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East County Thursday, Sep. 2, 2021 8 months ago

Manatee County mom stays connected to daughter with pin

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Mill Creek mother designs a pin for her daughter to wear to ease separation anxiety.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

Whenever Mill Creek’s Mia Morton, a first grader at Gene Witt Elementary School, misses her mother, all she has to do is look down to the bee pin to know her mother loves her.

“I like (the pin) because it reminds me of Mommy and makes me think of Mommy,” Mia Morton said of her mother, Stephanie Morton. 

Stephanie Morton shares a pin with her daughter Mia Morton, who is 6 years old, that they designed together to remind Mia Morton her mother always is with her. Courtesy photo.

Stephanie Morton designed the bee pin with her 6-year-old daughter to help with separation anxiety. Mia Morton wears the pin almost every day. 

Stephanie Morton said dropping Mia and her 8-year-old son, Logan, off at school when they were in kindergarten was heart wrenching. She would see children sobbing and having difficulty letting go of their parents. 

“You love them so much you don’t want to leave them,” Stephanie Morton said. 

Luckily, her children were so excited about school they didn’t have too difficult of a time saying goodbye. When Stephanie Morton dropped Mia off for the first day of school this year, only a few tears were shed, but she still has days when she misses her mom while she’s at school.

“She can look down and even though I’m not there to talk to her, hopefully she’ll know all the conversations we’ve had surrounding it,” Stephanie Morton said. “When she says, ‘Mom, I don’t want to go today,’ and I can say, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be with you.’ Knowing she might be playing that back in her head definitely makes me feel better that she’s not upset or hopefully not for long.”

Mia Morton, who is 6, almost always wears the bee pin she and her mother, Stephanie Morton, created to ease separation anxiety. Courtesy photo.

Stephanie Morton’s inspiration for the bee pin came from a golden heart pin she had in third grade to make her think of her mother. 

The Mortons worked on the design of the bee pin together, making the project more special to them. Stephanie Morton said they landed on using a bee as a design because Mia’s middle name is Bella, and sometimes Stephanie Morton calls her “Bee” as a nickname.

The bee’s wings are hearts to remind whoever is wearing it that they are loved. 

“It’s like a hug on your shirt,” Stephanie Morton said. “When you know they’re OK, you feel better about it. Any time I think she might be sad or the teacher notices she’s a little down, Mia can look down and find comfort.”

Stephanie Morton said the pin can be for children or adults. Stephanie Morton keeps her pin on her desk rather than wearing it. The family also wears the pins while cheering for Logan Morton at his baseball games. 

“It applies to everybody and anyone,” Stephanie Morton said. “The sentiment can be repurposed for anybody in any way just like that idea that all people would find some comfort from just hearing from a loved one.”

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