The camp bus is coming home…now what?

5 days. Yup. 5 days until he is home. I cannot believe how fast it went. All that prep, all those pictures, all those letters, all that money…just to think I will do it all again in 10 months. I am okay with it. I really am. I miss him and I am ready for his return. The real question is…. is HE ready for the return. When I spoke to him last week and I reminded him there were only 10 days of camp left he went quiet. I actually think I heard a pin drop. I said “Did you realize there were only 10 days left?” “Uh, no”, he said, “color war didn’t even break yet.” I told him that is because color war usually breaks within the last 7 days and it is coming! (obviously it broke and I think it ends today…GO BLUE!) I tried to get him excited for all the things we would do when he returned home.



I hope he is nice. He has been a great kid for the past 9 years but who knows what he will be like when he returns. He has had no authority figure, really, to tell him what to do. What is going to happen when I tell him it’s bed time? Is he going to look at me, laugh and tell me that he doesn’t go to bed at 9 anymore? Has he learned new words that I am going to have to put an end to FAST? Is he going to spend the first week home, since I purposely did not make any plans yet, facetiming all his camp friends? Is he going to beg me to somehow build a Ga-Ga court in our backyard? (it is completely impossible unless I build it on my front lawn…think the neighbors would LOVE that!? LOL). I just am unsure how he is going to adjust to re-entering society. I mean it is not like he is coming back from Vietnam, I just think 7 weeks with no parents, 200 boys and one big sleepover is going to be a huge adjustment for both of us.

I haven’t food shopped (well maybe a tiny bit) in 7 weeks. I haven’t carpooled, made lunches, screamed or put out fights between the two boys. I haven’t done a lot of things I am going to have to do in 5 days. He is going to have to do things he hasn’t done in 7 weeks. Like for example, he is going to have to be polite, he is going to have to learn the words “please and thank you” again, he is going to have to get a license because I am not ready to carpool again. He is going to have to learn to be a big brother again. He is going to have to take out the garbage and actually read a book. I think the only thing he has read in the past 7 weeks are color war songs, the schedule and maybe one or two Sports Illustrated Magazines.

Granted I don’t expect him to come a monster either. There are some great things I know he picked up at camp such as

1) Making his bed (he did this at home but now maybe learned how to actually put the covers up and place the pillows on the bed correctly)

2) Brushing his teeth (yes he did this also but hopefully now I won’t have to ask him every morning if he brushed)

3) Better eating habits (he told me on visiting day weekend he eats salad, floored!)

4) Responsible for his belongings ( one can only hope he will lose less things, like the retainer he hasn’t worn all summer because he swears I didn’t pack it. I did! I promise you, it is exactly where I told him it was)

5)  Music taste ( he finally knows some of  the classics (paid a lot of money for that!)

6) Increased athletic skills and stronger team player (pictures show this time and time again!)

7) European vocab – (he dropped the word “what” and has officially replaced it with the word “sorry”.  “No worries” ( I have been saying this for years but it takes an Australian soccer coach to teach him these little 2 words)

I’m sure I will be able to add to this list when he returns. I know I could list 400 other things he has learned this summer but not really going to bore you because I need your advice …keep reading!

My husband thinks we need to put a one week rule in place where we gradually ratchet up our parental authority or our g-d given rights as parents. I’m down.  I just wonder if we will ever get back to where we were before he left for camp.

I would like some insight from the moms whose kids are coming home NOT for their first summer. How long is the adjustment? Is it tough? Easy? For you first time moms are you wondering the same thing? Insight would be so appreciated in the countdown before the big one returns home! I need to mentally prepare for the few days after he returns.

Personally this is the kid I want to see when he gets home…I do miss him!



Share Your Thoughts

  1. Ellen

    Well…..don’t be worried. There is always a honeymoon period of total sweetness to everyone! Siblings included!

    There are new words for sure. The ones for going to the bathroom are the most shocking! And some new words need to be immediately clarified and explained in much detail.

    There is boredom. More activity needed and constant reminding of what he would be doing if he was still there.

    But the best is when he will ask you to do something and you can reply.,,,,,what? You have been managing that yourself for SEVEN WEEKS!!!!

    And they really do mature in a way that can only happen when being away from their parents!!!

    August 5, 2013 • 8:01 am •
  2. Tara

    First of all….definitely ease back into your parental roles. He’s going to sleep A LOT those first few days! They come home absolutely exhausted and the last thing he is going to want is you nagging him. He also is not going to want to talk about camp too much, at first. Don’t bombard him with questions. He’s going to be tired and it’s a readjustment for him too. Like you said, 1 big 7 week sleepover without mommy and daddy! Ease in…..
    Secondly, don’t let ANYTHING in the house that came home from camp with him…except him! It’s stinky, and smelly, and dirty….HE can take a nice long shower…..that stuff needs to stay out!
    Last….enjoy him….once he’s clean!! 🙂

    August 5, 2013 • 8:14 am •
  3. Tamara

    He will be very tired and he may be very sad. My kids are in their 9th and 11th year. They are always sad for a couple of days. The over tiredness is significant. Don’t expect too much for a couple of days. And don’t inundate him with the grandma family reunion. We have always done best with a barbecue the following day. Good luck!

    August 5, 2013 • 8:30 am •
  4. Amy

    Yeah my husband invited everyone (family) over literally less than 24 hours after he gets home…. Not sure it’s the best idea!

    August 5, 2013 • 8:33 am •
  5. Last year was our first summer. We were all so excited to pick our daughter up from the bus. As soon as both of our daughters got back I to the car they started their first fight. We didn’t even make it out of the bus parking lot. It was great to see that all things were back to our normal within teo seconds. Then she slept for hours it was awesome. The next day she was bored out of her mind and I was immediately thrown into the job of Julie McCoy for the next few weeks and I loved every second of it. :). Good luck love love love reading your blog!!!!

    August 5, 2013 • 8:43 am •
  6. Boys are so different than girls with the facetiming and getting in touch with their camp friends. My sister lives in Warren and my sons best friend from camp lives there too. Everytime we would go to my sisters I would say “Dylan do you want to call Jake and get together?” He would say “Nah I’ll see him at camp”. They did see each other a few times but it wasn’t at all like it is if you have girls. There was definitely a lot of moodiness maybe it’s sadness. Hard to describe. Every year there is a stomach issue. I guess the body has to get used to good food again! I actually usually don’t plan much for my son the first few days. He wants to play video games, sleep and lay around. Then we go on our family vacation and that does bring you right back to normal. You will be surprised with the words that come home though. I agree with Ellen…nip it in the bud quickly about what’s acceptable and what isn’t). Love the blog Amy!

    August 5, 2013 • 8:59 am •
  7. Amy

    Thanks girls!! I am giving him a week to unwind and then starting our summer vacation. Hopefully that will be perfecto! Also thanks for commenting!! Really helps and I appreciate all the feedback!

    August 5, 2013 • 9:03 am •
  8. Aly

    He’ll probably respond best if you call him by his last name and ease into being called by his first name. His first real shower at home will be a long one and he’ll love it! My son seems bored 10 months out of the year since he’s gone to camp. This was his third summer. I can already hear the “I’m bored, I have nothing to do.” This go ’round I’m prepared with a list if things to reply with once I hear that line drop from his mouth. Such as: 1. Read a book for 30 minutes. 2. Go shoot some hoops. 3. You requested this kan jam game on call #2, it arrived before you got home, play it 4. Write to a friend (I’ll accept email too) 5. Call a friend and see if they want to get together (you’re 10 and I know you can initiate your own “playdates” now 6. Try on some of your clothes and let’s see how much you grew this summer and we will go school clothes shopping
    I am so ready for him to come home but so not ready for 4 wee ks until school starts!!!

    August 5, 2013 • 9:07 am •
  9. Debbie

    My daughter’s first year, which was 5 years ago, we had heard she was homesick alot. We thought she would come home and be so happy to be home with us. At about 9:00 that first night, she started crying that she missed camp. We took that as a good sign and she loves camp.

    I always laugh when they come home and on the first day, they want to sweep the kitchen floor, put their dishes in the dishwasher, make their beds. I laugh because that only lasts a few hours.

    Good luck and enjoy your time before school starts.

    August 5, 2013 • 9:25 am •
  10. jamie

    as the mother of two sons who went to sleepaway camp, for 9 and 12 summers…. my rule was always the same as you and your husband have said… one week to clean up bad language (which was really the trickiest part, of returning everything else falls into place. everyone needs to readjust. patience is key! p.s. i think its a great idea that you have invited your family over the next day! why not… they’ve missed him too. count on a fun day! just wait until your sons are older and they return for the first time from college …THAT is the biggest adjustment EVER! lol

    August 5, 2013 • 9:35 am •
  11. Amy

    Of course you are going to say have the family over the next day! YOU are the grandmother!!! LOL

    August 5, 2013 • 9:40 am •
  12. Gail

    Love your blog!!! Anyway, coming home from college is definitely more of an adjustment for all parties!! As far as re-entry from camp it was a slow process in my house! After a LONG shower, they would put on heavy sweatshirts since the AC was not something they were accustomed to! Lots of boredom and tears and sleeping and then slowly but surely, everything fell into place. I would save the extended family visits for a few days later!

    August 5, 2013 • 11:15 am •
  13. litljen

    I agree wholeheartedly with them being exhausted the first few days. My youngest crashed hard at 6pm every single day for the first 3 days! He will likely be sad and missing his bunkmates, especially at night when it’s so quiet in his room. My kids come home polite and compliant and I never have to ask them twice to do things….until about the 3rd week home. You will see how independent he is and how much he has grown in every way possible. My youngest who always wanted everything done for her has been doing everything on her own now. She even asked if she could cook us dinner. WHAT?! I agree about a long, hot shower to scrub himself down as well as not allowing anything into the house from camp. It all stays in my garage and gets brought directly into the laundry room as soon as I am ready to wash that load. And stock up on bleach for those whites…..nasty does not even describe what you will see!!!!!

    It’s amazing how a short time away helps them grow in ways that we, as parents, could never imagine. Enjoy the homecoming and hope it all goes smoothly.
    And I agree

    August 5, 2013 • 1:26 pm •
  14. Merle

    Through my experience, I have found the boys to be exhausted, with some sadness occurring. I kinda let them be and let them talk when they felt like it. It DIDN’T TAKE LONG for them to forget HOW TO FOLD CLOTHES AND MAKE THE BED :(….. Also they wanted to be on the computer as well as play video games. Enjoy having your son back!

    August 5, 2013 • 2:25 pm •
  15. Marsha

    The same kid is coming home to you. The only difference is that he will be a bit more independent – if he is hungry, he’ll go get his own snack. Ours both dropped their making of the bed/folding of the clothes the minute they walked in the door and deposited all their sneakers and cleats in the middle of the floor. The most astonishing thing I can remember is that after super warrior summer, when I would argue with my 9 year old, he would say “I can’t wait to go back to camp and get away from you.” Now, they just check the cedar website and count down the days until next summer. It’s all so great and I hope one day they realize how lucky they were to have spent their summers in such a wonderful place.

    August 5, 2013 • 3:19 pm •
  16. Start the tub! He will be dirty! My son will be coming home from his sixth summer at camp, and yes, there is definitely a re-entry-into-real-life period. With my son, it lasts for about a week. One thing I remember from his first summer away, was that he had a play-date with a friend the day after they both came home from camp, and they could not figure out what to do. I finally realized that “fun” had been scheduled for them for seven weeks, and they actually forgot how to figure out how to amuse themselves. And not to worry…your son will come home the same sweet boy he was when he left…albeit with a slightly ‘enhanced’ language, some gross eating habits, dirty finger nails, and lots of stories from camp that you will love hearing. Enjoy having him home!

    August 5, 2013 • 8:09 pm •