After two hours of intense negotiation about which animals could join us, Ryan and I went to the pool. This is a fancy-shmancy public pool with a lazy river, in the middle of a 161-acre park, filled with trails, ball fields, lakes, and woodlands.
We spent three hours at the pool, doing typical pool things. Then we headed for the playground just outside the pool's gates. Ryan started to run up a big grassy hill. I said, "Before you run off, let me grab my bag - don't go too far." I got my bag, and when I turned around, Ryan was gone.
At first I wasn't too concerned - this is hardly the first time Ryan has run off. I looked around for him, calling his name.
After maybe 15 minutes, I started to panic.
Five minutes later, I called 911.
A team of county police immediately arrived on bicycles and fanned out in search of Ryan. I walked around with an officer and screamed Ryan's name.
About ten minutes later, one of them radioed that they had found Ryan. They would be bringing him back to the playground.
I paced, waiting for them. "I'm going to kill him," I muttered to the cop who had been babysitting me.
"Please don't kill him in the park," he advised. "Wait til you get home."
Ten long minutes later, Ryan arrived, riding shotgun in a golf cart. They had found him over a mile away from the playground, near the Bronx border.
"He's pretty fast," commented one of the officers who had found him.
Ryan was smiling, oblivious to my anger, indifferent when I tried to explain to him why he can't just run off without me. I yelled at him in that same unsatisfying way I did when he ran into the street by himself - having no reason to believe my point had gotten through to him.
Both my mother and my mother-in-law suggested a stiff drink was in order. Who am I to question their advice?