My son’s milestone walk to our park gave me anxious half hour

with Kelly Brown

Sharing challenges of juggling family life, workand “everything else” is journalist Kelly Brown

Going to the park isn’t normally a stressful experience but it turns out it can be, when I’m not even there!

Cutting the apron strings

This week my soon to be 11 year-old son embarked on a little milestone and went off to the park on his own for the first time with one of his friends.

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And it was one of the longest half an hours I think I’ve ever had.

Looking back at my youth

Now, when I think back to being his age, I know I was allowed out to play on the estate near my home.

And, for quite a while now, I have given my two children a little freedom.

But they have always had to stay on the green and within sight of the house.

The crucial moment

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But at the weekend when we were out for a walk and bumped into one of my son’s friends, who invited him to go along to the park.

Cue a slight panic attack from mum, even though it is only a five minute walk away!

What do I do?

My options were either to a) lie and pretend we were about to have tea; b) embarrass him with a ‘no’ that will show just how much cotton wool I really want to wrap him in; or c) pretend not to panic and give my approval.

I put on my best poker face and went for option ‘c’ – complete with a list of instructions of how long he had and firm instructions of not to wander off anywhere else.

On his own

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Off he went and my decision not to yet furnish him with his own mobile phone came back to haunt me as I could not even track him with some secret agent-type app.

And so I was forced to keep myself really busy and not clock-watch until his time was up.


And, sure enough, like a perfect angel, he comes home exactly at the appointed time.

Phew, she says, awaiting the next time he asks to go out while also busily looking into getting him his own phone straight away.