My mom, my sister, and I all took the boys (and Jeanie's dogs) to the state park today. Eli wanted to fish, so he brought his fishing pole; and Noah wanted to ride his bike. Jeanie and I decided to walk the dogs around the three-mile loop, and Noah could ride his bike along with us. (Lucy, my sister's other basset, doesn't like to walk too far, so Jeanie brought the wagon to pull her, haha)
We started walking, and I told Noah he didn't have to stay right next to us, but he had to stay in our sight (if he couldn't see us, he had to stop and wait for us to catch up). It worked out pretty well--if he got out of sight, I just yelled, "Noah!" and hear him respond, "What?!" and I would yell back, "Wait up!" so he would wait for us.
After about 1.3 miles or so (I know that path like the back of my hand), Noah asked if he could turn around and ride back to where my mom and Eli were. I thought about it for a minute--I could call my mom, tell her that he's on his way back, and she could watch for him. But then I thought about the one fork in the path, and I worried that he might turn the wrong way. He said he knew which way to turn, but it can be really confusing (I got lost lots of times when I first started running at the park).
I told Noah no, that he still had to stay in our sight--but we would turn around and head back instead of finishing the loop. So we started back along the path, and I noticed Noah wasn't in sight. So I yelled, "Noah!" expecting him to yell back. I didn't hear anything, so I yelled again, as loud as I could. Still, nothing. Jeanie suggested that maybe the wind was drowning it out because we had turned around, so I decided to do a short run ahead to see if I could see him (he was supposed to stay in sight, remember).
I started running, and when I went around the curve, I could see pretty far ahead--and Noah wasn't there. I picked up the pace and started running as fast as I could--faster and faster until I was running so hard, I felt like my lungs would explode. Every 10 seconds or so, I would yell his name, but there was no response. I had my phone with me, so I called my mom's cell and asked if Noah was with her. She panicked and said no, he wasn't.
I really freaked out then. I felt like I was choking, and as I ran, I was picturing all the horrible things that could have happened to him. After about a half-mile, I saw some people on bikes coming toward me. I asked them, "Did you see a little boy on a bike?" And they said yes, they had passed him "waaay back there". I kept running, and asking everyone I saw if they saw a boy on a bike. About a 1/4 mile from where my mom was, my mom called and said he showed up with her. I told her to tell him to stay there, and he was in big trouble.
|Eli is obsessed with fishing lately|
I'm sure the state park is very safe, and I've never heard of anything bad happening there, but it's also very secluded, and I don't even feel safe running there by myself. I always take pepper spray if I don't have a running partner there.
My sister and her husband are going back to Illinois tonight--but first, they decided to stay and watch Noah play his final baseball game. Noah was actually chosen by his coach to play on the all-star team! There were only five kids chosen, so he is pretty proud. I'll be seeing my sister again in about a week, because we are going to visit her in Illinois. I'm excited to go--we always have fun when we visit!