Martina McBride sings a beautiful song about Independence Day that I use to love. Unfortunately, it was played every half-hour on the hour and it lost it’s joie de vivre. Looking back I remember how much I wanted to feel that…that Independence…not from an abusive relationship like in the song but from my own paralyzing fears.
As a child I was extremely shy. Not just the duck behind your parents kind of thing, the hide under the table in restaurants or in the clothes rack at Montgomery Wards because I was terrified of all the people kind of thing. Thankfully, with the help of some great teachers and an amazing youth group I did overcome my need to hide whenever in a crowd.
Independence Day was released in 1993. In October of 1994 my daughter was born and through her I began a journey that as I look back would lead to my own version of independence. While it’s relatively obvious by looking at us that we’re related, my daughter in many respects is my polar opposite. Where I enjoy the outskirts of a crowd, she is the center. Where I am quiet, she is outspoken. I was always more shy and she has never been shy a day in her life. One of my favorite stories is about how she would stand in the front of the cart at Target and sing at the top of her lungs “I Believe I Can Fly”! She’s not a singer but when you’re three it’s still adorable. And as most of mothers know, when it comes to protecting your children, there’s no time for shyness and I often surprised myself when I saw unfairness or mistreatment of her. Being her mother and just being around her helped me become more apt to let my guard down. For a long time I tried to change certain things about her that were not like me because I just didn’t understand her but eventually I learned to embrace those things and admire her for just being who she is. When I did that I found that we have more in common than I realized. We’re both a little weird and goofy. While she tends to be a whirlwind and I am only a slight breeze, we share a creative point of view and, an insane love of neat handwriting.
I am still an edge of the crowd kind of girl and will never be one to seek the center of attention but I am finding a sense of freedom from own internal critics. My daughter, and age, have taught me that the best person I can be, is myself.
“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” Epictetus