experience will be different to my own and Myles' childhood. When they are old enough they should feel free to explore their cultures themselves and to decide which parts they identify with."   




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