I wanted to write my editorial about how I can do things by myself. So I called my mom and asked for help.

I acknowledge the irony.

But she’s always telling stories about what a little punk I was — fiercely independent but also aggravatingly stubborn.

In our family photo book, there’s a picture of me in nothing but a diaper, plopped in the middle of the set-for-lunch kitchen table, hands and mouth dripping with the sliced tomatoes that had apparently caught my eye as I toddled through the kitchen.

“Why wait?” I assume my 2-year-old self rationalized. “I can just climb up the chair, maneuver myself onto the table and scooch through the plates and silverware and get to those tomatoes!”

I was always climbing the kitchen chairs to reach things. They served as the perfect accomplice for my daily trips onto the table, up to the snack cupboards or to the landline phone.

My mom responded to this by turning them sideways.

I responded by climbing on the sideways chairs.

I am very grateful I don’t expect the world to serve me. Since childhood, I’ve known that I am capable of anticipating challenges, meeting my own needs and solving my own problems. I am frustrated by my peers who give up on things once the chair gets turned sideways.

[blocktext align=”right”]Know that you are capable of solving your own problems, but also know when to climb for your own tomatoes.[/blocktext]

But I’m also learning that just because I am capable of climbing up the sideways chair, doesn’t always mean I should.

What if your hands are already full of tomatoes? What if there are steak knives on the table? What if your mom is there to say “Kristin quit climbing up the chair you’re going to break your head open!” and then she hands you a tomato.

Things change: now I am tall enough to reach the tomatoes, no chair required!

But tomatoes become good grades, friendships, jobs or even issues of the Record. Chairs become lack of motivation, long-distance, feeling unqualified or articles not coming in.

Know that you are capable of solving your own problems, but also know when to climb for your own tomatoes.