Seeking Independence

This past year has been a real growing year for my oldest son and his path to independence.  It started with allowing him to ride his bike to the library (the next street over) and grew to walking home from school one day a week with our neighbors.  It’s been a learning curve for the both of us.  I’ve had to have internal arguments with myself and remind myself not to hover like a helicopter.

This past weekend we went for our first camping trip of the year and I again marveled at how much more independence we do allow Corbin to have now.  He immediately took off on his bike for the pavilion area to see if he could find any kids he knew and to scope out the scene.

Brian stood at our campsite wistfully staring at Corbin.  He pointed down the road, looked at me, “Go there?”.  I responded with a “Not yet” as we hooked up the RV.

This happened several times over our stay at the campground.

And it happens at home when Corbin is outside playing with the neighborhood kids.  He’ll often say, “Outside?” and sometimes I’ll drop what I’m doing and go out with him and other times I have to tell him no so I can finish dinner.

independenceIt’s such a typical stage for a ten-year-old; pushing the limits, entering that “tween” stage where they want to be independent.  It makes me so incredibly happy that he’s even aware of the other kids now and that he wants to be around them.

However, he just isn’t ready to be outside by himself.  I’m not sure he ever will be.  He’s always surprising us with his progress so I can’t count him out of the game yet.  But he is going to have to develop some big skills like a sense of danger and awareness of his environment, just to name a couple.

His big brother is able to follow rules, be respectful, and attentive to himself and his surroundings.  Yet, he is nowhere near the capability needed to also do that for his little brother.  His little brother definitely commands supervision by someone with a lot of maturity.  Again, someday, we’ll get there, but I don’t know when.

I often think about growing up with my seven younger siblings.  I think my younger siblings did get to have a taste of “independence” earlier because they could meander off with us older kids at campgrounds or deep into the woods where we built our forts.  We weren’t perfect older siblings but we were able to keep an eye on the younger ones and they had simple knowledge of dangers and how to stay safe as well.  I love those memories of growing up.

I wish my boys could have it too.  Especially now that Brian seems to be noticing that he doesn’t have that taste of independence.  It was one thing when he didn’t want it or notice it.  It’s a whole other ballpark now that he sees Corbin having a taste of independence and is wanting it for himself.

Just another moment in life where I realize that every day we all take things for granted that Brian has to work really hard for.  In this case it’s a very important “thing”:  Independence.

 

Originally posted on The A-Word at Bangor Daily News.

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