As they walk out the door

Gunce Arkan
3 min readJun 2, 2022


This past year, my self-assured 13-year old and my wide-eyed 11-year old have started to walk to school by themselves. A school that resides five narrow streets and two wide avenues over from our NYC apartment.

I was hesitant to let them go at first, but then life got in the way, showing me the advantages of their newfound independence.

But that doesn’t stop the mom in me from “mom-ing” them to be careful even as I slobber on them with much unappreciated kisses on their way out the door.

The unfortunate fact of life is that my “mom-ing” has changed in tone and tenor from the more bland “be carefuls” I used to throw at them as they ran around the playground gleefully just a few short years ago.

Now the list feels more extensive, surreal even:

“Be careful crossing the street, baby. Look out for your brother. Don’t look down at your phones. But you know, keep your phone nearby, in case of emergency, and I have to reach you. Keep them close. Text me back immediately. But don’t look at them. Look out for the guys on bikes… the Uber Eats, the DoorDash guys on those terrifying electric bikes that zip down one way streets in both directions with seemingly no regard for their own lives…

“And be sure to stay on the east side of Third Avenue, until you make it past the half-naked homeless dude with the open meth sores. He is just sad and harmless and it is sadder still that our city has failed him so, but there is no need to get an eyeful of unwashed genitalia so early in the morning. So stay to the east side…

“Also please don’t forget to keep your mask up all day. It’s no use wearing it like a bandana. There are 7 positive COVID cases in your class of twenty just this week…so try really hard not to be the 8th. Keep your mask up, and maybe stay away from your friends during lunch time. Head down to the library. We are getting our 2nd booster in just a week, let’s try and make it till then…

“And both of you please pay attention during any active shooter drills at school this week. I am going to sign you up for a CPR class and a class on emergency first aid as soon as school lets out. They are even going to teach you how to make an impromptu tourniquet. But in the interim, if you get shot or if any of your friends gets shot…please remember you have to press down hard on the bullet wound even if it hurts. You have to press hard. Just do that until help arrives…

Alright, babies. I love you both. Stay safe. Don’t get run over. Don’t get molested. Don’t get COVID. Don’t get shot. Don’t die. I’ll see you at 3:30.

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The city & my babies
My babies & the City



Gunce Arkan

Unwilling infertility expert. Wife. Mother. Sister. Daughter.