The answer can vary quite a bit based on the context of the question.

This is the case with most our lives.

I am grown man.

I have job.

I pay bills.

I have a car, a house, and a number of other possessions that I keep in that house. 

Surely this makes me independent? 

Maybe not.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been truly independent. 

When I was in my later years in high school and into college is when I was probably the most untethered, but not independent. 

The only reason I was able to be so free to do what I wanted or felt like at any given moment was because my parents were providing for all of my needs.

On a side note, what is expendable income? I’ve forgotten.

Now I am married with children and all of those other adult responsibilities previously mentioned. 

I am probably less independent now than I have been at any moment in my life. 

Without my wife’s support financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, I would not make it.

So now that we have determined that almost 32-year-old me is not independent, let’s rephrase the context of the originally stated question.

What does it mean for my 5-year-old special needs son to be independent?

Now that one is loaded. 

Considering the implications of his parents not truly being independent, it seems unlikely to consider this as a possibility. 

Ah, but we have some choice about where to sit in the house, what to eat, what to wear, etc, etc.

You get the idea.

He was once quite a bit more independent than he is now. 

That was before the seizures and meds threw him into a regression that took him from some mobility, feeding himself, and handful of words to being non-mobile, with no words and he doesn’t really pick up much anymore let alone food.

It is an odd thing how circumstances shape the way we understand. 

At this point in his life, I would consider his independence to be synonyms with his ability to be with us. 

Not always doing what we’re doing, but being with us. 

Whether that means he gets to go outside and play on his big gym mat while his sister runs around or jumps on the trampoline, riding in his sister’s jeep in his GoTo seat or taking a walk around the horse pasture in his Upsee (at least part of the way, it’s big). 

The point is he is with us, doing and being with us.

I think his Christmas present will be a Scooot (shhh, don’t tell!). 

Because we want him to begin to regain some of that decision making he has lost. 

We want him to start to go where he wants. 

So that if he wants to be in the same room with us, he can come along or maybe he doesn’t and he can leave.

What does it mean to be independent? 

I’m not really sure. 

But I can promise you that one day we ourselves may not have it and we will certainly understand then. 

In the meantime, it will be a ceaseless pursuit of it for my son and whatever that means to him. 

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