I don’t think anyone between the ages of 34-44 who grew up in the South will ever not look askance at a white van. I just found out that where I grew up in Memphis (Parkway Village) is where an under 18 gang member (wannabe? nobody seems clear) shot a contractor during a robbery in which the other contractor was left alive. Those were streets I rode my bike all around and through millions of times growing up, which hasn’t been that long ago. Although now I understand why Dad vapor-locks when I tell him that I drove through that part of town in his car while visiting Memphis.

    Also, I guarantee I would forget steps 4-12 on making a survival shelter. That is entirely too close to camping, which my people don’t do. Could you do a post (bonus points if we get photos with sassy captions) on making a survival shelter?

  • Lindsay Harris

    Frickin fantastic !

  • Beth Rich

    So totally awesome, and hope for mothers everywhere.

  • CheeseburgerinLaradise

    I always had the foresight not to walk/ride my bike to school. What if I got tired? Abducted? Or worse, SWEATY?

  • Heather Armstrong

    I’ve told a couple of friends back home that I want to visit the neighborhood where I attended kindergarten and each of them has said, “You can’t drive through that part of town, Heather.” That makes me so sad. But that’s Memphis, now, I guess.

    I will ask Leta to give me a step-by-step walkthrough to see if a post like that is possible. I’m thinking she wasn’t paying very close attention as being in the wilderness isn’t high on her list of to-do’s.

  • Elizabeth

    You are the BEST mom EVER!!!!

  • Melissa Murphy

    Thank you for the song that is now stuck in my head…..

  • joan newcomb

    My mother (a good Ann Arbor gal who’d walked to school through Michigan winters) taught me to walk to school when I was 10. In London, UK, which I always thought was terrifically risky. I remember it as a huge adventure. Just Google-mapped it and found it was, like, a 15 minute walk through the swankiest part of town.

  • http://oddlovescompany.com/blog/ Katybeth

    You win the clever Mom award Hands Down!

  • D J H

    If only you could password-protect Leta in 8 years when she’s dating…

  • Jessica

    When I was in elementary school, my mom gave me the same talk. The bus stop was a quarter mile from our house. One day my next door neighbor called my mom and told her, while laughing, that I wouldn’t accept a ride home in the torrential rain, because she failed to give me the password. I distinctly remember this and I remember her saying, “Jessica, it’s me…your neighbor…Robin.” :)

  • http://kristanhoffman.com/ Kristan

    I can’t even fully explain why, but this post just warms my heart. I was smiling from ear to ear while reading (particularly when the wilderness shelter came up, hehe).

    Keep on keepin’ on, Heather. You’re doing great.

  • http://kawyaurile.pl/ Przemysław Bednarz

    excacly, like your post ;)

  • http://www.designingaround.com/ Kathryn Humphreys

    oh crap. i don’t have a password. have now failed at parenting. Now that that’s out of the way I suddenly feel far less anxiety about letting them play with matches and run with scissors. Whew.

  • KMC2

    There is no place like home.

    I had an office job while my son was growing up. I dropped him off at school at 8:30 for the 8:40 start of the school day. The school day ended at 3:10 at which time he would have to go to the after school program until I could pick him up at 6:00. That is a nine and a half hour day. NINE AND A HALF HOURS! At least I had time to myself during my commute, I could listen to the radio and unwind. His time, on the other hand, was more regimentation after an already regimented day. It broke my heart to have him away from home that many hours five days a week.

    He is now in college, between that, his part time job and time spent with friends, I hardly get to see much of him these days. You never get those childhood days back, and they do go by so quickly. Leta is telling you she wants to be at home. Perhaps the babysitter could keep her busy so she doesn’t get bored while you finish your work.

  • http://ferryfolk.com Danalan

    I used to occasionally walk home from school, when the weather was nice enough. It was just over 5 miles, but it was all country roads. I would often cut through the woods to save some time, and saw black bears, porcupines, badgers, and skunks – along with the ubiquitous deer. Growing up in the country was very different from the suburbs or the city, I suppose. I’d get rides from other, older kids, or sometimes in farm trucks.

  • Octopies

    Oh my gosh! I still use the password with my mom. We tell each other ‘I love you (password)’ It is a made up word that ended up being the only way to describe the insane amount of love between my mama her babes.

    Also, it is my next tattoo so I guess EVERYONE will know the password.

  • MazMonroe

    Oh I so agree. My daughter is 34 years old now. Where DID those years go? When she was 9 I had to change from working part time to working full time when her dad left us and I always regret not being able to share more time with her. Fortunately she doesn’t see it that way, she sees me as a strong woman who refused to go on welfare and worked hard to support her and myself. Needless to say we are very proud of each other!

  • KMC2

    I too am a single mom. Mortgage, car payments, insurance, utilities, food, etc…etc…etc. We do what we have to do, to provide. But being away from my son was a hard pill to swallow. I did my best to make sure the time we did have together was quality time. Sometimes we would just have lazy weekends, where we would stay in our pajamas, read, nap, watch movies and eat our favorite foods during the cold winter months. When the weather was nice, we would go on adventures…oh, I miss those days! Now the boy is planning on driving over two hours away for a concert! I am going to worry till he gets back (he just turned 18).

  • KathyB

    Perfectly know your daughter. Loved this.

  • http://www.vncafe.com.vn/ V.NCAFÉ VIETNAM

    fantastic ! hihi

  • kacy

    love it when we get it right….ha ha ha

  • Jennifer Wysokowski

    Great story! Love hearing about your two so very, very different girls.
    Living in NYC I had a little bit of a hard time letting my son walk alone–it evolved more out of necessity. Now he’s almost 15. I still worry.

  • Jennifer Cafferty-Davis

    Well done, mama! We had a password when we were kids too, same talk from our parents that you gave Leta. So awesome!

  • Emily

    This is brilliant.

  • Becky

    I want to be you.

  • Jessica Bates

    I walked a block home from elementary school in Nashville on most days. One day, in third grade, they talked about strangers with candy. “Don’t take anything from strangers — no candy!” That afternoon I walked home with my cousin, a fourth grade boy. His friend came up to us and asked if we wanted some candy. (It was close to Halloween.) I ran and screamed the whole block home. My cousin was so embarrassed when he finally reached our house. I guess I took that candy advice a little too seriously.

  • April

    I grew up in Memphis (Raleigh/Bartlett) and when I was in kindergarten I got to walk home without my sister for the first time. We lived at the top of the hill from school – just cross the cross walk and straight up the hill. Easy right – well as soon as I crossed that cross walk the house at the cross walk opened their garage door and let their dog out, well said dog decided to bite me on the ass! I ran all the way up that hill screaming!!! My sister said she could hear me scream from a few blocks away!!! Then we changed schools to Harding Academy and spend hours on busses. I think I rode like 2 busses to get to school.

  • claudoo

    Love this, so funny, but so sweet. You’re a good mother (whether you admit it or not) :) I love that she wouldn’t go anywhere with Tyrant even though she knows him, without the password, hilarious. And I love the notion of the temporary survival shelter, so funny.

  • Starla Dear

    My sister and I wanted to walk home from school once after we had just moved to a new city. I think we were 7 and 9. We are both directionally challenged and since we were not at all familiar with the route, we quickly got lost. Not only that, it was chilly November and it started snowing. We didn’t know what to do until we saw a house with a picture of the Virgin Mary in the window. We thought, any house with a religious icon in the window HAS to be safe! The elderly lady who lived there let us call our mom. Whew! It does make me think twice before letting my kids do the same — I would be driving them through the route a couple of times, and I would probably be following them in a car the first time they tried it!

  • HeatherNC

    does your password contain at least 8 characters, two of which are numerical and at least one special character? cause if not, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

  • http://www.LuckyBitch.com/ Denise Duffield-Thomas

    I mastered the art of walking and reading, so I loved walking by myself to and from school – that was at least another few chapters of my book!

  • World Of Designers

    I love this mom !