Boomeresque:Definition
1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

First Day of College — First Day of the Empty Nest

by Suzanne Fluhr on August 26, 2013 · 61 comments

I’m starting to see newspaper articles (yes, I still read those) about colleges and universities welcoming students for the fall semester. My husband, Steve, and I have already launched our two sons and they are both gainfully employed college graduates (saints be praised!). But, with the smell of fall in the air, there are still memories of first days of school. Today, I’m sharing another essay I had printed in The Philadelphia Inquirer on August 31, 2006.This one is about dropping our younger son off for his first semester at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

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At the supermarket, I breezed past the sports drink aisle. There was no guessing about which color drink I needed to bring home for any teenage boys. I sashayed down the cereal aisle without worrying if any earth mothers were giving me the Evil Eye as I reached for the Froot Loops; I was only buying some nutritionally correct whole grain cereal for my husband. The frozen food aisle was also a cinch, with no concerns about what type of mini-pizzas to buy or whether they had run out of turkey dinners, the ones with mashed potatoes, not stuffing.

Once home, I put away the groceries. No one walked in, opened the refrigerator, and stood there cooling the universe while complaining that, even though I had just spent $200, there was “nothing to eat” and why did I buy “that color” Gatorade. As I left the kitchen without having to defend my purchases, I noticed the pencil marks going up the wall, recording when each of our two sons exceeded my height, and then their father’s.

As I drove past our neighborhood elementary school that day, I flashed back to when I used to drive by with our younger son strapped into his car seat. Each time, he asked me when it would be his turn to go to the “big kids’ school.” Last week, my husband and I delivered him to the real “big kids’ school,” the University of Miami.

Unlike many of his classmates, our son did not seem to suffer much angst about where to apply to college. He applied for an early decision to the University of Miami, as it met all his criteria for an institution of higher learning. It doesn’t snow there, he didn’t have to take the SAT II, and he could submit an essay he had already written in English class for the application.

Lake Osceola on the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, Florida

Lake Osceola on the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, Florida (Photo: Dr. Zak, Wikimedia Commons)

I could not help but compare the lushly landscaped campus, including fountains, with the small, isolated, often frozen New England college his father and I attended. I am certain he can expect more February parental visits than his older brother received at Penn State. The university treated us to a “free” lunch in our son’s cafeteria. However, the tuition bill was an excellent reminder that there really is no such thing as a “free lunch.” There was a plethora of food choices and none of the fried mystery shapes I remember as college cafeteria fare.

As a graduate of a large high school in a Philadelphia suburb, our son had admitted to some apprehension about meeting his roommate, the valedictorian of a 12-person graduating class at a private day school on one of the Florida Keys. Based on our son’s pronouncement that his roommate is “chilled,” I think they’ll do fine. When we left, they were collaboratively figuring out the best way to configure the power sources for their myriad electronic devices. Moving into my first dorm room was so much easier. I didn’t need a plug for my manual typewriter.

My maternal antennae did notice that University of Miami sports teams are the Hurricanes, and there are hurricane shutters on our son’s dorm room window. I was somewhat comforted when university president Donna Shalala assured us she had consulted the president of Tulane University in Louisiana, and her university’s emergency plan has no contingency for counting on the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Department of Homeland Security.

President Shalala also tried to allay any parental separation jitters by informing us that we were leaving our most “prized possessions” in good hands. I can’t say I ever thought of my son as a possession – “possessed,” at times, during his Terrible Twos, but definitely not a possession.

As my husband, the dog and I adjust to our empty nest, we wish our son Godspeed as he enters this new phase of his life.

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The brothers. (White tie is the groom).

Epilogue: So, the boy did indeed graduate from the University of Miami in 2o1o with a major in exercise physiology right about the time Mom and Dad downsized to a two bedroom apartment in Center City Philadelphia. He briefly boomeranged to a futon in our home office for about three months before deciding that he really, really did not want to spend the winter 1) anywhere with a possibility of snow and 2) sleeping on a futon. So, he decamped back to the Sunshine State, to South Beach in Miami. Like so many of his generation, he became what I call a “slasher”. That is, he supports himself as a promotional marketer/web content maven/translation service website creator/resume provider/travel blogger — and I believe I’ve omitted a few. This is not a case of a son following in his mother’s footsteps. He was a travel blogger first and then encouraged me to start travel blogging, “Mom, you like to write and you like to travel. This is perfect for you.” He  is also responsible for us moving down the hall to a three bedroom apartment. “Mom, you need a guest room. You’re the matriarch of the family now.” (Unspoken: “Mom, I don’t like sleeping on a futon when I visit.”) In May, he stopped home to be best man at his big brother’s wedding and then took off for six months of travel. He is currently in Viet Nam. You can keep up with him at The World or Bust

2015 Update: The boy sold his South Beach condo and is now a bona fide location independent digital nomad. Maybe I would have been one if the internet had been invented when I was his age. 😉

Do you have any memories to share about the start of the school year or of the day your nest emptied?

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Robin August 26, 2013 at 5:36 am

After reading this, I really do get the sense of what it’s like to be a happy empty nester; happy that your sons are living their lives exactly as they have intended and not what you expect them to be doing. It’s wonderful that they’ve remained close (I’m assuming they are since one was his brother’s best man). You seem to have imparted that doing what makes you happy is important in life. And being an empty nester is just another stage in life to be walked into with pride. When you write about going shopping to fill up the refrigerator with the things your boys eat, it is a clue that though they are no longer living there, when they come home, the place will be just as they left it and they are welcome with open arms. “Empty Nester” doesn’t at all have the ring of a quiet, sad and lonely place to be.

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 26, 2013 at 2:29 pm

We are content empty nesters. I’m not sure both boys are “living their lives exactly as they have intended”, but they are living them as responsible adults. One is a little more traditional than the other. (Can you guess which one?) I’m also not sure our message to them was exactly “doing what makes you happy is important in life.” They both looked at our careers and opted to stay far away from medicine and law. “You guys work too much and are stressed out.” Maybe we taught by un-example although Steve still can’t quite believe that they pay him to do what he wants to be doing (most of the time. Grant writing — not so much). One thing we did model (we hope) is the importance of family (nuclear and extended) relationships. Empty-nestdom is another stage in life and it is healthiest to find a way to embrace it.

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avatar Leora August 26, 2013 at 8:21 am

Not even close to empty nest here, as eldest starts second year of college and youngest will do 6th grade (11th grade for middle son).

My mother’s painting teacher went to Viet Nam, and when she returned, she did some wonderfully inspired paintings. I heard it is beautiful there. Not on my travel list – I will be happy to see the Grand Canyon (and more of the Rockies) and to return to Maine and NH. Unlike your son, I like the cold.

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Yep. Leora, you have a ways to go until empty nestdom, but you have dropped off a child for the first day of college, so you know that kind of launching (while hoping for the best) feeling.

I think one could travel in the U.S. for many years without feeling like one has seen everything. Like you, I like the idea of returning to revisit places I enjoyed and found beautiful. Steve, however, is of the opinion that one should head out to see new things. On the other hand, he loves returning to Brigantine every summer.

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avatar Roz Warren August 26, 2013 at 9:01 am

Good essay! I love my empty nest, as long as my son (and his wife and their Bichons) return to visit me often.

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

How are you doing with their planned move across the country? We visited the family of one of Steve’s Argentine trainees in Buenos Aires. They had their 3 children dispersed on three different continents outside South America. I really felt for them. I’d prefer not needing a passport to visit our offspring. In today’s global world, there are increasing odds that families may be separated by many miles—although there’s always Skype.

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avatar Madaline Fluhr August 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

In acting school you are trained to re-call details of a place and time to bring feelings to life in a scene, to serve the current moment. Well, you probably weren’t weeping when you chose the Gatorade, but this piece certainly brings a tear to my eye!! There is something about your particularity (color of gatorade, cereal choice) that reminds us of our love for our children and how darn fleeting it all is!! The banality of the quotidian illuminating life’s universals! (love, connection, etc.) On another level, my husband and I are raising a Special Needs daughter (an only child), currently almost 15, and I have to admit, it is terrifying hoping to be able to map out an adult life for her that is safe and enriching. Thankfully, her current life is both of those things! Our nest will never be truly empty – maybe emptyish! because we will be doing her a disservice if we don’t get her situated happily and elsewhere while we are still around to help her make that transition. If it takes a village to raise a child – perhaps more so, a special needs child. We count you as an upstanding citizen of our village! Thank you for being a caring aunt.

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Mads, you write so well — even in a blog comment. You should consider a blog about your journey. It would probably be helpful for many people confronting some of the same challenges as your family. You could do this in your free time –;-)

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avatar Cathy Sweeney August 26, 2013 at 11:38 am

I’ve never sent kids off to college, but the start of a school year always brings back memories of my own school days — starting the first grade, high school, college. Enjoyed reading your story. Nice looking sons, by the way!

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

As I age, I do find myself remembering milestones in my own life and our children’s lives. Meanwhile, I’m also trying to forge new memories for when I’m even older!

I have to admit that people sometimes look at my husband and me and I can see them wondering if our sons were adopted. 😉

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avatar Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) August 26, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Sounds like a son any mother could be proud of! I’m always so thrilled to hear the stories of parents who nurtured their children to be independent and independent thinkers. Oddly, it seems more rare these days. Nicely done

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm

We did at least try to raise the boys to learn self sufficiency. They both cooked and did their own laundry once they were in high school. At the time, they complained that they were “… the only children in Lower Merion Township who had to cook and do laundry.” When each returned home for Thanksgiving their freshman years, he reported, with some surprise, that many of his fellow dorm mates did not know how to do either. I would love to take credit for the fact that they both seem to be managing out in the world so far, but I subscribe to the theory that other than horrendous parenting or truly superlative parenting (and I’m not even sure what that is), our children emerge from the womb with much of their personalities already there, and we just try to keep them from falling off cliffs while we have “command and control”. I don’t mean to downplay the importance of family life, routine and security. We demanded that we all sit down for dinner together most nights—even when they spent the entire meal arguing with each other, causing my husband and I to sometimes say to each other, “And we’re doing this because…….?”

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avatar Robin August 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm

It builds character to have children share in the chores. And now in adulthood, they already know what to do. I love a man who can cook!

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avatar noel morata August 26, 2013 at 5:43 pm

It’s nice to finally have some free time to explore your interests like traveling…I’m sure the son’s like to have a 3rd bedroom for any layovers or short visits to 🙂

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm

We are grateful that, at the moment, we have the time and a life situation that enables us to take advantage of travel opportunities. As Baby Boomers, we are old enough to know that life and health can be fleeting.

Whenever I tell our younger son that we’re off somewhere — he says, “You guys travel soooo much” —- yet he’s the travel blogger who just arrived in Viet Nam from Thailand which he flew to from Belgrade (Serbia) after spending time in the Azores; Romania; Slovakia; Croatia; Slovenia and Bosnia — and he thinks WE travel a lot 😉

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avatar Mike August 27, 2013 at 3:16 am

What a fantastic essay, Suzanne! I absolutely loved reading this. One part that made me laugh hard was, “Why did I buy that color of Gatorade?” I can soooo relate. You and Steve obviously did a wonderful parenting job of raising those two handsome young men on their way to great successes in life! And I’m so glad your son steered you and encouraged you into blogging because years later now I met a fantastic new blogger friend! 🙂 I don’t have any biped kids so I don’t have any memories to share there. And as far as first days go for me. The only thing that popped into my head was having moved to Reno and only knowing my grandmother, aunt and uncle. Then my first day at the University of Nevada, Reno 30 years ago and knowing absolutely no one. It was a daunting feeling. But, that quickly passed 🙂

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 27, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Thanks, Mike. I’m always happy to learn that a post at least made someone smile. If you laughed out loud—even better.

Did you stay in Reno ever since college?

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avatar Mike August 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Hi Suzanne, I didn’t finish college and based on my career path now at 25 years that worked out ok. But, I’m always open to going back and finishing someday. We’ll see. Yes, I’ve been in Reno since 1982 🙂

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm

At this point, you could go back just because you like to learn without worrying about career utility. I’m glad I attended college when people thought a solid liberal arts degree was worthwhile. You’d probably enjoy a creative writing course.

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avatar Catarina August 27, 2013 at 7:23 am

Glad your sons are doing so well, Suzanne!! You must be proud of them. And on top of it they had a positive impact on you.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I think it’s difficult to raise children without the experience having a massive impact–sometimes positive–sometimes, less so. In other words, they’re humans, just like us.

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avatar Arleen August 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I am an empty nested and I have to say I am loving it. It is now my husband, my dog and myself. I love my children and grandchildren but I enjoy our quiet time. I do see them often so that helps. You have good looking children and you can be very proud of them as they are successful in their own rights but had to have the good foundation of you and your husband. You can say a job well done.

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 27, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Thanks, Arlene. We have a dog too. My son insisted we get one just as he was starting his senior year in high school and I was transitioning to working at home. Maybe he didn’t want us to be lonely after he was gone.

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avatar Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm

There was not one particular day that our nest emptied…it happened gradually, and the first day of college was just one step in a process that had started long before for each of our children. Our daughter lived away from our home for 14 months preceding high school graduation, because she was very ill and had a long recovery. Starting when he was about 10, our son spent huge chunks of every summer away, as a camper, then counselor, at a horse camp and then in dance intensives even further away. Looking back, I think that for me at least, our nest was empty of our daughter when I realized that our home was no longer her home, i.e., the place to which s/he automatically returned during school and holiday vacations. That realization came four years ago when, at 29, she married and started making her own family. With our son, now 28, I’m not sure that has happened yet. He has lived in New York City since he left to go to college, at age 17, and he has a wonderful life there, but he still automatically comes home each Christmas and for important family events. And each child contributed to our nest never feeling empty by contriving, in turn, to have us rescue one of the two dogs that now fill it (along with whichever humans are here)!

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Thanks for your comment, Leslie. I think I felt that our nest had “officially” emptied when each of our sons was finished with college, working and paying their own rent (now mortgages) apart from us — even though they like to get together with the extended family for holidays when possible. As Jeremy said, I’m the “matriarch of the family now.” I’m the oldest of three sisters and our home, it seems, has always been family party central. Our older (29 year old) son now has a wife, a house and a cat — I think we can consider him fully launched. My poor parents didn’t get to have an empty nest for very long. When the last of us finally left (and stayed gone), my paternal grandmother moved in with my parents for 7 years. My father was an only child and my mother is a saint. She lives in a retirement community, insisting that she doesn’t want us to have to do what she did — but we will, when/if the time comes.

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avatar Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm

P.S. I just spent a lively half-hour reading posts on your son Jeremy’s blog…what fun! I will return there often. (I can tell he’s related to you…bright and witty!)

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Leslie– That is very sweet of you to say. However, I hope you don’t think I taught him those naughty words!

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avatar Michele Harvey Author August 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm

My younger son just started college in Colorado. Before starting school, he invited me to relocate so that we could live in the same town, although he had plans to live in a dorm. He spent the past several years living with his dad in the Florida Keys. Since I am not a fan of hot weather, we saw each other fairly often, but not without an airline ticket involved. We agreed that with my work as a writer and author, I could live anywhere, and that it would be nice to see one another more spontaneously, without the need to hop on a plane. I am blessed to have a college student who is independent, yet wants to live in the same town as his mom.

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

That is quite a tribute to your relationship — and he will benefit by having access to the occasional home cooked meal and a place to do his laundry.

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avatar Susan Cooper August 28, 2013 at 12:25 am

Your opening paragraph brought a smile to my face. There is something to be said about the feelings you feel when you become an empty nester. You and your husband have done a wonderful job when your son doesn’t want to futon surf for to long. 🙂

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 28, 2013 at 12:35 am

Thanks, Susan. Maybe the key to successful empty nesting is to have a really uncomfortable mattress in the boomerangue room. In addition to hating snow and hating our futon, I think our son also had no desire to be sucked back into a Mommy, Daddy, dog, offspring relationship with us after having lived on his own and traveled extensively.

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avatar Debra Yearwood August 28, 2013 at 12:38 am

Leaving for university is still a few years off in our home so reading this was a great reminder to me to enjoy the kids while I have them around. Mine are still cooling the universe with the fridge and complaining about the color of Gatorade I purchased. I hope their transition to university goes as smoothly as your son’s did.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 28, 2013 at 1:42 am

Debra–I left out some of the less smooth bits. 😉 I think he may read my blog from time to time. The important thing to me is that he came out the other end a wiser, more mature human being. Seriously, with all the kids cooling the universe while contemplating the contents of their family’s “empty” full refrigerator, you would think we’d have a better handle on global warming. 😉

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avatar Ashley August 28, 2013 at 4:25 am

Hey Suzanne, quite an interesting story for someone with no kids but living on another continent to my parents. These days are definitely more complex for a family with kids travelling so much, and living in different places. I only get to see my parents once a year. And that was just recently.

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm

The new global village is kind of a two edged sword. On one hand, families can end up flung apart all over the world. On the other hand, with new electronic media, people can keep up with each other in more or less real time. When I studied in Colombia and my parents were in the US, our only contact was letters that sometimes took two weeks to be delivered—if they were at all. I know I date myself, but Skype is still a thrill for me. Unfortunately, an electronic hug is no substitute for the real thing.

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avatar Joanne August 28, 2013 at 7:59 am

Oh my goodness, I was nearly in tears in the first couple of paragraphs. I got one in High School and another entering next year. It sounds soooo lonely. I’m praying they go to school within driving distance.

I loved reading the Epilogue. I see your kids are adjusting fine – I would have love to hear if you and your husband adjusted 🙂

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm

My husband and I did not have much trouble adjusting at all. I suspect that in the grand scheme of things, it is purposeful that teenagers can be so trying. That way, when they leave home, it’s somewhat of a relief. We also adopted our dog the year before our younger son left home at his urging. Maybe it was his way of making sure we’d still have something to nurture when he was gone. Also, today, with electronic media like email and skype, one can stay in touch in real time. Our younger son called just about every day as he walked to class or stood in line in the grocery store. Our older son — not so much. The older one is also the one I sent away to overnight camp with 8 self-addressed stamped envelopes and he returned home 8 weeks later with 7 of them. He only sent the one “note” because they were required to send a letter home to get into dinner the first night. Do you find that your children are very different from each other?

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avatar Carol Covin August 28, 2013 at 10:45 am

The 12 hours from Texas to Michigan State were too far for my parents to drive me, so I took the train, scheduled to change in Chicago. But, it was late getting in, my train had already left, so I dragged my heavy suitcase (no wheels back then) to the bus station a couple miles away. We arrived in East Lansing after midnight and the bus station was dark. While I was calling a cab, a man who had gotten off the bus with me, overhearing that I was going to campus, offered to share a cab with me. Out of fear, a young, single girl alone at midnight at a closed bus station, I declined. He backed off. I saw later, from the tag on his suitcase, that he was Reverend… When I got to my dorm, it was locked. I rang the bell and the Resident Advisor let me in, yelling at me about coming in after hours. I must have looked dumbstruck. “Where are you from?” she finally asked. “Texas.” “And, you’ve been traveling all day?” “Yes.” “Let’s get you to a room; we can talk tomorrow.” My dime didn’t work in the pay phone. I’d promised my parents I would call when I got there and I knew they’d be worried. Someone on the floor let me exchange dimes with her. By the time I finally reached my parents, I was sobbing. “I’m here. I’m OK. Don’t worry about the fact that I’m crying. I’m safe. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” Imagine receiving that call.

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avatar Robin August 28, 2013 at 11:01 am

Nice to hear the other side of the coin. Letting go and starting anew is a difficult but necessary task for everyone.

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Carol—what a harrowing start to your life away from home! My husband also started his college life on a greyhound bus, but it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as what happened to you. But, as they say, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” — or having to pay for years of therapy. 😉

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avatar Elizabeth Scott August 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm

My oldest son is in highschool and within a couple years will be going to college. I still have two younger children so my nest will not be empty for many years. I do not know how I am going to feel about dropping my youngest daughter off at college. I will probably cry like I did when dropping her off for Kindergarten.

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm

My mother cried when she dropped me off for kindergarten and when she walked me to the bus stop for my first day of high school. I was the oldest of three. Our boys were not the most pleasant of teenagers, so I think we were all ready to move on to the next phase by the time college rolled around. Then, they both came out the other end, much nicer — possibly because they realized that we were not quite as “lame” as they thought after they had been out in the world awhile.

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avatar Patti August 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm

When we took Dustin to Georgetown we spent 10 days in D.C. having fun and getting him moved in and settled. When we boarded our flight back to CA – I cried all the way across country. Seriously. I did. The flight attendant asked me if everything was okay and when I explained she practically started to cry and said her son was only 8 but she was already worrying about dropping him off at college. He graduated Georgetown, moved back to the west coast to attend UCLA Law School. He is now living and working in D.C. My next move will be east!

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avatar Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 28, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Patti– I am seriously wondering if there is something wrong with me. I didn’t cry when I left our sons at college. I was proud of them, but not sad. At the moment, our older son and his wife live in the same city we do. I hope that is still the case if we are blessed with grandchildren.

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avatar Niekka McDonald August 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm

First of all you have very handsome sons. I absolutely love this story! I felt like I was there with you. My youngest is not in college yet but I do see the difference in the grocery buying now that my oldest is an adult. I have also heard that once the kids are grown downsizing is the best thing lol.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Thanks, Niekka. I highly recommend downsizing—depending I guess on how up sized you are now. I felt like my husband, the dog and I were rattling around “this old house”, so when a friend of a neighbor called one day or ofthe blue and offered to buy it—even though it wasn’t for sale, that kind of made the derision for us —- well, for me anyway. My husband was kind of in shock when we had a signed agreement of sale in hand the following week

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avatar Jeri August 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I’ve never sent kids off to college, but I’ve been a teacher on the first day of school ten different times. The new year always starts off with so many possibilities.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 30, 2013 at 7:19 am

Jeri–That’s how I used to feel on the first day of school every year. I guess I liked school mostly 🙂

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avatar Alison @ Diamond-Cut Life August 30, 2013 at 9:12 am

Great piece, Suzanne. And these days it is impressive to have truly launched two young adults into the world. Even if they are slashers, and even if they insisted you maintain a guest room. Seriously, they sound like good kids.

My husband and I, while boomers, are the opposite of empty nesters. While we don’t have kids, that’s only because we met too late. We love young people (and people in general), and love to host (fortunately our house has lots of rooms). So we cultivate a stream of visitors, currently our thirtysomething former neighbors. In the autumn we’ll have Peruvian visitors through the World Affairs Council program.

Again, congratulations on launching your boys and succeeding in becoming empty nesters. If either of your sons ever lands in Portland Oregon, give me a heads up. One of our guest rooms may be open.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Actually, only one of them is a world traveling slasher. The other (the older brother) is a project manager for clinical trials at the U. of Pennsylvania and is married with a cat. The two brothers have very different personalities. They don’t exactly “get” each other, but I hope they have each others’ backs when the chips are down. If I ever hear that either is heading for Portland, I’ll definitely let them know about your offer. The younger one has done some “couch surfing” in his travels and has put up other couch surfers in Miami. I should look into the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia. I’m all about the global village.

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avatar Jan Durlacher August 30, 2013 at 10:40 am

I just took my youngest to college two days ago and although he is going to school 10 minutes from home, he is living there and is going to be in the “Haverford Bubble”. I was really looking forward to being an empty nester but I have been feeling quite sad, especially this morning when I came downstairs and all I can say is that I miss my sweet son’s face. I know this too shall pass but maybe a parent’s rite of passage is to reflect on all the memories. He had some major medical problems at birth and we saw him through three major surgeries as an infant. He is totally fine but there was a time when I wondered whether he would be OK. I’m just letting the tears flow and I’m grateful that he is not so far away even though it feels that way for now.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Jan, those first few days of empty nestdom is a bit of an adjustment, but with your son 10 minutes away, I suspect he and his laundry will be visiting from time to time—not to mention showing up for a home cooked meal during exam time. Congratulations to him (and you) on his acceptance to Haverford. From what I hear, that’s quite competitive these days. 🙂

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avatar krystle cook August 31, 2013 at 10:56 am

It will def be a different time when my boys go off to college. Having an empty nest must be strange at times. You are used to them being there all of the time and then bam they are gone. It must be so weird.

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) September 2, 2013 at 12:44 am

I might be “misremembering”, but O don’t remember it seeming so weird. They had been to overnight camp before. Also, when our first son started college, we still had his brother living at home for 4 years. The second son would call me at least once a day–sometimes only to ask me a Spanish grammar question. I think this helped with the transition.

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avatar Becc September 1, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Oh wow. My son is only about to start kindergarten next year. I cannot imagine being at that point in the future where I look back now as I drop him off at university. That is so cool and yet so surreal for me 🙂

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) September 2, 2013 at 12:46 am

Becc, it’s waaay too soon for you to stay pre-worrying about being an empty nester. Give yourself a break!

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avatar Ice Scream Mama June 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Aww! Just the thought of not figuring out the color gatorade or what crap cereal to buy makes me weepy, even though I’ve got some time here!! Looks like two fine boys and a job well done.

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avatar Holly {ha! designs} August 25, 2015 at 10:23 am

Thanks for linking to this wonderful post in your challenge result! I LOVED every word and expression! It’s funny… my daughter also plans on majoring in Exercise Physiology/Kinesiology, with the plan of becoming a physical therapist. She would like to be a physical therapist specifically for a dance company as she is a dancer and has had the opportunity to dance with American Ballet Theater and Joffrey Ballet School during summer intensives. It will be an adventure to watch as she grows and to see what she really ends up doing!

Thanks again for this lovely piece… it resonated with me! (Also… your sons are very handsome!)

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