Independent

I hear parents complaining often about their stubborn child. Is it your second child? Usually it is. When I was growing up, I was different from my other siblings. I was headstrong, stubborn, a pain in the ass…constantly. I grew up feeling bad about myself, and it wasn’t until I started teaching that I realized that I was born the way I was, and it wasn’t actually a possession of the devil. There were other kids out there just like me. You could have yelled and tried to beat me into submission, but it most likely wouldn’t have worked. When I gave birth to myself after having the perfect first-born child, I knew how to handle her. Everything, everyday could have been a potential battle, but I chose it not to be. Now Baby is home briefly from college. We wondered if she would be able to get out of bed and get herself to class. We worried that she would lose her homework, lose her way home from class or Walmart. Should we have held her back because of her August birthday? No, we absolutely had to send her to school- she was driving us crazy. At 18, it was easy to leave her at college because we were so mad at each other the day she moved in. I was still mumbling under my breath 2 hours into the car ride home. But within a few days, she texted. She liked her professors in Chemistry and Criminology. Whew…. Molly has finished her freshman year at the top of her class (take that Justin Woo). She not only got straight A’s, but she set the curve over and over again. There was supposed to be a curve on the Chem 2 final, but Molly got a 105%. Maybe she curved it according to the next grade- an 82%. She took higher level biology and chemistry. Now she has to decide between university or college physics and Calculus 1 or 2. She will have enough hours after her summer class to technically be a junior. When she earned a 100% on her Bio test, her professor lamented that no one had ever done that in the 25 years he had been teaching. Even in her 200 student lecture classes, Molly was on a first name basis with her professors. This one talked to another colleague about Molly being her research assistant. Normally those spots are reserved for graduate students, but Faith asked Molly to join her for a three year research spot with the plan to get Molly published before she graduates. She now occasionally dog sits her Labs and they run together on Wednesdays. She has an interview at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital and has sent out applications to scribe. I’d never heard of that, but she will be assigned a hospital, follow doctors around and take their notes for them. She loves her new grown-up life. Last night she was telling me her plans the next few weeks. It reminded me of myself. A few days at home was fine, but then I wanted to take off and be with my new college friends. My parents always let me because it was easier than not. But she has far exceeded anything that I could have ever imagined. Everything she has done, she’s done on her own. In first grade, I built a replica of the Court House for Jake’s project, but when Molly came along, she made it clear I was not helping. It was hard for me to sit back and watch her build her ocean diorama, are you sure you want to put that there? I shut up, and secretly worried how hers would look next to the parents’ projects. At least everyone would know that Molly did her own, or at least I hoped they would. That was the beginning, and she has never looked back, never asked us for help on anything. I’d like to think that her independence and confidence was nourished way back when I allowed her to wear what she wanted, cut her hair the way she wanted and just told her she was beautiful…

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