Driving home from my first day at college I noticed a lot of loiterers. Single people stood anxiously waiting at random spots throughout my home town; one by the footpath; another hidden behind a bus stop; a couple loitering on a corner. I slowly realised that these anxious waiters are waiting for their child to get out of secondary school.

Rather than waiting obviously outside the school gates (as you can and do with primary school goers), these parents were giving their child some space, some independence, more chance at street cred. Yet they are still there, waiting for their child with the same feelings as when waiting by the preschool fence.

It made me think about my kids and the choices I have to make with them, one day, not now. My eldest keeps asking me “when can I have a laptop?” “When can I walk home on my own?” “When can I have my own key to the house” “When can I drive a car?” It makes my heart ache. I give him ages, 10, 11, 11, 17 yet every part of me wants him to stay a child where my biggest decision is whether to let him cross the cul de sac holding my hand or walking next to me.

I’m not sure I’m ready for the bigger decisions; sometimes I’m not sure if he is either as he snuggles into me “Mummy, can I live here when I’m a grown up?” and I chuckle, holding him tight  I murmur into his hair, “lets see what type of grown up you are first!”


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