Mommy & I had a long discussion about what it means to have independence. The topic came about because today (Aug 15) is India’s Independence Day.
Mommy was born in Calcutta, India. When she mentioned this, I made it known to her that one day soon, I will visit her hometown and mark the territory, as any self-respecting pupper will want to. I must make sure the world of puppers knows, this is where MY mommy came from.
I was born in Texas, USA. Mommy has promised that she will visit my hometown one day, too, when it’s not hot & humid and she and I can walk around my old territory and I can show her my favorite lampposts.
We are both transplants to NJ, from very different parts of the world. We both came to where we are now in search of independence. For mommy, it was the dream of living her life on her own terms much more than the rather conservative and tradition-bound culture she was born into would have allowed her to have. For me, it was the love of a group of people I will never meet again, who believe that kill shelters are wrong and decided, with no agenda and a strong belief in doing what is right, to transport me to a safer place.
Both mommy and I are blessed to have had people who wanted better things for us, and sacrificed their own comfort and time and money, from a place of sheer love, to make sure we were both able to live lives free of constraints and away from cruel, non-sensical practices.
It is easy to forget that independence (i.e., non-dependence) is a gift that is given to only some of us by others who fight for our rights and ability to dream beyond what has been ordained for us by tradition and practice and policy and law. I was gifted independence by people who decided that kill shelters are unacceptable. My mommy was gifted independence because Grammy (and Granpa) decided that it was more important for them to believe in their daughter’s off-the-beaten-track life choices than forcing her to follow the narrow path that has been ordained by society to keep her ‘safe.’ They put the more scary option of letting their daughter make mistakes and pursue meaning as she saw it over remaining in their own comfort zones.
Independence is scary. Scary to own, and scary to gift. But without it, we never really find out what beautiful journeys we can create in the few short years we are allowed on this planet.
Knowing the value of the gift that has been given to her and the sacrifices it has taken, Mommy, too, tries to practice this gift with me despite being scared about my well being. More and more, I am learning to claim my own voice and getting comfortable in letting her know what I like, and what I don’t. She has discovered that I don’t like being cold, and will huff off in the middle of the night to come sleep on the sofa instead of cuddling next to her. She could, if she wanted to, make me sleep in the bedroom because she likes having me curled up next to her. But she’s a good mommy who understands that her needs and mine need to be balanced even if I’m just a pupper, and my need for independence is something she wants to honor as much as she can. I am grateful she gets this because sometimes (as you can see above), I just need space.
Independence is a gift. We take it for granted, but ask any pupper in a cage in a shelter how much he would love to go home to a loving and caring hooman family, and ask any girl child in a culture that doesn’t really believe in her human-ness how much she would love to go to school and aspire to a life of meaning and purpose that she has defined for herself and not had it pre-designed for her, and you will know what value independence has.
That’s what’s been on my mind, and I wanted to share it with you and remind you to celebrate the big and small ways you are independent today, and the big and small ways you can gift someone in your life the blessings of independence.
All this deep, philosophical thinking has made me tired, so I am off to sleep.
Be well, and be at peace, my dear hoomans. And remember to give your favorite pupper or kitty or small or large hooman a big hug and an extra kiss today. Because you have the independence to do that.
With all my love, 🐾🐾 — Boochie the Philosopher Dawg