We were at the park. We've been spending a lot of time at the park lately, because going farther involves a lot of prep and anxiety, and I just haven't been able to do it alone anymore. The park is familiar, the boundaries well-set, and I can actually do a little writing or grading or whatever. You know, he wanders about doing the Joey thing, and I sit in a set place where he knows I will be, and do the Mom thing. And Andy runs about doing the Andy thing. And I do a regular headcheck. Child one, child two. Child one, child two.
Today, I looked up doing my headcount, and three boys who looked alike (must be brothers or cousins) were headed straight for me. This is never a good sign; and sure enough, they complained that Joey was cussing at them. Joey's explanation was that they were "being mean" and "ignoring me." So we had a little talk about how some people are not interested in being friends, and we should just leave them alone. Then we talked about not using bad words, and that we had been having this discussion all week, so it was time for him to be suspended from the Wii for the evening. Then he bounced off with instructions to tell his brother we were leaving in ten minutes.
And I finished up reading the paper I was grading, about three minutes, and looked up for a head check. Child one....
No child two.
I gathered my things and headed over to Andy, asked him if he could see Joey. After a brief look about, the answer was no. He ran up the hill. No Joey. The park realized I was looking for Joey, and I started getting reports. He had gone up the hill. He had been seen on one road. He had been seen on the other road. He certainly was not here.
Andy ran ahead to check the car, the other adults spread out in a search; and I called JoeyAndyDad to get him on the move. We agreed for me to jump in the van with Andy and start along the familiar path home.
In another minute, I had the call from JoeyAndyDad- Joey was found... he had made it about 4 blocks, 2/3 the way home. He must have run part of the way, and started out as soon as I released him to find his brother.
My world just contracted a little more.