Recently America celebrated Independence Day, the 4th of July when the whole country goes bananas with fireworks and parades and family picnics.
The 4th of July happens to be my favorite day of the entire year, and not just because I love celebrating with my family and a watermelon salad at the city swimming pool, although I won’t lie, that doesn’t hurt.
Or you know, in the case of me and my children, the celebration of sartorial independence. Freedom as a 4-year-old to wear a knitted poncho and mustard yellow 70’s sweater, my mother’s patent leather heels, my father’s cowboy hat, and some bright red lipstick.
It took me awhile to figure out as a parent, but letting my kids figure out their own stuff without intervention has been critical to their independence and self-confidence. Every time I try to step in and tell my kids how it “should” be done whatever “it” is, I undermine their ability to be strong, independent, empowered little humans.
They know what they want, and how to get there no matter how often I get in the way. Just like I knew exactly what I wanted from the minute I showed up on this planet, regardless of what anyone else has ever said about rules and propriety and any other obstacle in my way.
In the end, celebrating my children’s independence and understanding their need to be their own proprietors of reason has forced me understand my own independence more completely. And in that understanding is the knowledge that I’ll never be truly independent again; the pieces of my heart don’t belong to me anymore, they’ve been walking around inside my children from the moment they arrived.