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What if?

My oldest son is in Grade 4 we have a two-minute walk to the elementary school. I  have been trying to give him more freedom. I wondered is it time to let him walk to school by himself? I just feel that there are so many what if’s? What if someone snatches him? What if a careless driver fails to see him crossing the street? What if there is a bully lurking in the corner? What if? What if?

It was just this past week, the morning was cold, and he had to be at school early before everyone else to work on a school project.  I took the leap and decided to give him just a little bit more freedom. I walked him across the busy street letting him walk to school alone. I turned my back and went home.

I sighed, and hurried back home to get on with the morning and organize the littlest for the first bell.

It was later in the morning the house was quiet, I was reaching for my second cup of coffee, and the phone rang. I saw the schools number on the phone and felt a heavy thud in my stomach.


“Hello. We are wondering where Alex is this morning?”

“He is at school.”

“No the teacher has him marked as absent.”

I felt a slight rush of panic my worst nightmare had come true and I was beginning to workout a plan in my head, “No I walked him half way to school he should be there he had an early morning project.”

“Oh! The teacher marked him as absent. She must have forgot.No worries then…”

I felt no worries! I felt a surge of  panic!What if the teacher was right? What if he was absent? What if he was abducted?

“Could you do me a favor and just make sure he is at the school? I only walked him halfway, I didn’t see him walk in, and now just want to double check that he is with the group?”

My helicopter blades were spinning like mad! I panicked thinking maybe he didn’t make it to school.The what ifs swirled in my head. I kicked myself  I should have  walked him the whole way.

The secretary returned to the phone and replied, “It’s all good! We found him! He is with the group!”

And it was with that assurance I felt a huge sigh of relief.

In this day and age there are so many what ifs! As a child I remember roaming the streets with my friends, walking home from school alone, and hanging in the trees in the woods. We weren’t supervised and we all made it out unscathed for the most part.

So what has changed?  Do you have a what if?

Categories: giving your children more freedom letting your kids walk to school Life motherhood my life parenting raising boys random thoughts thoughts times have changed what if

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Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook

34 replies

  1. Oh my GOSH. It’s amazing you didn’t fly through the roof. What unlucky timing.

    After getting walked to school by my mom on the first day of first grade, I walked to grade school solo almost every day for eight years (barring only the worst possible weather). Many of my classmates also walked back and forth. Now my mom tells me that cars are lined up to drop off and pick up.

    But, but, ray of hope, she also tells me that there’s a gaggle of kids in the neighborhood who walk together all the time.

    Have you thought of trying to find walking buddies for your son? It’s one possibility!

    1. Very unlucky timing! I have an over-active imagination and those couple of minutes seemed like forever!

      We have issues with one of the streets in the neighborhood – it’s extremely busy, cars don’t stop at crosswalks, and drivers are careless. So that’s my other what if? I know! I ‘m neurotic :O

      Walking buddies is a great idea! We’ll see in the future..

  2. Oh my God, you must have died! I can’t even imagine how scared you were… and of all days for them to “lose” him…. This post makes me so mad, and I am not even a parent! how could a school call a parent about their “absent son” without checking, especially with this project thing going on…. Doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies… I think I am overly sensitive about this because I had a very bad experience as a kid with my school not using common sense…. It was less than a month after my dad passed away and my guidence counsler, who went to his funeral, called me into his office because he heard I was “sad & depressed and was planning on killing myself…” I was very depressed, my dad just died and I was 14, but Iwasn’t planning on killing myself. But, what if he gave me the idea???? My mom sure gave him a piece of her mind….

    1. I know the one day I actually let him go on his own! Of course it was going to happen…I’m just happy he was in the other classroom working on his project and not frontline news on Nancy Grace 🙂

      Ugh! It must have been so terrible for you to be pulled aside like that….It’s hard to enough to lose your father at such an early age and then to be profiled by the guidance counsellor. All very wrong! I bet your Mom gave him a piece of her mind.

  3. Oh. My. God. My heart is pounding, just reading this. I would have been absolutely terrified! So glad that everything worked out for both of you!

    When I was a kid, we had so much freedom – so much more than my kids will ever have. We had to come home when the street lights turned on, and that was it. The difference, of course, is that there were so many kids outside, and so many stay-at-home mums inside, back in my day. There was safety in numbers and always someone watching.

    We had a what-if moment earlier this week when my mother-in-law was supposed to pick up my daughter at school at the same time as I was busing the rest of my crew to dance class. My MIL was late, my husband couldn’t reach her, I was 30 minutes away from home wondering if our 5yo was waiting at the bus stop down the street from our house. The lesson? Cell-phones are only useful if they are actually turned ON!

    1. We did have a lot more freedom! But now we have to be so careful! I wonder if part of the problem is the media and 24hrs news? Does it make our fears worse?

      My heart just thuds thinking about it for you. Luckily, everything worked out in the end 🙂

  4. I certainly roamed more at that age, would head downtown on my bicycle. Heck, by sixth grade I was scooting cross-city to the lake.

    We know more now, we are more mobile, with more roads, and more ways to communicate, and more ways for those out to prey to find prey. We have to hold a little longer and a little tighter, and we have to educate in crazy ways. I always told my daughters if someone tries to get you, the place to fight is right there and right then. Never ever go. Scream, bite, kick, punch… be a raving maniac, because they will only take you someplace safer for them, not you.

    1. I tell my kids the exact same thing – it helps that they are in Karate. The instructor is always reminding them of stranger danger and how to be prepared…The best thing they can do is cause a huge scene and prevent being taken away.

      It happens kids do roam and try to find their own independence. But still you never know. I do know I may have over-reacted, panicked, but I also have to be confident in my son that he will be pro-active when dealing with strangers. It’s a tough world and I want to hold on to them forever 🙂

      1. I hear you. It is really hard to let go… when my youngun (diabetic) fiest went to school, it was tough, with a learning curve for the staff and us. Even three years in we were making adjustments to how they worked with her.

        Kids like to test the water, but they also like to know you are there, too.

  5. I have a grandchild with Diabetes – introduced to the school with an easily-understood emergency manual of specific instructions with contact numbers, and proper lunch bag! “The Care and Feeding of ______________” The information was placed in the classroom and with the nurse – and most appreciated! Phone calls can be life-savers!

  6. That would have made me feel ill myself. All’s well that ends well. You wanted to do the right thing and give him a little independence and it gave you a fright. It could have happened to anyone but I’m really pleased nothing was actually wrong. I’m surprised the school didn’t know he might be in the other group before they rang and ;alarmed you

    1. He had a supply teacher so she didn’t realize some of the children were participating in an extracurricular activity. It’s funny I think he should be able to walk to school himself but at the same time just so many what ifs? i wonder when is the right time to give them a little more independence?

  7. Wow that does sound scary, my heart would be racing too! I’m glad it was just a mistake though and he really was at school. I imagine you must have been having a mini heart attack especially after you’d been thinking about abductions and all.

  8. Because I don’t have kids, sometimes I’m just astonished at the way things are today – and more than a little angry. I do wonder if the dangers are so much worse, or if the “Nanny State” is making them seem worse than they are.

    We had rules, but we roamed free within them. We knew when to come home for dinner, when when to come home at night – when the street lights came on! We rode our bikes everywhere. We climbed trees and walked trestles, and no one ever died.

    Of course, our entire society has become coarser, less respectful, less friendly. I suppose it’s one reason I’m withdrawing more and more from society at large, and I imagine if I had kids or grandkids, I’d be making the same adjustments as other folks.

    1. It’s true we did have rules and knew when to come in for dinner. We had freedom to explore and be kids. In some respects I do give my children the freedom to climb high on trees or jump off the platform board at the pool. But to me they are so precious the thought of harm coming to them when it could be preventive stops me in my tracks. I know I’m being over-protective but at times I feel it is better to be safe than sorry.

      We live in a nice neighborhood, we know our neighbors, but at the same time the what if pops up! Society has changed and sometimes I don’t think it is always necessary for the better. The city I live in is very transient – people come and go chasing their oil dreams. So I wonder if I was in a smaller community with a low crime rate would I feel the same way?

  9. I don’t let my daughter out by herself without me around, either, and she is in fourth grade. I have only just recently let her start walking around the neighborhood by herself, but she can only do that if she takes our oldest dog, Tyra, with her. I can trust Tyra a) to defend Kayla if she needs defending, b) to stay in the neighborhood and c) to tell the difference between friendly kids and threatening people so she won’t attack kids who just want to pet the dog. I think it is easier if there are a group of kids together; then they can look out for each other, but it’s hard when they are by themselves.


    1. It’s very hard when they are by themselves. My dog is not really the defending type she would much rather to prefer to hide under your legs 🙂 I think as they grow older we have to give them more room. It’s just finding that comfort zone 😉

  10. Oh how scary!! I’m thankful everything turned out fine.

    I lost my two little girls one day when they were 5 1/2 and 2. Half of our small school staff were out looking for them around town when I realized due to a change in our schedule that I had left them eating lunch with their Dad at the local cafe while I went to pick up their older brothers from school. It was only a half day of school.

    How embarrassing to forget where you left your children. They were rarely not with me when I picked up the boys from school each day. I was truly thankful they were safe with their Dad but definitely embarrassed.

    1. I’m surprised that is something I haven’t done before….It must been such a heart-stopping moment! I’m glad they were safe with their dad and we all get a little embarrassed sometimes 😉

  11. I found you listed in the November blogroll at NaBloPoMo. I’ve been looking to develop my own blogroll, so I thought I would prowl some that would be working toward daily posts for the month.

    I’ve been poking around your site for some time – All the guest posts are leading me a merry chase, as I wander off to see one site or another. It took me a while to get back here to find one recently written by you 🙂

    This post flooded me with sympathy for you. My youngest is 15 now, but I recall similar frights from years past. I’d say you handled yourself with amazing calm.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and checking me out! NaBloPoMo will be a very fun challenge this month 🙂 All of the posts on this site are written by me. I recently wrote a post called “One Question” in which fellow bloggers provided me with one question in which I center my post around. It has been a fun challenge! I still have five left to go this week.

      It was a very scary few minutes for me. You just never know what can happen 🙂

      1. Yes. Once I settled in to read more deeply, I figured out what you’d done. I can see how the strategy would freshen a blog … good idea. Still I found a few question submitters who I ended up subscribing to as well.

        Please forgive my confusion.

      2. Thanks! No worries – I can see how it could get a little confusing! I’m glad you found some great new blogs to read in the process from finding my blog.

        They are really great! I always enjoy reading them with my fresh cup of coffee 🙂

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