My youngest child is almost 17. She is a big and strong girl, larger in stature and more powerful than I. Yet she is extremely attached to her father and I.
“Where’s my Daaad?” She would ask and huff whenever her father is out of sight.
“Mum, are you there?” She’d stick her head into my bedroom to ‘check’, her big bug-like eyes missing nothing.
In a year’s time or so, she would be flying the nest to go to university. The world is her oyster, but I think she will settle for Imperial, because it is in London and thus close to home.
“You should teach her to be more independent,” a few people have commented disapprovingly.
And recently, there was an article making its rounds, “I am raising my kids to leave me.”
No, we are not raising Georgina to leave us. We are raising her to have choices.
Indeed, this supremely capable youngest child of ours has all the right tools to live independently, but the choice to be independent is entirely hers. Practicality might dictate that she leaves her supremely happy and safe childhood home, but there is no must.
I once knew a lady who could not wait for her children to leave home so that her life could begin. She defended that aim ruthlessly and would not allow her adult children to come home even in times of need. This stance of hers has caused her living children grave emotional trauma, ranging from addiction to chasing for love in the wrong places and being unable to accept love when it happened. Always running away, because a safe place called home never existed for them.
Beautiful perfect house, no mess, nice-looking photographs on the mantelpiece but wounded souls carrying unhealed childhood trauma still, right through their forties.
Is it worth it, this independence thing?
To have a secure base is a gift and a blessing. I am a strong believer in the evolutionary theory of attachment, namely human beings are born with the biological tendency to form attachments for the aim of survival. We need to be safe, to have a secure base, and then only we can achieve our best well and truly.
Two of my children who are in their twenties choose to live together, less than one mile from their childhood home. In fact, they recreated their childhood home that they loved so much. Close our eyes, and we seamlessly rolled back the years back to when we were young and the children were little. So easy. But perhaps it is because they never left. They slept in our bed for the longest time. And thus my thesis: attachment is the price we pay for that warmth and closeness with one another, and the joy and happiness that comes with that attachment.
This video by Omeleto about The Thank You Project says it so beautifully. As a medic, it struck a chord deeply in me. Please click on this link to view: https://www.facebook.com/omeletocom/videos/10154832249999494/?pnref=story
“None of us make it into life or through life on our own.”
Photograph: Georgina with her father.