Sophia on Bike

Upon arriving to pick up my girls for a parenting exchange, there was Sophia successfully riding her bike without the training wheels.  Her pride and joy peek out of this picture.  I remember that feeling well – the flutter of a nervous stomach with the realization of upright and forward movement, the fear of falling, and the unbridled joy in newfound freedom.

I had a personal independence day on September 1, 2011, when my divorce decree was signed.  It wasn’t filled with fireworks.  It was filled with sadness and fear about how I was going to navigate my life and parenting alone.  How was I going to do it all?

More recently, I experienced another independence day – the day my eldest daughter departed for a week long overnight camp.  She was embarking on one in a series of events during which she would become more and more independent.  Again, no fireworks and mostly tears. 

But from independence, growth is born – like the phoenix rising from the ashes – so to comes the inexplicable moment when strength arrives.  In moments of independence, big and small, comes the crazy satisfaction that we are doing it!  That we do not need to rely on anyone and that we are going to be just fine. 

In the nearly three years since September 1, 2011, I have many times been scared and thrilled by my independence.  I remember crying tears of joy after snow blowing my driveway for the first time (I swear it was 100 yards long… ok, maybe 50).  I jumped up and down in glee the first time I mounted shelves on my wall.  I soaked in satisfaction after I moved residences having made all the housing decisions myself. 

Independence means we are capable as a solo, but as I look back on my post-divorce independence, it has never meant that I was alone.  Support comes in different forms than a spouse, but support was always there when I needed or looked for it.

Independence means strength and in independence we are able to celebrate our self-worth.  The feeling of independence around the corner is undeniable – the flutter of a nervous stomach with the realization of upright and forward movement, the fear of falling, and the unbridled joy in newfound freedom.  During this time of transition, I encourage you to embrace yours.

Angela Dunne

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