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Surviving Empty Nest Syndrome: A Mom’s Journey Dropping Her Sons Off at College

Three days and counting…


Today it hit me. My husband and I will be “empty nesters” very soon. I was fairly calm until I realized that my youngest still needed to buy a few more things like a larger suitcase, a beard trimmer, and socks. Yes, socks. Finding the perfect socks has become somewhat of a mission. Even my oldest has helped his brother in this endeavor. We are down to t-minus three days, and my boy has not yet to find perfectly cushiony, white, ankle-length socks with grey bottoms.

I’m sure that this will be one of those stories that we will tell over and over again on future road trips. I could most certainly write a book about this that would be entitled, “The Adventures of My Son and the Incredibly Difficult-to-Find Socks.” Nonetheless, I have had to sit back and laugh. This situation has definitely helped to soothe my anxiety as my boys are about to embark on their journeys, and my husband and I about to embark on ours.

The day has come… 


There has been so much anticipation leading up to what seems to be a “monumental” moment in my life, the act of dropping “both” of my children off at college. I have caught myself asking my youngest “what else” he needs for his dorm room far too many times. I am fairly certain that I have driven him crazy as he has reminded me that I have been asking him the same questions over and over again. My nerves are definitely getting the best of me. After all, both of my babies are leaving the nest. How did this happen? How did we get here so quickly? How will I feel once I leave and say goodbye? What will it feel like for my husband and I to come back to a serene home of two? Is cooking for two even a thing these days? So. Many. Questions.

I longed to have children as far as I could remember and was blessed with two wonderful boys, now young men, who are kind-hearted, ambitious, obedient, and studious. One day, I came to the realization that I would have to let them go off into the real world to become well-rounded adults. All I ever wanted was for them to be happy and to be good people. Thankfully, they are. I realize that that is a great blessing. So, I just had to do it, allow my oldest continue his journey and allow my youngest to begin his (all the while finding great comfort knowing that my boys will have each other’s backs as they will be attending the same university). Honestly, I cannot ask for more. That is my silver lining as I prepare to drop off my precious cargo in a city considerably far from home.



It has been six days since I left the Gainesville area, and I feel incredibly calm because I know my children are where they need to be. Plus, they are only a text message or phone call away. I find myself checking in once a day, needing to make sure they are okay. My boys do not seem to mind at all. My messages usually sound something like: “How was your day?” “Are you getting along with your roommates?” “Do you need us to send you anything?” “Your dad and I love you very much.” I do not know how I will feel a week from now or even a year from now, but today I am feeling inner peace unlike no other.

So, to all who are embarking on this “empty nest” journey along with me, you are not alone. Love, pray and trust the process. We may all shed a few tears, but I think we will all be alright. When in doubt, remember to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done for raising your children and allowing them to spread their wings so that they can pursue their dreams. I promise to do the same. You’ve got this. I’ve got this. And please try to find your silver lining.

Oh, and if you happen to find those perfect socks, please let me know where I can find them.


Lizette Brockland is a loyal reader and Sunday Paper Ambassador.


This essay was featured in the Sept. 9th edition of The Sunday Paper, Maria Shriver’s free weekly newsletter for people with passion and purpose. To get inspiring and informative content like this piece delivered straight to your inbox each Sunday morning, click here to subscribe.