Running Away from Home – A Reader’s True Story

I got an email last week from a friend in Maryland sharing a story about her 3 young kids.

The story is priceless. So much so that I just had to share it. It’s funny and yet wrought with potential danger. (All the makings of a great tale.)

My friend wrote:

“I woke up this morning to discover that the three kids had packed their belongings, toothbrushes, etc. and $15 dollars of combined birthday cash, and were just about to run away from home.

My husband, who was just back from his run around 6 AM, found them just about to leave via red wagon.

Well, you can imagine!!!! They are 7, 6 and 3.

When questioned, they explained that there was nothing lacking at home, but that they were off to search, ‘for adventure’ and had plans to return now and again to reassure us that they were still alive and well.

They had packed backpacks of stuff over the course of two days.”

My Reply

I wrote back saying I thought this story was priceless and one that she, her husband and the 3 kids would remember for the rest of their lives. I also stressed that I was so glad her husband had been able to catch them before they left!


The story got even better when she wrote back with an update:

“Theresa, your response helps me put it into perspective.

Frankly, I was shocked at their level of determination and planning and secrecy. They read a lot of books with kids camping, fishing, living on berries and nuts, and I think that is what they thought they would be doing. A fantasy of all they have read.

I decided to test them to see if they were actually serious (maybe a bad idea).  So I said whoever wanted should go ahead. Two of the three headed out —-

(My middle girl remembered that there was a swimming lesson later that morning that she didn’t want to miss – so she stayed.)

The 7 year old (the ringleader) with the 3 year old in tow (he was just doing what he was told by big sister) headed off. I watched from the window so see how far they would venture.

They were stopped by a lady in the street. She asked them if they were on their way to school. They explained that they were running away. Lady asked if Mom knew this; they said yes. She went off satisfied with this answer.

When they got off our street, and were headed on to a busier street, I went after them and brought them back.

They are camping in their bedroom tonight in sleeping bags — A compromise.

I explained about dangers, but I don’t think they really get it. So, we’ll try to give them some safer adventures. And perhaps a change of reading material!!!”

My Final Thoughts

I don’t know that this will be the end of this story — but it’s where it stands now. I think considering that their oldest daughter (the ringleader) is only 7 years old —– my friend and her husband have a lot to look forward to in future years.


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  • I’ll leave the light on for them Sandra.
    If I had a tent — we could start out with sleeping out one night. (I don’t have one.)
    Maybe I’ll throw a sheet over one of the tables in the room next to my office and we can pretend it’s a cave.
    I feel sure they can clue me in with lots of ideas on what adventures we could have.
    I’ll have a pile of books ready for bedtime stores. Maybe Bill could read to us.

  • …giggle…what a cute story, thanx for brightening up my day Theresa, you and Bill must have been fun parents! Blessings to all…

  • Oh Sandra, that is just priceless! I hope you got a picture! I’m curious to know what books they’ve been reading? My boys are 9 and 7, and they read a lot of Boxcar Children and Swallows and Amazons – but (so far) they have not decided to strike out on their own!

  • I also ran away from home at about age 5….to my across the street neighbor because they had a piano. My mother and the lady across the street very wisely let me do it. A cot was set up for me in the living-room and I went to bed. About the middle of the night I decided I really didn’t want a piano that badly and was taken home.

  • Hey Dink, Heather and Jenny!
    Glad you enjoyed this story. I think it’s something that will always put a smile on my face.

    I got an email from another reader this morning and she said, “I had to chuckle about the running away story. I tried it once, maybe in my tween years, Mom watched me walk out the back door and I got as far as the asphalt road and headed back home. Not a word was said.”

    Jenny — the subject about our being parents is long one. Too long for this site. 🙂

    Heather – I can hardly wait to read Sandra’s reply to your question.(I’m glad for your sake that your boys have not decided to strike out on their own.)

    Dink — do you have and still play the piano? Tell us more!

    Have a great day!

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