My mom frequently reminds me that her and my dad “will be there for you, but we’re not going to do it for you.” Little by little, step-by-step we grow into ourselves. When we are first born, we breathe air for the first time and they cut the chord. That is our first step to independence, right? F-R-E-E-D-O-M! I think not.
We are so helpless and reliant on our parental units for everything. We slowly master very small skills at each new phase in order to grasp a deeper breath of independence. Bit by bit you do more by yourself, think for yourself, feed yourself, relieve yourself and fend for yourself.
Yet when do you ever truly gain full independence? We are all so interdependent that independence seems like an oxymoron. Sure I’ve come to do things for myself and have always been headstrong, even as a toddler, but there are times now where I just wish someone would do it for me. Looking back, I was in such a rush to grow up and had little use for my parents. I was talking with my cousin, child obesity expert, Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, who said “childhood is wasted on the young.” Because when you look back, you realize how good you had it.
I remember going off to sleep away camp. My first taste of true independence. A playground to test my skills, social, mental, physical, hormonal, etc. I loved my summers at camp. I was but a few of my “home” friends who went off to camp and welcomed the change of scenery. Camp time is exaggerated in the sense that the days feel like weeks and the weeks like months. That said, you can have some pretty long days at camp. My first camp boyfriend lasted all of 7 hours and in that time we kissed, went to the movies, were the center of gossip and alas, broke up. In camp time, that’s 7 weeks and gives Hollywood a run for its money.
There were days at camp where I was desperately home sick and wanted a lullaby from my daddy. Back in the ancient days when I went to camp, computers, emails and cell phones were on the brink of invention. The only way to communicate to home was by snail mail and land-line telephone. Except, as campers, you couldn’t call out, you had to wait for your parents to call. That was a great moment, you’d hear your name paged over the loudspeaker “Cynthia, please answer the phone in the Mess Hall.” “Me, really?” Off I’d go, as fast as I could to the nearest phone. Excitedly and panting, I’d scream “HI MOM!!” So while you are without your parents, you wait for your parents call and even better – packages! They’d sneak in candy and food – the old gum in the maxi pads trick. However, parents were on call in case you got unruly or caught on a raid or something like that, not that I ever did – get caught, that is…. Camp helped prepare me to be on my own for college, law school and marriage.
Little did I realize then but I see now with my friends who have kids going off to sleepaway camp that it’s actually the parents who are looking forward to putting their kids on the bus for the summer and yelling F-R-E-E-D-O-M!
As a parent you are more responsible then you’ve ever been before and while you are an “independent” unit, it’s the first real time you’ve had legitimate dependents. And in many ways, you become dependent on your children, at least your schedules seem to revolve around them.
My daughter’s new saying is “I Do It Myself”. She wants to do everything and anything herself. Now she’s off to camp, albeit a half day program, but camp nonetheless and her first drop off – no mommy in sight. So far so good! She is taking her first steps towards building the platform for herself and her independence. Little does she or my son know that my BFF Melissa and I are already planning our camp comeback. That is, when our kids go off to camp, we’re gonna go work there!
“Enjoy Your Baby Steps!”
I now realize just how far I’ve come and how much I have accomplished on my own, but my parents always had my back. I so often forget of the mini milestones my children accomplish until I observe my growing by leaps and bounds 9-month-old niece and her race to grow up, talk, pull herself up and eat real food. She’s working so very hard at advancing to the next phase to which I say, “don’t rush it kid, enjoy your baby steps!!”
About the Author
Cynthia Litman is a working modern mom with a classic twist. She has two delicious children and is the spiritual and visionary guide of Mommas Pearls. Cynthia began Momma’s Pearls in 2009 when her grandparents passed away as an outlet to remember and pass down their wisdom and integrate it into the quickly passing moments with her young family. Mommas Pearls provides insight and support to other everyday busy parents. Mommas Pearls has since dovetailed into the Mommas Pearls blog, talk radio show and M’S Gems – a blog written by her BFF Melissa who brings the practical, give it to you straight side of Mommas Pearls. Cynthia is also an entertainment lawyer with a niche in spiritual entertainment. Her firm Cynthia R. Litman, Esq., PLLC caters to the spiritual entertainment market. She is a founding partner of The Spiritual Cinema Circle (www.spiritualcinemacircle.com), a DVD club for spiritual films, Executive Producer of the Independent films “Lost In Sunshine” and “Boost”, production attorney for “Conversations With God” (film based upon the books by Neale Donald Walsch) and distribution attorney for Debbie Ford’s documentary film “The Shadow Effect” and Nicole Clark’s documentary film “Cover Girl Culture”. Cynthia is a contributing writer for the online magazine Bella Life and a Lifestyle expert for Skimbaco Lifestyle.