Independence Day

My life is normally simple and quiet–I like it that way–but lately I think it is boring, at least to write or read about.

With a broken arm, there is not much I can do. The most exciting part of a day involves being able to accomplish a new task. I can almost do all of my regular chores–mostly, with some limitations. A few days ago, I managed to put clean sheets on the bed and make the bed–although I’m still sleeping on the couch because it’s easier to position my arm somewhat comfortably. Yesterday, I was able to fold the towels–more or less–which had defeated me before because they were bulkier and heavier than my broken arm could handle. Folding the sheets after I washed them ended in failure because, although light, they were too big. I wadded them up and stuffed them in the drawer. Opening cans is still an ordeal. Sometimes I am successful in getting them open and sometimes I am not. I still can’t care for the poultry. Although more and more snow is melting, the path to the coop is still icy and slippery and the water buckets are too heavy for me to lift and pour.  I can’t wait until I can take back this chore too. Although trivial, I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can manage another task.

The most exciting event in our lives is that this Wednesday JJ and his friend will be moving into their own apartment. It’s a huge new step and stage of his life and it’s rather terrifying. He worries he won’t have enough money, etc., and I expect that finances will be tight for him for a while as he learns to budget. It’s one thing to pay some bills while living with your parents. It’s quite another to be responsible for paying for rent, utilities, and food yourself. However, I think that he will soon enjoy his independence.

I think JJ is ready to be out on his own. He said today, “No, offense, Mom, but I’ve been feeling trapped living at home.” I think it’s normal and healthy for a young person to want his (or her) independence. To, be honest, although we love JJ and his leaving will be an adjustment for us too, EJ and I are also ready for this new stage.

There are some characteristics that we all share–we love learning, history, science fiction, witty quotes, and have a similar sense of humor. However, JJ has a very different personality, and many different interests and needs than EJ and I do. He is much more strong-willed and assertive; we are more gentle. JJ is good at setting his own boundaries, I think we are better at respecting others’ boundaries. He yearns for challenges and risks, while we crave peace and quiet. JJ likes intense debate and mostly handles conflict well. We enjoy friendly discussions and conflict totally drains us. He needs interaction with people, while we are content with more solitude. We love nature–gardening, walks, drives, and rockhounding, while he seems to prefer the computer. He is a night owl; we are morning people. We all care about justice, but JJ is more of a warrior–like Batman–who has no problem with dealing with evil doers. He doesn’t care if someone had a bad day, if they misbehave at the mall where he works as a security guard, he will ban them for the day, a year, or forever, depending on their offense. JJ is very suited to a career in law enforcement. EJ and I are more like healers–we love and help those who have been wounded by evil.

I value differences. I think the world needs both warriors and healers, extroverts and introverts, doers and dreamers. I think each type of person has gifts that can make the world a better place. However I also think that a person’s greatest gifts also has its weakness. For example, a person with a gift of organization can accomplish great endeavors, but if he isn’t careful, he can become domineering. A person who is gifted with the ability to motivate others can give people courage to endure hardship and do all sorts of heroic things–or he can manipulate and motivate people to despair and evil deeds. Generosity is an awesome gift, but can make a person susceptible to being exploited. Our differences can cause friction, especially if we don’t recognize the value of other gifts. A warrior might view a healer as weak. A healer might view a warrior as overwhelming.  We have to each learn to use our gifts wisely and to value each other. I think we can learn from each other.

Because EJ, JJ, and I are different, we do have friction occasionally. So, yeah, we all love each other very much, but I think we all really need our independence. I am  really excited about JJ’s new adventure. I think there will be adjustment and tears (I’m feeling a little teary as I write this), but I think he will do well and enjoy his more independent life. And it will be easier to set and maintain boundaries with each other, I think.




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