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Independence lies in the eye of the beholder

Next week, the country will celebrate its independence. It is around this time of the year that I become most thankful for the freedom that I use on a daily basis -- the freedom of speech. It is also this time of year that I become most thankful for being independent, for always having the support of my family to go out and accomplish things that I feel may make some minute difference in the world.

My best friend Lana gave birth to her fourth child yesterday and I began to wonder if she ever feels the same kind of independence that I feel (I only have a dog and a few newspapers to look after). I thought about it for a while and kept thinking that I am so lucky to have the freedom to go and do as I please without having to look after anyone else or have anyone else look after me. But, then, I remembered what it was like to visit Lana's home.

When visiting, I always have three little boys fighting for my attention. It is certainly a place that I always feel wanted and loved. In my experience with the boys, I have found that each one of them is looking for their own independence, even at the early age of two. Each one is an individual, and like me, they have their own hopes and dreams of how they can one day make a difference.

The oldest of the boys, Chance, I imagine will one day be a nuclear scientist, an entomologist or an astronaut. He has a scientific imagination unlike any I have ever seen in a child and upon drawing a picture of space shuttles, he can tell you how the entire shuttle can be built with recycled aluminum cans thus helping the environment.

The middle child, Vincent, I think will one day lead the fashion world. Although only six years old, he puts more thought into each and every outfit he wears than I do at the age of 28.

Tyler, the youngest until yesterday, is only two, and when he first started walking, I could imagine him being the number one center for the Alabama Crimson Tide after graduating from high school at the early age of 15.

Like beauty, independence is in the eye of the beholder. The best part of my independence is being able to share it with children close to me and helping them create a path to accomplish their own dreams.