Leaving Can Be Hard

Date published: August 1st, 2016 | By Matthew


The First Days After Camp

Last year Louise and I bought the farm from my mother, Susan. Susan started the business back in the 1970s with her five partners.

In the 1980s Susan's niece Becky, my cousin, came to the farm as a farmer. Later Becky returned as a Big Kid. Now she sends her two sons. This summer the boys were here for Session #1.

During a recent conversation, Becky offered to write about what it was like to get her boys back. It occurred to me that her perspective, and others like it, might be interesting to share.

Here is Becky's reflection:

Leaving Longacre is really hard. I spent four summers as a farmer, and cried every year hugging my new, dear friends goodbye. It is hard to explain--the powerful connection that Longacre fosters. Between working hard together, expressing yourself in Group, and being at an age where friends are so vitally important, the relationships are very strong.

My two boys attended Longacre Session #1. They had each been to Longacre before, so some of their friendships were continued from last summer. It was an emotional departure. The drive home (when they weren’t sleeping!) was full of stories. I found them chattier than usual. It’s all relative--they are teenage boys, not always known for chattiness.

Here is what the first few days home were like at our house:

Day 1 – Arrival home. Happy to be with dad and mom and sister and dog. Happy to get back into their bed and use flush toilets. Happy to have wireless internet. Very tired.

Day 2 – Tears. Longing to be back at Longacre. Very focused on phone and being in touch with farmers. Still very (sometimes irrationally) tired. Kind of lethargic.

Day 3 – Still sad. Still really missing friends. Dad and mom and sister and even dog are nice and all, but feeling void. Starting to think about friends at home and what it will be like to reintegrate with them. Realizing that they missed out on some fun here at home. Wanting to fall right back in with local friends, while also comparing them to farmer friends. Not easy.

Day 4 – Mom and dad speak up. While understanding how they feel, as I recognize so many of their feelings from when I was 15, it’s time to focus here. As Longacre encourages, “be in the moment”. We encouraged them to make contact with local friends, get that first maybe awkward connection over with. Encouraged them to stop snapchatting all their Longacre friends. Take a step back. Encouraged them to find a fun activity, keep busy. Figuring the more they lie around bored, the worse they will feel.

Day 5 – Making progress. Out on the golf course, saw a couple friends, caught up on sleep. Would probably still jump in the car if I offered to drive them to central PA, but I won’t offer, because I really love having them home. 

What has re-entry been like for your family? Have you learned anything you'd like to share? If so we'd love to read it.

I hope you are enjoying the rest of your summer.