This morning was a good example of what my friend calls “re-entry.” Just as a spaceship re-entering the atmosphere after a journey into space travels through some potentially dangerous conditions, families trying to get back to the routine after being on vacation often experience some adverse responses. Just this morning, I woke up tired and wanting more sleep, and soon after getting up saw that my children resonated my initial state of mind. Their comments echoed this: “I went to bed at 9 but couldn’t fall asleep until like 11:30 pm!” “I’m toooo tired!” When I reminded a child to clear his plate, he responded, “I hate that phrase [“We must clean up before moving on.”]!” “I hate rain!” “I hate music lessons!”
You might have guessed that the last three came from the child who really didn’t not want to do anything but stay on the couch to which he moved straight from his bed. At first he said he wasn’t going to eat breakfast because he felt sick. Then he moved to the counter after my gentle persuasion (=“You have 10 seconds to come to the counter.”). Then he drank the apple juice I poured him but refused to eat anything else. Then when I said we were heading to the car and he’d better throw a coat over his pajamas, he headed to get dressed. As you can guess, we were late for piano. Someone was stomping through the rain all the way to the car.
Speaking from experience, I am guessing that tonight is going to be akin to this morning, when tired minds and bodies manifest themselves in more grumpiness, just when it’s time to sit down for dinner, have Family Night, and go to bed. I’m praying that I can have a little extra patience from 5-8, until I can get those tired children tucked back into bed!
Knowing about re-entry really helps me to just keep traveling through the day without giving too much attention to the normal “junk” behavior. I can try to be positive and cheerful or simply bite my tongue, whichever I need. Trying to have a sense of humor also helps. (Lane is better at this than I am.) I can use my oldest son’s funny “Settle down, Sparky” line to get a child to smile if I need it, or tickle a child if they aren’t on the edge of crying.
Knowing what I need to do on Mondays (my laundry, driving a child to golf, dinner, FHE lesson and treat support) also helps keep me on track to be able to keep moving forward in the face plenty of distraction: mounds of suitcases, games, cooler, books, and other messiness all around. I avoid getting overwhelmed by putting one foot in front of the other and doing one thing at a time.
The thing that really helped me this morning was laying in bed in the dark, listening to a conference talk on Lane’s smart phone. I heard Bishop Davies tell about experiencing the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, and how we make it through rough times in our lives by building upon the strong foundation of Christ. As I listened, I remembered that particular earthquake and how my family got through it, and how the Lord helped me individually as I was filled with worry, not knowing how my family was surviving. During my morning prayer, I considered how I can put my hand in the Lord’s today and how He promised me to be there at my side through every step of the way, even when I feel tired and unprepared for all that is ahead. After getting up from my knees, I really did feel encouraged to move forward, knowing that He would be there. That’s how I’m going to face re-entry and my work and tired children today: with Him at my side.