Independence is Okay
Thoughts & Reflections
Your child will always need you.
Even as an adult, I want my mom. I want to share a funny moment of my day, a shoulder to cry on, to bring me saltines when I don’t feel well, to make everything better. There is no one like a parent.
A parent is a touchstone. To keep you humble when you’re getting to big for your britches, to build you up when you’ve had a hard setback, to remind you from whence you came, and don’t you let nobody push you around.
This is true at four months. At four years. At four decades.
It is not uncommon to see tears on both sides when it’s a child’s first day of school. How did my baby get so big?? They were just babbling yesterday. They might be ready to stay at school all day, but I’m not.
“A parent is a touchstone.”
Good for you! You have admitted a great Truth. That you, the parent, are not quite ready for the sweet babe you have known and loved since they were merely a thought and a dream, preparing to not need you. In so many ways, your child’s dependence allows for your expressions of love.
Kissing a skinned knee. Zipping up a coat. Feeding a baby tiny pieces of blueberry, meticulously cut up.
Every act of independence is an incredible accomplishment. And it is also a step away from you.
Tying her own shoes. Learning to read. Carrying her lunch box down the hallway with a quick wave, ready to greet her friends.
These successive feats of independence mean your child is growing. Your child will one day no longer be a child. They will have friends and a life apart from you. They will spend Friday nights out with friends. They will grow, move away, fall in love, and start a whole life of their own.
Just as you did.
Every parent, every generation, has raised babies who no longer need them.
But you are still so very needed. You will always be needed. You will always matter.
With every accomplishment, your child will want someone to share that achievement with. With every struggle or heartbreak, your child will want Home — you are Home. You are the best back rubber, the best band-aid applier, the best cheerer, the best hugger.
You are absolutely irreplaceable.
You gave your child the greatest gifts of independence imaginable. You held tiny hands as she learned to walk. You gave him the spoon and a tray full of Cheerios so he could feed himself. You spoke with her for countless hours, and now she has full conversations. You could never imagine taking these gifts back, or not celebrating at the first roll over, not calling your own parent when your child spoke her first words.
Not calling your own parent when your child spoke her first words. Huh.
Who do you share photos with of your own child’s achievements? Who do you call when your child’s fever just won’t seem to break? Who are you thankful for, every day a bit more, as you raise your own child?
We are all someone’s child. In very different ways than infancy, we still count on our parents, on elders who acted as parents.
Independence is okay. It means you’re serving your child well. You are meeting their needs, even when it pulls at your heart. You are still important. You will always be important. You matter.
Written by:Charlotte Wood