“I want to do it!” the two year-old states to me as I bend down to help her put her glove on. I stand back up again, acknowledging her request for independence. After all, she is not telling me she wants to start a fire on a camping trip, or pay my taxes. She is trying to put on a purple glove so that we can go outside and play on the playground.
I watch her stuff her hand into the glove. She’s gotten her thumb, index finger, and pinky lined up appropriately. But her middle finger and ring finger are both setting up shop in the middle finger’s one-bedroom unit. Get out, the middle finger seems to be saying to the ring finger. Get your own place! And the ring finger is trying, but it’s not that easy.
“I can’t get it!” the two year-old cries, pulling at her glove in frustration.
“Would you like some help putting your glove on?” I ask.
I bend back down again, and help guide the ring finger to his spot. I see the little girl watching me, taking mental notes on how to perform this task herself next time without my help. She wants so badly to be independent. I am reminded of a time, not all that long ago, when my friends and I yearned for a similar type of independence in middle school. A time when we wanted to shop for our own clothes, frequent restaurants with our friends, and be dropped off at school half a block away.
Essentially, we wanted our parents to exist for the sole purpose of providing rides with minimal conversation and a maximum allowance.
We all strive for independence. We want to be productive, self-sufficient, and non-reliant upon others for all matters, from putting on our own gloves to ultimately paying our own bills. But through it all, it helps to remember that no one grows without the support of others. Parents, teachers, friends, all contribute to our growth like water, sun, and soil aid a seed to bloom.
And bloom we will!