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BY KATHY VAUGHN 

July ushers in one of my favorite holidays: Independence Day.  Independence signifies freedom from the control, influence, support and aid of others. Yet, as busy and expensive as life is today, it is nearly impossible for anyone to be fully independent. We all rely on friends and family to get through the day to day. My goal in life now is to just be as independent as I can.

The most important thing in my life is being a good mother to my girls. As a single mom with two very active pre-teen/teenage daughters, one of the many things I have learned to do is to juggle the mom taxi schedule. I do that with help every now and then from friends. I am not going to complain. I believe all the activities they participate in --  be it Becca with orchestra or cheer, or Sarah in soccer or girl scouts -- are helping them become well-rounded, independent young ladies. I am also teaching them to be better than I was with finances. I do this by showing them the value of money in this crazy economy. Their father has set up a monthly debit card for each of them and they are responsible for keeping track of their own money. Sarah knows how to save her money for that special something she wants, something I still have to learn. They also help with the grocery shopping. Becca has learned to spot which brand of cereal is cheaper and which is less expensive, cans or bottles of soft drinks. They even teach me a thing or two.  

Part of being independent is learning to believe in myself.  I’m working on being more self-reliant and learning to trust my own decisions due to starting yet another new chapter in my life.  Katie Perry’s song “Firework” has been very influential in helping me start this new chapter. One afternoon about two years ago, I was having a particularly hard day. I was feeling very down on myself, like there was nowhere to turn. I just had an argument with my mother about my choice to do something she did not agree with -- again. I was driving the children to one of their many activities and we were having a “discussion” about taking care of their responsibilities around the house. As always, the radio was playing and Katie’s then new song came on. I had not heard it before, but I paid close attention to the words. The song just hit a chord. I cried. Well, I bawled. I had to pull over for fear of causing an accident. After hearing to the whole song and really listening to the words, I decided then that I would show myself that I could get things done the way I saw fit.  If I am happy with the end result, then life is good.

I hope you and your family have a joyous Independence Day. Thank you to all the men and women who serve or have served in our armed forces. Be safe.

Kathy is an Advertising Sales Representative for Fredericksburg Parent and Family Magazine.  After being a Marine wife for 9 years, she chose the Fredericksburg area to raise her two beautiful daughters.

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