The boys were gone again last week. The younger kids returned Thursday afternoon, and we picked up the older boys from camp on Friday. Thus began Re-Entry*, a phase in which boys leave the excitement of camp (or Grandma’s house) and adjust back to our family routine.
When the older boys were around the age of 6 or so I used to dread Re-Entry. For some reason, TechnoBoy and The Mercenary could not handle the transition from Grandma back to me**. Their first days home involved lots of fighting, tantrums, and so on. I remember crying about it myself, they were so difficult. Gradually they got better and now they can handle visits to other places and return home fairly smoothly. You know. Give or take. 😉
Coming home from church camp was rather surprising this year. Usually The Mercenary is tired but cheerful while TechnoBoy has a serious bout of frowning when I first arrive for pick-up and then we go home and all is well. This year, TechnoBoy did get upset over something small, but had a lot of smiles and his usual sweetness. This year the Mercenary was exhausted to the point of not being able to follow simple directions that afternoon. And he actually came close to tears in frustration over his little brothers, saying “Life was all good at camp, and then I had to come HOME.”
Poor guy. Fortunately I actually remember back to my own experiences with Re-Entry so I hugged him and explained that all those emotions are normal and that he’d be fine after resting for a few days. TechnoBoy went through his fit later on that evening, telling me that camp was fun because they were busy all the time and life here at home was BORING.
Thankfully he listened to me when I repeated the “You’re fine…hang in there” pep talk.
And then I sent them to bed early.
*Re-Entry is not a term I invented. Rather, credit for this brilliance goes to a dear friend of mine (you KNOW who you are, sweet friend).
**For the record, they were incredibly sweet for Grandma. She does spoil them with treats, but they’re expected to behave themselves just as much for her as me. They just couldn’t deal with the changes.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents surviving re-entry.