my age are currently experiencing empty nest syndrome/euphoria as
they send their children off to college in hopes that, someday,
their "babies" will graduate and come back home to pick up all of
the junk they left crammed under their beds.
For my wife and me, this condition is more like multiple nest disorder-
since we still have two kids at home after moving our eldest and
most expensive daughter into a lavish four-bedroom college townhome
festooned with all of the latest overpriced swag from Urban Outfitters.
The ordeal of moving our daughter into her new "crib" actually started
last spring, when she began stockpiling unknown merchandise in massive
shipping boxes that were specifically designed to give me a hernia.
Then came moving day, when we packed enough clothing, linens, electronics,
decorative string lights, salt lamps, cosmetics, and a few uncomfortable
humans into our vehicles to make another bad reboot of "The Beverly
Hillbillies." We were only able to salvage a minimal level of coolness
thanks to the chassis of our beleaguered 2013 Ford Expedition sitting
so close to the ground that I felt compelled to play that "Lowrider"
song on repeat throughout the 3 ½-hour trip.
When we arrived at the townhome, I was actually excited by the prospect
of finally using the hand truck that my dad gifted to me out of
pity sometime in the early twenty-teens. Thank goodness my daughter's
bedroom is only up one flight of incredibly narrow stairs!
Once we had transported all of the cargo upstairs and I had said
a brief prayer requesting a new spinal column, my wife and daughter
began organizing clothing while I was tasked with putting stuff
together and hanging other stuff on walls.
One of my greatest fears has always been the combination of an Allen
wrench and the phrase "some assembly required." But after only three
attempts, I did manage to construct a three-tier shoe rack for storing
enough designer footwear to support a full season of "Project Runway."
I then continued the assault on my lumbar region by attaching a
never-ending adhesive strip of LED lights across the top of the
bedroom walls. When I was finished and the multi-colored lights
began flashing, I expected the Village People to burst through the
bathroom door for an encore of "Y.M.C.A." at any moment.
And speaking of the Village People, my next job was to hang some
vinyl record albums on the wall for decoration. When I suggested
that my daughter might actually want to listen to the records sometime,
she just patted me on the head Benny Hill-style, and said, "Sure,
After the room was finished and my daughter's Wi-Fi life-support
system was fully operational, we all went downstairs, had a good
cry, smothered our sorrows with some enormous slices of homemade
pound cake, had another good cry, and said our goodbyes.
Although I felt like I left a little chunk of my heart (and a few
vertebrae) in that townhouse when we drove away, my daughter does
stay in regular contact with us. Along with "Facetiming" us most
evenings to report on dates she has taken with our credit cards
to concerts, restaurants, and Target, she occasionally calls us
to address typical college-student household issues like
trying to convince us that fitted sheets were invented by the Taliban.
Oh, and she is trying to carve out a little time for classes and
Now that she's out of the nest sort of I'm just looking
forward to the day when she comes back home after graduation to
pick up all of that junk she left crammed under her bed.