“Remember back in the day, you know back when you were young (or younger). When you spent anytime not in school playing out in the street, with actual toys? Playing kerby, spending hours upon hours, days even, bouncing a football off a kerb and cursing any time a car drove past and you had to stop. God forbid they had the cheek to park there, how very dare you! Playing football with the boys and being shoved in goal just so they could boot the ball at you ‘coz you’re a girl, stupid boys! Or even going for a bike ride round the streets, up round to the posh houses (of a council estate, posh because they actually bought their council house), the worst thing that could happen (and usually) was your mum forcing you to take your little sister with you every where and the amateur dramatics that followed more often than not ending up with you being threatened with being grounded to stop you mid hysterics and being annoyed for oh, at least the next 20 minutes Not a care in the world, no parents keeping an eye on you, no phones with built in gps tracking your every move, free as a bird, well until dinner time when your mum stood on the doorstep screaming a-la Howards mum in The Big Bang Theory “(insert name here) dinners ready get in now!”
We were lucky. We lived in a nice road for kids tucked away off a main road so it wasn’t busy with cars and there were plenty of places to play within sight of your house. Pavements to ride on and play hopscotch, grass to play football on, played in the loosest sense of the word that is. Having other kids and families you knew that you could play with, but it’s not always the case these days is it? Living the care free childhood of the late *ahem* ’80’s and early ’90’s (just typing that has caused and eruption of grey hairs gah!)
We live on a very busy main road and being a 21st century parent I am all too aware of what can happen when you lose sight of your child with all that traffic and people going past outside. It also means that if she wanted to play out I would have to trust her to be sensible and not worry or spy on her to check things are ok. Up until now I haven’t been able to do that but this year is the year for change. I already don’t walk her the whole way to school just to the park gates, you know so I don’t cramp her style. She takes herself down to my mums on her own with just a text each way to say she’s left/arrived. She loves the freedom. Not being a baby and being able to be more grown up, if only this extended to her helping round the house more too, sigh.
As Olivia is in year 5 now and I think it’s about time I give her more freedom to become more independent and to stop babying her. I am releasing the apron strings, cutting her loose, sending her out into the big bad world, ok well maybe just the next side road. She has friends who live local who keep asking her out to play and I think it’s about time I let her go, go and grow up a little (but not too much, she is only 9 after all). And I know she will absolutely love it and then I can stand on the street and morph into my mum when I scream her back in for dinner/bed. I will try to resist the urge to buy her a mobile phone with built in gps so I can track her each and every move and try to enjoy my time at home with the sky remote to myself and no Disney channel on the TV. After all they’re not kids for long so who am I to deny her the same experience I had when I was growing, the world is meant for living in isn’t it.