Loni McGackin: The Face of a Natural Island Mom

Introducing….Loni McGackin!

Typically when people think of an Island Mom, she is all shades of black and her body is a little pudgy with a big butt and maybe she is a little loud. Do not get me wrong, there nothing wrong with having a little extra “sauce” in your DNA. But island folk who know will tell you, there is so much more to being an island mom than the aforementioned cliche characteristics. Island  Mom’ism is not just a persona or character we tend to identify with, but rather a state of mind and being, a lifestyle. You see, some island moms may not even have children of their own, or some may not actually have a birth certificate from any of the island regions around the world. But they, WE are all island mothers nonetheless.

Now introducing to you our model and friend Loni McGackin. She informed us that she is proudly bahn “born” and bred “raised” on the beautiful emerald gem, St. Croix. And lets get it out of the way, yes she is a white girl. Imagine the double takes from visitors and locals alike when she engages a conversation and the words come out…I swear Loni has the strongest Crucian dialect and if your eyes were closed you would swear she was…well (here goes my generalization)…Black! But what do you expect from someone who came into this world the same as another with darker skin and fuzzier hair? Being an island mom goes way beyond the color of ones skin, their religious preference or being able to turn a pot of fungi (local Virgin Islands dish that can be described as cornmeal mashed potatoes with okra).

More so, being a true island mom can be defined as one who is able to appreciate the qualities and attributes of island life. It is recognizing the mystique of the ocean’s daily ebb and flow. Island mom-ness is awaiting the rising of the sun in the east and the golden sunset in the west. It is rolling with the not so seasonal seasons and taking life as it comes, one day at a time…smiling at the memory of why your skin is sun burnt in the first place, or being a little more feisty or saucy when it comes to something they (WE) strongly believe in. Being an island mom means connecting with your island(s) of origin even after you left their sandy shores or ensuring you continue the traditions and instill the values taught you as a child by your island parents while you have never actually lived there yourself.

Back to Loni who is an amazing mom. I don’t know, but she is pure chill. I believe it may be the ocean’s tranquility most times that gives her the cool, IRIE vibes she carries all over the island. Better yet we think its YOGA or FIRE dancing as she is a master of both! Whatever it is, Loni is definitely one of a kind and we LOVE her. 

Want to know a bit more about our natural gal?

Here’s a little snippet from our Q & A:

IMR: Where do you live?

L: Currently residing on St. Croix. Can’t imagine being anywhere else right now.

IMR: What do you love MOST about living there?

L: I love the sense of comm~UNITY on our island. Yes, of course we have our “bad” coconuts (used coconuts since we don’t grow apples here), but overall, my island people are strong, resilient, giving, and are quick to help out a neighbor. There’s also a sense of freedom here to be who you are, to be free from the societal constraints of westernization.

IMR: How many children do you have?

L: I have one son, 11 years old, who enriches my life so much (aka the most strong-willed child ever!) that I am completely content with having just one. He’s my heart and I can’t imagine loving him anymore than I already do. Life is an adventure with him.

IMR: What’s the greatest thing about being a mom?

L: I think the greatest thing about being a mom is watching my son become his own man, and a kind and giving one at that. Knowing that all of my hard work is paying off and knowing that I’m helping my son develop into an individual that I am proud of (even if he doesn’t always believe it). Also, my son is still super cuddly and gives the best snuggles ever!

IMR: Name one fear that you have conquered as a mom.

L: Being a single mom, even a mom in general, I have a few fears about my son, naturally. One thing that I’m continually working on is letting go. It’s hard to let your children go out on their own and leave your protective wing. Over the summer, I conquered this by signing him up for sailing camp at the Yacht Club. This was me letting go a little bit, knowing that there are a hundred things that could go wrong but having faith and trusting my son to make the right decisions for himself to keep himself out of harm’s way (and nothing terrible happened!).  

IMR: How is an ISLAND mom different from other moms?

L: When it comes to island moms versus non-island moms, one thing definitely stands out in my mind: our children (on an island) are far more connected to nature than non-island children. Our children are like little wild bush kids growing up and it’s wonderful. It instills in them a sense of true freedom, an appreciation of and respect for nature, independence, imagination, and resilience. Since many of our children also grow up without many of the “latest and greatest” products that many children on the mainland have, they grow up learning to appreciate the little things in life. This makes for happier children overall. 

IMR: What do you think is the greatest STRENGTH of an island mom?

L: The greatest strength of an island mom comes from her place of resiliency. We island moms have been through major natural disasters and we have learned to adapt to living without: without electricity, sometimes without running water, and limited resources. Yet somehow, we find the strength to keep going. And if we have to leave island, it’s because we have thought long and hard about it, and even though it’s an internal battle, we do what we have to do for our families. Island moms have an inner resolve like no other. Despite the many storms we weather (both natural and personal), we smile and keep going.

IMR: What’s your second favorite Caribbean island?

L: Second favorite island: Dominica, hands down. What a magical island! And the people are some of the happiest people I have ever met!

IMR: Name one bucket list item you have yet to fulfilled.

L: Rent an RV and travel around the US, into Canada and Alaska. 


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