adjective: free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority
When I was in my early twenties I studied and obtained a Montessori teaching credential. I fell head over heels in love with Maria Montessori. Many things I learned then have resonated and stayed with me throughout my teaching career, raising my children, and living my life. One such principle is that the main thing to teach children is to take one step away from you everyday.
My husband and I have taught our children from birth that one expectation was most definitely independence. When they graduated high school, they were expected to leave the nest. We have each modeled independence through our hard work ethic. We have provided role models of independent teens and young adults moving far away, going to college, traveling, getting good jobs.
Now it’s happening. My children are becoming independent, flying the coop, attending fabulous universities, getting married. If I take the emotion out of the situation it’s amazing! They are incredible, interesting people. But they came through me, they are not of me, and it’s excruciating to let go. Let go of control. Let go of the dreams I had for them. Let go of the daily routines of taking care of them that made up my life for so long.
The good new is if you’ve done the work, the conscious hard work, of pushing them away a little each day, then one day they really do just walk on their own. They walk away…with a smile and a plan. And they create their own dreams, which I’ve found to be better than the ones I had for them. I am just blessed that they are taking me along in their independence. I feel like a fly on the wall; in their lives but separate.
It is really happening. I am working on my independence…again. I became independent from my parents. Then somewhat from my husband when he was working long days and I was all but on my own to take care of the house and raise the children. Now from my children. My days are getting longer as they need me less and I can return to my own interests and rebuild my identity. I am evolving, metamorphosing, finding peace and what lies beyond. I kind of like that about myself…finding strength in my children’s independence. And gathering independence in my children’s strength.
“For in a very real sense the child creates the adult, as truly as the adult creates the child.”
Maria Montessori Her Life and Work