Family life

I’ll Walk with My Son as Long as I Can

Missing one walk might seem miniscule, but it also means losing details and knowing him a little less.

I’ll Walk with My Son as Long as I Can


“Wanna go for a walk?” my twelve-year-old asked after dinner one evening last week. He’s deep in the tween stage, spending most of his time at home in his bedroom. Between schoolwork, talking to friends, burying himself in coding projects, and time outdoors, our conversations aren’t what they used to be.

He readily talks about the exciting occurrences from his school day—like when a substitute teacher for language arts means an hour watching YouTube videos with friends or when his math teacher brings donuts to celebrate the end of a unit. But often the important details—like his thoughts on the subjects he’s currently learning about or how he’s feeling about the upcoming school dance—fall into the crevices of day-to-day life.

“It looks like it’s going to rain,” I said. “Maybe tomorrow night?” In the moment, I let the busyness of our evenings and the dreary sky cloud my decision. Let down, he hoped the weather would clear up quickly so tomorrow might bring the first walk of our season.

a parent a child walking on a path during the fall iStock

An after-dinner tradition

Despite maturing in every way possible, after-dinner walks are one activity he continues to enjoy. They go on hiatus during the winter, but when they resume in the spring, it’s as if we’d never stopped. Here we are again at the beginning of our walking season and I’m now realizing just how vital these walks are to our mother-son bond.

When we walk together, he tells me everything. Our line of communication opens as we stroll along the sidewalk, side by side. From the happenings at his lunch table to the projects he’s completing at school, the details of his everyday life come to the surface. The child I know beneath the teen facade emerges as we walk our familiar route. Thankfully, my silly, creative boy is still there beneath it all.

The next day, as my car approached the driveway, I noticed a few flowers had sprouted on our cherry blossom tree. Only a day or two later, the tree was covered in pink. Every spring, the scenery changes swiftly while I’m focused on driving my children to school, working at my computer, and cooking meals repeatedly. Without notice, the world around me flourishes and my children shift into another summer. Before I know it, school begins again.

Suddenly, I regretted my answer from a few nights before. I felt the loss of a walk we never took and a conversation that never happened. I realized how lucky I am that a new spring has arrived, and my twelve-year-old is still asking to walk with me—because I’m aware the day may come when he stops.

walking through cherry blossoms iStock

Fleeting memories


Just as our cherry blossom turns pink seemingly overnight, my children mature while I’m focused on the day-to-day monotony. Missing one walk seems miniscule, but it’s stories, opinions, and details from my son’s life left in the dark—it means knowing him a little less.

As I thought of previous summers, I realized they come and go faster than we want them to. I remembered both of my children’s first day of camp. I envisioned our 2020 pandemic summer when it seemed as if the whole world had shrunk into the boundaries of our yard.

As I pictured our summer days, I could almost taste Chipwiches from the ice cream truck, gooey fire pit marshmallows, and chicken from the grill. Summer vacations to the beach and the mountains flashed before me as I considered how quickly my children had matured into who they are today.

As I reminisced about the summers of their childhood thus far, I remembered countless walks with my son. He’d tell me about his days at camp and how he’d earned his deep-end band at the swimming pool. I discovered his efficient problem-solving skills as we worked through disputes that had arisen and confrontations he’d faced. He’d detail the projects he was currently coding on his computer and the world he was creating on Minecraft.

While walking, we’d talk about the upcoming school year, and he’d tell me his hopes and worries as the summer dwindled. As we strolled through our neighborhood, he asked every question that entered his mind no matter the topic. Nothing was off limits, and he offered more of himself than any mother of a tween could wish for. I hope that never ends.


I don’t want to miss any of it. From now on, clouds won’t steer me away from a walk with my son. Despite my body feeling fatigued and weakened from chronic illness, I’ll walk if I’m able to whenever he asks.

Because these walks are my connection to the intricacies of his life. They open our line of communication, filling in the details I may not otherwise get as he matures into a teenager. Just like the blossoms each spring, our summers together are fleeting, and I’ll take every moment I can get beside him—to walk—to talk—and to know my son as deeply as I can.

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