Independence. It is a word that embodies that set of skills we want our children to gain as they grow up, so they can manage their lives and make good decisions and stop wanting us to do things for them. However, sometimes their independence—or its beginnings—makes us cringe a little bit.
She came home for fall break, finally! But because ours is a stepfamily situation, she spent some time at her mom’s house. And she spent some time with her friends who do not attend Southern. And finally, Thursday night, her little sister was sad and said, “I miss my sissy. When do I get to see her?” I sent a text message to let her know of this request and she assured me she would leave her friend’s house shortly and come straight home. Unfortunately little sis was already asleep when she arrived.
So they saw each other for only a few minutes Friday morning, before the younger kids had to go to school. We left Friday afternoon for a church retreat at camp, and she had already decided she was not going with us, as she wanted to do some other things. So Sunday after we returned, she only came home long enough to eat a quick supper with us and then she was on the road back to Collegedale.
Little sister misses big sister. Big sister is independent.
Is she really? Does independence mean coming home but spending time other places? Does independence include seemingly choosing friends over family? Does independence make you forget those who miss you the most, who long to see you the most, whose lives feel incomplete without you around?
I am sure it seems much different from her perspective. I know she feels she has many other places to go, things to take care of, people to see. But her little sister adores her and longs to spend time with her.
When will she realize that independence sometimes means just coming home and spending time with family, and choosing to delay those other things—making time for what’s most important?