We live in downtown Salt Lake City. As cities go, it’s a pretty dang safe one. Crime here is very low, people are friendly, and the part of town we live in is clean and calm and nice. But…

It’s still downtown in a big city.

No matter how safe it is, that’s a scary place to let go and let your kid do more grown-up things.

Noah is ten years old now. It seems to me that’s the age where kids are able to do more scary things, but it’s not quite the age where we can let them do overly scary things.

Enter the scariest thing (to me) I’ve let my kid do yet… Walking the dog for a potty. Without Dad. In the big city. Alone.

Yeah, right. I’m not at that point yet. Maybe when he’s 32. But his older cousin is staying for a few days, so Noah has someone for the buddy system. And when he asked if they could take the dog out to potty him (without me)…

I took a deep breath.

Wanted to scream, “NO!”


Paced the room mumbling about all the ways they’d probably get kidnapped and murdered.

Kept pacing and mumbling until the dog whined in discomfort.

Finally gulped and said, “sure. I’ll be up on the balcony watching and making sure you’re all right, so yell up to me if you need anything.”

Deep breath.

They put the leash on the dog. Wait! I’ll be four stories up! How am I supposed to get there quickly to help you if I’m that far away?!

Deep breath.

They walked out the door. Wait! Is this really a good idea?!

Deep breath.

I waited whatever amount of time it would take them to walk down the hall, take an elevator down to ground level, and emerge below.

Deep breath.

There was a mail truck outside. Nobody around it. Whew.

Deep breath.

They finally emerged.

Deep breath.

The sun was shining. The birds were chirping. The world was good. And… two construction guys walked into their path to kidnap and murder them both.

Deep breath.

Construction guys passed right on by. But then… the UPS truck pulled up and the driver got out to kidnap and murder them both.

Deep breath.

The driver walked right on by them. But then… Noah and his cousin disappeared around the corner where they would potty the dog some thirty feet away.

Deep breath.

They were likely getting kidnapped and murdered as I stood helplessly watching and waiting for them to come back. I should just go down. Just in case.

Deep breath. He’s ten now. He’s not three. He has a buddy. He has a dog who looks cute as buttons but would protect him at any cost, I’m sure of it.

Deep breath.

When I was ten, I was riding my bike miles away to play at friends’ houses my parents weren’t really familiar with.

Deep breath.

The boys came back into view walking a happy, relieved dog.

They waved up at me.

They were fine. Not murdered. Not kidnapped.

Deep breath.

I’ve gotta let my kid grow up eventually, right? Gosh, it’s a nerve-wracking thing to do sometimes.

Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog

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Dan Pearce is an American born writer, photographer, and artist. His books include "The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man" and "The Real Dad Rules." He is best known for his blog (and supporting Facebook page) "Single Dad Laughing," with 2 million followers as of 2018.