LAW ADVOCACY FAMILY FINANCE A monthly newsletter providing your family with insight about the law and finance (with an occasional dose of humor) from your friends and advocates at DuPont Wealth Solutions and the Law Offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel.
WHAT INDEPENDENCE MEANS
As we celebrate Independence Day this month, I’d like to take a moment to explore what independence means to our personal lives. Much has already been said about the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by more eloquent writers than myself. But being the father of a teenager gives you a fresh perspective on the practical, everyday kind of independence we can sometimes take for granted. At the time of writing, my daughter Sophie is in the midst of studying for her driver’s education test. It’s incredible how fast time flies; the little girl I remember crawling around on the carpet will soon be taking herself to school, dance lessons, and wherever else she needs to go. Sophie has already had plenty of in-car practice, and I have full confidence she’ll pass with flying colors. That’s more than her old man can say. During my driver’s ed test, I failed to stop for a school bus that was picking up kids in the other lane. In my defense, this was before they had the fold-out, light-up stop signs you see on buses today. I had to retake the test the following week, which made things awkward because I was supposed to pick up a date the night of the first test. In that moment, being driven to our date by her mother made me really understand the independence I was missing out on. I passed the test the following week and was finally able to hit the road in my 1969 VW Beetle. I called it the “turquoise texture mobile” after its unique paint job. I never did get the air out of the brake lines, meaning everybody knew when I was pulling up to a stop sign. It wasn’t exactly a hot rod, but I was able to take myself around town. But with this newfound freedom came new responsibilities. As the eldest child at home at the time, I was tasked with ferrying my siblings to and from school and to whatever extracurricular activities they had going on. Meanwhile, Sophie is an only child and can enjoy significantly more independence from her license. She won’t be screeching to a halt in a turquoise bug, either. Since I first bought my current car, Sophie has had “dibs” on it. It’s a Nissan Pathfinder with plenty of armor and airbags. When I first drove it off the lot, I already had the day that Sophie would get her license in mind.
duty between work and getting Sophie to and from school. This independence gets Sophie out of the house more and more. But it’s also bound to give my wife and me a hint of what’s to come.
Soon, when Sophie goes off to college, it will be just Julia, me, and the
“AS SOPHIE CONTINUES HER JOURNEY INTO ADULTHOOD, I AM REMINDED THAT INDEPENDENCE CAN BE BOTH A BLESSING AND A CURSE.”
puppy. She still has a few years of high school left to get us used to the idea, but it’s sure to be quite the transition. Currently, Sophie
plans on going to an in-state college, and she may even stand a chance at becoming a Buckeye like myself! Of course, Ohio State is a very different animal
than when I attended. The irony of having an alma mater that has done so well for itself is that the bar is significantly higher for your child to get in than it was for you. As Sophie continues her journey into adulthood, I am reminded that independence can be both a blessing and a curse. Gaining that newfound freedom means you have to be willing to make sacrifices and take on new responsibilities. Just like our independence as a country, we need to earn our freedoms every day by embracing the challenges and changes that come with them. I wonder if this feeling of excitement and uncertainty for the days ahead is anything akin to what the Founding Fathers felt in the years following their revolution? While not as titanic as the founding of a nation, Sophie’s first steps into the adult world are nonetheless important, scary, and wonderful. It’s these moments in life that remind me of the real, practical value of those ideals first enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
Happy Fourth of July,
Our daughter’s independence also gives Julia and me a break from being her chauffeur. Julia in particular has been pulling double-
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