When we did resume our walk, Eamon was eager to find the hands-on area. Besides the telescopes, the mortars and pestles were the most fun. We talked about mesquite and the many uses of it. As the children ground mesquite pods into flour, I noticed a small rabbit approach. It came up so close to us nibbling on vegetation. I quietly told Eamon and Aine to look behind them. Benton came over too and we all watched the bunny. It must be very accustomed to people, because we were not quiet in the least. The flour tasted a bit sweet and salty
Our outing was derailed at this point. We abruptly had to leave the hands-on area, because Eamon had to use the restroom. He began to run ahead of us ignoring my instructions to stay close. As Aine, Benton and I rounded the turns back to the main part of the garden, we did not see Eamon. We made our way to the closest bathroom, but he was not in it. With a quickened pace, we retraced part of our earlier journey to another bathroom. No Eamon. Our yells for him were getting a bit frantic. The garden is big, and he is only 8.5 years old. A few of the volunteers began to help in the search. Benton began to worry about his big brother and added his voice to our yells. With a definite urgency, I steered us to the main entrance. As I was getting closer, an employee of the garden was coming toward me after hearing our shouts. I instantly remembered the other time we lost Eamon. The park ranger told me that my son was at admissions after confirming my name and his. With the ranger at my side, I practically sprinted toward the entrance and my oldest son.
Amidst big hugs, Eamon said, "I did what you always tell me." I told him that he hadn't. He had gone ahead of us and not stayed where he could see me. He agrued with me about my interpretation of his behavior. He said that when he realized that he had lost me, he did what I tell him to do. He had emerged from the bathroom near the entrance and realized I wasn't there, so he went straight to the admissions area. He even assured me that he told them my phone number. He did admit to flipping the first three and the final four numbers, because he was a little nervous. We hugged again and again. I told him that yes, he had done the right thing when he realized he was lost.
After the excitement, we all wanted to head home. In the cool safety of the car, I asked Eamon if he was scared. He said he was, and that he was glad we were all back together. Phew, what a day!