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Senior moments: Settling into life in an ‘empty nest’
Rich DeLong

If you are a regular reader of this column then you already understand my contempt for moving. I barely survived our most recent move and my recovery is slow, but I will have to admit I am improving. Most of you probably have similar feelings when it comes right down to it. But there’s a different kind of feeling one gets when moving a child off to college. It’s a mix of emotions for sure.

There’s the happy side of me knowing I’m going to have uninterrupted bathroom time and less people to pick-up after. Then there’s my sad side of realizing my baby girl is no longer a baby. Butterfly kisses and evening hugs are now in the past.

No one said parenting was ever going to be easy, and truthfully Jennifer and I are blessed to have two wonderful girls. I remarked just the other day that five weeks ago we were all living under the same roof. I guess they call this the “empty- nest” syndrome.

Sydney, our youngest, moved into the dormitory of Georgia Southern this past weekend — along with 600 other girls who are entering their freshman year and desiring to experience the “Greek life” on campus. College students who are interested in Greek life typically go through a ritual called rush. Rush is a series of social events and gatherings that allow prospective and current fraternity or sorority members to get to know each other. I never saw so many curling irons and hair dryers all in one place before. It was a beauty salon nightmare.

Now I know why the economy is doing so well. Every girl that goes to college brings pretty much the same stuff (everything they have ever owned in life) and tries to cram it into this little cubicle they call a room. Not to mention that every mom wants to make sure their little girl has enough clothes for the next four years. It washard to complain about the experience, however,because there were 600 other fathers going through the same motions.

I was more concerned about making sure Sydney had a plunger and a tool kit. I may be a little too practical, but when four girls are sharing a bathroom you can bet that a plunger will be what they reach for first. Now the only trick is making sure they know how to use it.

I was never interested in fraternity life as a college kid. I was still trying to figure out my own life let alone try to adjust to another way of life. I basically went to college to meet girls. Wow, that’s a real good plan for life, huh?

Of course, who would have thought that I would end up marrying my pre-school sweetheart? Yesterday was our 31st wedding anniversary. Now before you get all misty-eyed, I have to clarify that Jennifer and I did meet in pre-school – as teachers, but it’s still a good story.

And to all my high school buddies who were in our wedding and said it wouldn’t last — I’m just as amazed as y’all are. Truthfully, if Jennifer wasn’t such a forgiving and understanding person, we never would have made it. But she’s an adventurer so I guess I was exactly what she needed.

Life is full of adventures. Sydney is just starting to set her course for what may lie ahead. And my guess is she will have to adjust the sails every-so-often to either stay on point or chart a new path. And I imagine Jennifer and I will do the same.

As Mr. Sinatra says my friends, “This big old world, it keeps spinning around!”

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