It’s quiet. For a change, the bed is made, the bathroom remarkably clean, the refrigerator well stocked; crackers, chips and nuts are available in abundance, despite fewer trips to the grocery store. Our car is full of gas most of the time and we can now locate where it is parked without hunting around the streets of our neighborhood, repeatedly pressing the key fob for that elusive chirp. Weekend plans can be made without synching schedules.

Does all this bring my wife and I abundant joy?

Not necessarily; it’s a decidedly mixed bag. It was seemingly only just a few years ago that he was a little tyke holding hands with his mother while heading to his first day of pre-kindergarten. Now our son has flown the coop and is off to college, leaving us a house even more empty than we had imagined. Over the years we were told by other parents to enjoy the time together while you can, because time flies when you’re raising a kid. That was great advice and now something we’ve experienced first-hand.

A couple of weeks ago we loaded a substantial amount of paraphernalia into our Toyota Highlander and drove our son out to Worcester, MA (local pronunciation Woostahh) to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he’s aiming to get a degree in aeronautical engineering. Maybe it was all the exercise required to hoof all the stuff up the stairs to his dorm room or the buildup for the big day, but once we got him settled in his room and met his roommate, we had a pretty civilized and surprisingly unemotional goodbye (though the car ride home was a little quiet). I’m sure like many empty nesters, now we wait and hope for more news as to how college is going, and in the meantime try to adjust to our emptier home.

First year WPI
Gearing up for first year at Worcester Polytech.
Tom Fletcher WPI
Tom and his son at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
By Thomas Fletcher CFP® Chief Investment Officer Read More