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Write our phone number on your arm, in case you get hit by a car


“Mom, may I ride my bike around the block?” my youngest daughter asked.

“Sure, just write our phone number on your arm with a magic marker,  in case you get hit by a car.”

She went for a bike ride and when she came back she showed me her arm. She had written on her arm, Call if Hit, and our phone number.

My oldest daughter is flying by herself to California next January for a week.  No, actually she will be gone for twelve days. I  will write my phone number in permanent ink on  both arms. She is going farther than a bike ride around the block, and I don’t want the phone number to wash off.

She will be riding in an airplane sitting beside complete strangers. She will get off the plane by herself and change planes by herself. She will get on another plane and sit beside another complete stranger. She will then get off the plane by herself. Tomorrow morning I will call the tattoo parlor and see how much they charge for a phone number.


Has your child ridden their bike around the block? Have they flown away? Did you write your phone number on their arm?
Please tell me.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

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  • Jane

    When my daughter was 20, we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Arizona. She went out for a run in the early am, to avoid the heat. She got lost. No number in her shoe, no phone number marked on her arm….and she didn’t even know how to spell Grandpa’s last name. Go ahead and worry, but it won’t make a bit of difference, except to rob your days. P.S. she made it home after a few extra miles.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you for sharing your story. I realize after reading your comment that I thought my worrying would help. I thought I was suppose to worry to get a good grade for parenting. I don’t want my days to be robbed. Thank you the the P.S. I was wondering if she made it home.

  • Sue

    When my two middle children (ages 17 and 19) went to Ghana, Africa, they traveled together and were going with a group of people who had gone to our church in Santa Cruz and had moved to Colorado, but I knew them, and they were all together. Some people asked how I could let them go that far, and I said, “They are in God’s hands. They could walk out our front door and get hit by a car or a tree limb or . . . ” (you get the idea). Two years later, I drove that same son (almost 21) to the airport to put him on a plane to Africa again. That time, though, he was going alone – no sister (though he is older), no welcoming group of friends (he went to a YWAM Discipleship Training School), and suddenly I was kind of freaked out. I cried as I drove away from the airport!

    • pamelahodges

      Oh I can totally understand the driving away crying part. I am driving my oldest to the airport in January so she can visit friends in Santa Cruz. I trust God, but I haven’t had her go anywhere on her own yet.

  • My daughter took off running as soon as she learned to walk! I remember being in a busy parking lot, trying to hold my very little girl’s hand for safety. She was trying equally as hard to go her own way, saying, “No, Mom-mom, I hold my hand!” Now she’s a freshman in college. I usually get a text or two most days. She’s only come home for the weekend one time. She did call me (a lot) when she got a really bad cold and sore throat. I kept telling myself the same thing I was telling her… it was just a bad cold (she had been to the clinic and had a negative strep test).

    Mostly, she is being very independent and having a great time. And mostly I am thrilled for her. I just miss her a lot! (And worry a little…)

    • pamelahodges

      I am one year behind you. My daughter is a senior in high school. Yes, It will be interesting. To encourage the running and the independence, to be excited for her new adventures, and to miss her.

  • Lory

    I can’t say that I have ever written our phone number on my daughter’s arm, but now you have given me some ideas. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable letting my daughter ride her bike around the block. I still worry about her, even though she’s 14 and would prefer I don’t worry. I don’t know if that feeling ever goes away.

    • pamelahodges

      My mom is eighty, and she says she still has that feeling. I don’t think a mother’s love or concern ever stops.

  • lee

    This sounds so much like us. This past summer we started letting our oldest extend her range to a few select friends outside our immediate neighborhood. It is still nerve wracking at times.

    • pamelahodges

      I think my nerves will always be wracked. I will have to buy jeans more often as I wear out the knees praying.

  • LAUGH! The title alone grabbed me. I work SO hard to keep my phobias to myself – I’m glad I’m not the only mom who spends life in a mild state of panic.

    • pamelahodges

      Maria, thank you for your comment. I am glad I brought laughter into your life. I am grateful to know I am not alone in my mothering phobias.

  • Michelle

    As a mom of two little ones, I LOVE this idea!!! Thanks for the little laughter knowing all to well that I will stressing much like you soon enough. I like your idea: keep praying.

    • pamelahodges

      Your hands must be full with two the same age. I believe in prayer ( and writing phone numbers in shoes as wakeupnandwrite suggested in her comment).

  • Letting go is SO VERY HARD. You want to hold them tight forever; but then you would be left with 50 year old children and you would miss the great time of watching them live their own lives protected by the love and lessons you gave them. I try hard to adhere to the “give them roots and let them use their wings” mentality; however, I still feel a bit of angst whenever their lives and travels take them outside of my “comfort zone.”

    • pamelahodges

      Oh, I do not want 50 year old children. I will love them now when I see them every day, and I will love them when they are far away. Thank you for your comment.

  • Each step they take is confirmation that your job as parent is being done. I had to laugh at the phone number on the arm!

    • pamelahodges

      I am glad I don’t have to do all of the steps at once. Life is more fun with laughter. I am glad you laughed.

  • At 33 and 28, my boys have gone many places. Sometimes they scared the crap out of me. But my husband and I raised them to be independent human beings who could survive and take care of things. That meant, I had to let them explore on their own, try things on their own, go places on their own. You want them to be this way. I don’t know how to help you get through this. It seems like you go through life with your heart in your throat while your kids are growing up.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Deb for your comments. I want my children to be independent, I will spend more time in prayer and less time worrying. I am wondering what your boys did that scared the crap out of you 🙂

  • nancy

    You are too funny. I did sometimes have my Middle School write things on occasion that they were forgetting at home….or I’d tie a string around their arm and then they would look at the string and remember. The tattoo part is super clever, especially if it could be in a pretty bubble text. xo PS I guess you are a little nervous about them leaving!

    • pamelahodges

      Just a little nervous. I don’t always realize I am nervous. It just comes out in my desire to write my phone number on them. I will pray more and worry less.

  • I’m afraid I don’t have any real advice on this front. I took a walk up the block (two houses down) with my daughter this morning and was cringing when she wasn’t gripping my hand tightly enough for fear she’d run into the street. (She likes to do that whenever possible.) The bike thing is just too scary to think about.

    If it’s any consolation, I flew on a plane by myself at the age of 5. Those were the days the flight attendants took you on and off of the plane. I got to FL and back just fine. Your daughter will do it too. And, you’ll both be okay.

    • pamelahodges

      Yes, I can see why you would hold her hand tightly. The little road runner. She is too precious to let wander far. I am realizing that they grow up slowly on purpose, so I have time to get use to each step.
      From walking holding hands, to riding bikes to airplanes. Amazing that you flew at the age of five by yourself. I would love to read a story about that adventure. Did you have any books to read with you?

  • elsie

    I feel your pain of letting go, but it has to happen. I am grateful for the technology that has let us stay in touch easier. They will survive and so will you. I’m with your mom, no tattooing.

    • pamelahodges

      I am thankful for technology that helps to stay in touch. There will be no phone numbers tattooed oh her 🙂 She may get one when she is eighteen, but it won’t be my phone number. I may sneak it in one of her shoes though.

  • Sandy

    Funny my son and his girl friend went to a bachelor/ette party last weekend and laughed at me when I said for them to write their name and MY phone number on their body so I will be the first notified if anything goes wrong. can’t wait to tell them I’m not the only mom who thinks like this 🙂 Did I mention they are 24 yrs old hahaha

    • pamelahodges

      I love it. Now I know I am not the only parent who thinks this way. If they didn’t write your name and phone number on their bodies, the next time they are over write it in her shoe with a magic marker. 🙂

  • Oh my… My children are very much adults living their own lives now, but yes, I remember these days. Many such frantic moments with my then young ones. I’m with Linda. You bite you lips, worry behind their backs, but let them go. Looking at it from this side of the parenting rainbow your tale is bittersweet memories.


    • You ask if your child has ever flown away…..well YES, they did & I seem to remember my daughter had just turned 18 when she flew away……not to California…..but to Europe….with her brother’s girlfriend (now his wife)…..she was supposed to be home in November….then she phones me to say she is going to Isreal to work in a kibbutz…..my heart stopped a million times but I did live through it…..she had no phone # written on her arm or in her shoe or no tattoo’s anywhere stating who to call…..she made it…..now she’s all grown up with a husband of her own…..3 children…..a home to manage….let her go…DON”T tattoo her….later in life it will look like ink dripping down her arm…….:-)

      • pamelahodges

        Hello mother. You were so brave. I was nineteen when I left. I spend my twentieth birthday sleeping on a train travelling to the south of Spain. My children won’t have my phone number tattooed on their arms. I may sneak it in one of thier shoes though 🙂

    • pamelahodges

      This is in response to Ravienne’s comment.

      I know one day they will be living as adults away from my home. I am enjoying the time I have with them now. I tell my oldest to do what she wants, go where she wants and to explore and create and seek her passions. I am the mother who flew to Asia on a one way ticket and lived there for seven years. (my poor mother)
      I REALLY like your gravatar design, by the way.

  • Yes, Yes, and No-sorry. Step by step, they did things, & I let them & they did fine, Pamela. If your daughter thinks she can ride her bike around the block, then I think she’s ready. Same with the older one. You say “go girls” & then worry & stomp & cry when they’re not watching. Remember that quote, “Having children is like letting your heart walk around outside of your body.” So, so true! Here’s a hug.

    • pamelahodges

      I love the quote. I had never heard it before. Thank you for your comment and your hug.

  • My mom used to write our address and phone number in our shoes. When I was 5, my brother and I went for a walk and got lost. A lady tried to help us and when she asked where we lived I told her, “in my shoe.”
    (With much exasperation, I finally took off my shoe and showed her!)

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you for telling me your story of living “in your shoe.” I think your mother is brilliant. I am going to write our address and phone number in all of my daughters shoes.