The Perks of Being an Empty Nester

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Six thousand, five hundred and twenty-one days: That’s how long I’d been living with my son when he left home for college. I’d spooned applesauce into his gummy mouth when he was a baby. I’d watched him wobble down the street on training wheels when he was a preschooler. I’d learned to rise on tiptoes to kiss his stubbled cheek when he was a teenager.

For nearly 18 years, I’d been there for the big moments and the daily nothings. I’d fretted about him and had fun with him. While he wasn’t my only focus in life, he took up a big front-and-center chunk.

We knew well in advance he’d be leaving. My husband and I live in a small town. With aspirations to attend college, our son had no choice but to pack up after high school. On Labor Day weekend 2016, we drove four hours to deliver him to campus.

I expected to cry. Surprisingly, I didn’t.