(a) To set free, as a minor from a parent; as, a father may emancipate a child. (b) To set free from bondage; to give freedom to; to manumit; as, to emancipate a slave, or a country.
”To free from any controlling influence, especially from anything which exerts undue or evil influence; as, to emancipate one from prejudices or error”

That’s how our good friend Webster 1913 has chosen to describe the word “emancipate” and who can blame him? After all, his definition was probably penned not too long after the American Civil War had ended and Lincoln freed the slaves.

However, as we all know that over time, certain words take on a new meaning and connotation. Today I’m guessing that the word “emancipated” is mostly likely associated with children reaching the age of eighteen and are no longer considered a minor in the eyes of the state. For children of divorced parent this means that either the mother or father who was obligated to pay child support is now free from that obligation and the child, should they so desire, is free from the shackles of their parents and is ready to go off fend for themselves. (Note: Most states here in America also require that the child has graduated high school before they can be considered emancipated.)

My daughter turned eighteen over the weekend. Although she won’t graduate high school until sometime in May/June 2013 I’ve already received a notice from the State of Ohio that my time of paying my fair share is coming to an end.

One would think that after seventeen years of forking over X percentage of my income that it would be sorta nice to give myself a raise. Maybe take that money and splurge a bit. After all, the car I’m driving is a 1999 Pontiac and has seen better days. The bottom is starting to rust out and it’s only a matter of time before it conks out on me. Come to think of it, the place where I live, while nice, is a bit on the rustic side and doesn’t contain many modern conveniences such as central air conditioning or a dish washer. It’d be kinda nice to have those things around to make life a little bit easier. Maybe a nice vacation is in order? Ya know, go dip my toes into the warm sand at one of those nice Caribbean resorts surrounded by a bevy of beauties and refreshing cocktails.

Somehow , to me, that wouldn’t seem right…

I figured that since I’ve never seen that money in the form of cash going into my checking account or fattening up my savings for retirement it’d be better off going right where it goes today. The only difference is that instead of ponying it up to the State for further credit to my ex, it’ll go directly into an account for Anna. I’ve already told her my plans and I’m sure it’ll come in handy when she heads off to college next year.

As I mentioned, even though I’ve never seen that money in the form of cash, I have seen it spent in more intangible ways. Along the way there were good schools to go to, trips to be taken and sporting events to be played. There were music lessons and the accompanying recitals. There were school plays to attend and bake sales to prepare for and so many others twists and turns that it’s hard to try and recapture them all. (Rather than do that here and if you’re really that interested you can pick and choose from The Borgette Chronicles.)

One last thing, while in the eyes of the state she might be considered emancipated my eyes tell me a whole different story.

How can you emancipate yourself from all of the memories that were created in all of the years in between?

Thanks to everybody here that’s been a part of a journey that for me started eighteen years ago and for the past ten or so allowed me to tell my tale and for her to spread her wings. Hopefully they’ll be some more stories to tell as we look to the future.

Bob and Anna

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