Our first full week as empty nesters taught The Husband and I a very important lesson: We need food to survive.
A few days after we arrived home from dropping off our daughter (and youngest child) at Texas Tech to begin her freshman year I received this text message.
Hubby: “I tried to make a BLT for lunch, but we didn’t have any lettuce or tomatoes. I had to use ketchup. I think we need to go to the store.”
(Insert wide-eyed emoji.)
After arriving home that evening I started making a list of things we needed. Noticeably missing from our refrigerator were milk, juice, fresh fruit and produce - anything of nutritional value.
We did, however, have plenty of wine and cheese. And just so I don’t look like a complete failure as the CEO of my household, we also had a half-eaten container of hummus.
Aside from the food shortage, becoming empty nesters has been pretty ok.
Weeks before Brooke headed to college, I fielded a slew of messages from well-meaning friends who warned me that when the time came for her to leave, I would be overcome with raw emotion.
“It’s going to be hard,” I was told. “You might even get depressed.”
As we shopped for her dorm room and began the long process of packing, I waited for the urge to curl up into the fetal position and cry.
It never came.
Every moment when tears would have been in order, my eyes remained as dry as a head of hair that’s been freshly permed.
Soon I began to wonder if I was missing a sensitivity chip. What kind of mother doesn’t fall apart when her baby leaves the nest?
Then it hit me.
I wasn’t sad because there was too much to be happy about.
Every time I looked into Brooke’s eyes they sparkled with excitement.
She was ready to head to college and was looking forward to the new adventure - and The Husband and I were looking forward to ours.
On the day we left her in Lubbock I felt a slight moment of panic as we said our goodbyes.
“Where’s the mace I bought you?”
“In my dorm,” she said.
”Keep it with you at all times.”
I watched her hug her dad.
Then it was my turn.
We hugged. Tightly. And we both had a 30 second ugly girl cry.
Then she turned and walked back to her dorm room and we got into the car to head home.
For the next several minutes I snorted out a couple of pitiful sobs while The Husband stared stoically ahead, fearful that if he looked at me I would fall apart.
The tears were short-lived and what I assume is a right of passage for all mothers whose youngest child leaves home.
Since then empty nesting has been full of dinners with friends, little to no laundry, time to do whatever we want and lots of calls to our three kids who happen to be spread across the state of Texas.
This weekend we are traveling with friends to Lake Charles to watch the Tarleton Texans in their first football game of the season.
This empty nesting thing is definitely not over-rated.
We may be hungry, but we are having a lot of fun.
Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the E-T. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ETEditor.