Independence? I had it at one time…several times as a matter of fact. When I was single and living alone I had independence. Even after I married, my Husband and I worked as a team with the kids, but I still had my own independence.
In 1986 I had emergency surgery that took my independence away for a while, but when I recovered, I got it back. More surgeries and illness continued to pop up through the years, and I became dependant on other people for my care. My sister, my Mom, and the Joe-Man. But, I always came back and reclaimed my status as an independent woman.
But, in 2001 Addison’s Disease came to visit, and he has not left. This illness has robbed me of much of my independence. I have to plan my activities carefully, but I still need someone to depend on most of the time.
Independence is something we all want our children to achieve, but not at a young age. We want our kids to grow into it…not be thrown into it without warning.
My boys were fifteen and thirteen when I got sick. Typical teenage boys involved in sports, music and Scouting. School and their activities keep them busy. They were accustomed to coming home to a cooked dinner and having time to do their homework. They were so busy they didn’t have to worry about much….but things were about to change for them and their Dad.
After I got sick, coming home from school meant checking on me, making sure I had taken my meds and had something to eat.
These young men had to learn how to plan meals, make a grocery list and shop. Both can cook and they learned to enjoy it. They learned how to do laundry and iron a shirt. They learned how to manage their time, make arrangements for rides, and clean the house. They became totally independent with little help or guidance from me. The boys and their Dad had a hard and fast lesson to learn, they stumbled a few times, but they learned.
When my youngest son went away to college, I didn’t worry about his abilities to take care of himself. He already knew how to.
When my older son got a job as a FireFighter, I was concerned for his safety of course, but I knew he was independent enough to handle a tough job. He is one of the preferred chefs when he is working, some of the other guys can’t boil water.
So, even though I never wanted my boys to grow up so fast, they did. They are strong, caring, empathetic independent men.
Thankfully, not too independant….they both still live at home…and that makes me happy. I still need to depend on them for a lot.