One Flew North, One Flew South, Both Fled The Scene Of This Cuckoo’s Nest

*Notice the $$ falling out of the nest             

**This Cuckoo’s Nest is now officially, empty**

…as is my heart,

…and my wallet.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still two adults in the Cuckoo’s nest who are responsible for most of the cookooness, but the young have indeed flown the coop (*sobs uncontrollably).

Where do I begin?  Let me grab my bottle of wine, I will be right back.

Ok. I am back.

Chick #1 flew back north (4.5 hours away), to begin his junior year in college.  We had to rent a cargo van filled with apartment necessities.  Those necessities consisted mostly of our things which we must now replace.  Can you have a bridal shower as a 25 year wedding anniversary celebration?  Just wondering.


The apartment is on the third floor with narrow stairs, so I only made the trip up and down once.  What I love about this youngling of mine, is that he gave me free rein to do with his apartment whatever I wished.  A mother’s dream!  I set up his little kitchen with some touches of red, including a red cutting board, dish drying mat (essential), trash can, etc.  He even let me organize his room!  I had to contain my utter excitement.  


After an exhausting day of apartment set-up and running to the store (Mr. B did the running) to get things we had forgotten, it was time to head back home.  The great thing was that my son was returning home with us for the night, before officially moving the following day.  I got in his car and let Mr. B drive the cargo van home.  Do you know how incredibly precious it is to have uninterrupted hours with your 20-year-old son to just chat and laugh?  

We talked about girls, careers, music, movies,cooking and parenting.  We even threw in a couple of bathroom words (fart, mostly) in our conversation, as I needed to open the passenger side window on more than one occasion, to breathe in some fresher air. 

The wonderful thing about your kids growing up is that they really begin to like you and appreciate what you do for them.  He did not stop thanking me for all the help, advice, time and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ we have spent on him over the years.  He kept adding how much he appreciates us as his parents.

Believe me when I tell you that there was a hell of a lot of SOBBING going on.

Now on to Chick #2.

 My baby girl’s freshman year.    This was a three-day ordeal process.  After collecting all twenty five bags she had packed and assessing the space we had in our newly purchased SUV, it was immediately determined that it was not all going to fit.


Fortunately, we had a carrier we were able to attach to the roof rack of the car.  Off we headed, on our five-hour journey south.  One half hour into our drive,  she informed us that she had forgotten some important documents back home.  Five and a half hours later, we had reached our destination.

Bright and early the following morning, we headed to the college for our designated dorm room move-in time.  It was the most organized chaotic process I have ever witnessed.  Lines upon lines of cars, separated by rows and color coördinated by dorm.   Even WildCat himself scared the shit out of us greeted us in the parking lot to entertain us while we patiently awaited our turn.


How many hours does it take to unpack twenty-five bags and set up a girl’s dorm room?  I could not tell you.  It may have been twenty-four or three, I am  not sure.   It was not until her very nice roommate and her parents showed up, that I appreciated my daughter only having twenty-five bags.  How on earth her roommate’s seventy-five bags of stuff fit in the room, is beyond me.




Trash and recycling outside of the dorm (mostly from our daughter and roommate, I firmly suspect)

 You would be very proud of me.  No tears were shed…up to that point.  I did find myself staring at her and watching her every move for signs of distress, anxiety and joy.  I saw all of the above.  

We participated in all the parent orientation activities and got to know the roommate’s parents well. So much so, that the four of us wished we were starting college and partying at the dorm.  Or at least, drinking.

Here is when the flood gates opened.  There was a closing Mass to end the orientation and to gently nudge the parents off  campus to allow for the students to settle into their new homes.  

The tradition is for the President of the University (a dynamic and charismatic priest), to give a special blessing to the freshmen class and repeat the blessing once they are seniors and graduating.  We were instructed to put our hands on the student’s head or shoulders and repeat after the priest as we blessed our children.  

HOLY emotions.  

There was no turning back and no stopping the flood.  I wailed like a baby as I tried reciting the blessing while looking right into her eyes.  What can I tell you except that it took me hours to recover from such a beautiful and spiritual ceremony.

After the inevitable goodbyes, we set off on our journey back home.  That we survived what became a six-hour white-knuckle drive in blinding monsoon-like rain, while swerving away from a family of deer trying to cross in front of us, was truly miraculous.

I have yet to enter my chicks’ rooms since I have been back.  

I have however, frolicked around the nest naked a couple of times and it was so much fun!


57 thoughts on “One Flew North, One Flew South, Both Fled The Scene Of This Cuckoo’s Nest

  1. Oh Maria, you brought back so many memories of both my boys’ college days and all the crazy madness and highly-charged emotional time that it is. So glad it all went well (and I agree, that Wild Cat is freakily scary, what’s with that?!!) You and Mr B did a fantastic job (and what an eventful long drive home to boot!) but what really spoke the loudest to me was when you wrote about having that precious time alone with your 20 year old son. I resonated deeply with that. That time together, chatting about who knows what, farts and all, is the most precious thing. Even now I don’t take that for granted with my boys. And it is so true, the payback when you realise that our kids actually like us and appreciate us and want to talk to us. One of the happiest moments in my life was when I rocked out to Kansas’ Carry On My Wayward Son with my boys at my 50th birthday party – and able to share a few drinks with them as adults (they were 26 and 21 then). A reminder that life does move on and although it is such an emotional time for you, dear Mom, and huge adjustments in your life, you have so much to look forward to…including fun, fun, fun, I’m sure of it…not to mention plenty of naked freedom 😉 Great post, loved it. Huge hugs to you my friend xoxo ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sherri! That trip to Kansas singing and drinking along with your boys sounds fabulous! Not sure if my kids are ready to do a singalong with me yet! LOL. Today marks a week since “drop off” and I am doing just fine! Miss them but enjoying our couple time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha…yes, well, we had all had a few drinks when that happened and it was one of those spontaneous moments that lives on in our memories 😉
        Ahh…one week already? Goodness, time flies…but so glad you are doing so well! Woo hoo…knew you would do it. The next part of your life’s adventures has just begun my friend .. and now you have those wonderful homecomings to look forward to, all the sweeter for it;-)


  2. *shudder*

    I can’t help it. Although I have yet to see the movie in full, or read the book, a “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” reference gives me the jibblies. Why? The actual mental hospital that inspired the book and is now a prison isn’t too far away from where I live. The Oregon State Hospital where the movie was filmed? A friend in Portland has shown me good evidence that that place is STILL horrifying, and not too far away from where I live (farther at 3.5 hrs west, but still… closer than you).

    I’d explain a little more context, but, much of my health care sucks so bad that, I don’t feel like blogging about it yet.

    That said, my kiddos go back to school tomorrow. Not the same, but I’m so ready to have them out of the house for at least 6 hours. I’m glad for you; I’m sure you believe me, but I feel I have to say so for any other reader that can be bothered to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yikes! That would be pretty freaky, I can understand your jibblies! It’s probably best NOT to watch the movie in full.

      I know what you mean about being ready to have the kids go back to school. Us parents desperately need the time to focus and take care of ourselves. It’s crazy how much of our own needs we overlook when caring for our children, no matter the age! I find I am eating healthier already (well, if you can call cheese crackers and wine healthy) and letting my body rest as much as possible without having to worry about their needs.

      Thank you for your well wishes and please, take care of yourself!


  3. Congratulations on getting through the leaving of Chick Two, Mrs. B. Chick One, you were used to, old hat by now, 20 year old. The freshman. The second one. The girl. Oy. You did it. With a blessing, yet. Good for you, my friend.

    You will come to appreciate, enjoy, savor, CELEBRATE the empty nest. Take it slow, Maria. One day at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you my dear second, Mr. B! One day at a time sounds like the perfect way to take it all in. So far it has been calm and dare I say, fun? Both chicks sound happy so I am happy. Mr. B is enjoying all the attention going to him, too. 🙂


    1. Celebrating nakedness and some freedom! Raising my glass as I type this, Cheers! Local would be nice wouldn’t it? As long as my chicks are happy and thriving I am at peace…and naked. LOL.


  4. I remember both of those first year drop offs and the ugly cries that accompanied each of them. And then the uncontrollable sobbing each time I would pass by her/his bedroom. Or set the dinner table for 3. And then 2. 😦

    Dance away, amiga. So beautiful to find joy (and better still, naked joy) in such an emotional time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you understand what this is like. So far I am managing ok with not having to cook dinner and all. This past weekend we went out to eat both nights and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Not to mention the clean house. I believe there will be a healthy balance of emotions and so far I haven’t fallen flat on my face! That would not be pretty. 🙂


    1. Thank you, Lisa! I love your gravatar pic btw. I am pretty proud of the chicks and figure we must have done something right. It is sad to go near their rooms and for the house to be so quiet but so far I am adjusting. I think Mr. B is enjoying the nakedness too. LOL.


      1. :-). Was hoping to bring a smile with that. I can understand the tug on the emotions as the kids leave, but definitely want you to find the joy in being able to focus on you, your health and what activities can send you to your happy place. Continued healing and naked dancing!


  5. Thanks for bringing us along on such an emotional time. I love how your son recognizes how much you did and do for him. My chick starts sixth grade soon, and I’m already scared to death over middle school next year and the academics (he’s on an IEP and has special ed help), and his having to deal with several teachers. Every year for us is a struggle. So the day he graduates high school, I know I’m going to be a blubbering mess. Congrats on being able to frolick naked in the nest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, 6th grade! That was a great yet pivotal year for my kids. What I liked the most about it was that they could remain young without the middle school influences. Our middle school doesn’t start until 7th like yours and when they considered changing and moving 6th to the middle school I fought it like crazy. That is great that your son has all the support he needs.

      One major plus has been not having to worry about cooking dinner! Mr. B and I are happy eating salads, crackers, cheese, grapes and tomatoes. So relaxing I have to admit. Chick #2 will be home for a week in October so I may as well enjoy this for as long as I can! 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A beautiful post! This is so like my brother and sister-in-law! They’re empty nesters now that my nephew is in college. Time goes by so fast, doesn’t it??? What a beautiful service! But driving off must have been really hard, wasn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Linda! How are they adjusting to him being gone? The whole experience has been crazy including me getting sick. It has felt like an out of body experience that I have been watching and drifting through that does not seem real yet. Too much going on at once! However, I have a lot of things to feel blessed with and am thinking positive thoughts. Running around sans clothes, having cheese and crackers and wine for dinner and seeing a clean house have been some of the pluses. 🙂 🙂


    1. I need to follow your lead and see this as the beginning of new adventures for Mr. B and I. You guys know how to live it up! I have to admit that the house is super clean now, everything is where it belongs, our grocery bill was peanuts and we have had cheese and crackers for dinner. Not bad! 🙂


    1. Awww, it is so tough when they go to big girl school! I know what you mean about feeling free during the day, you can get so much done. Although I miss them both, I am enjoying the time to just worry about me and Mr. B and being able to keep the house clean. LOL.


  7. Ahhh Maria, I am crying right along with you. You had me at flew. I knew what was coming. I will be thinking of you and praying for you to get through this new period of adjustment. The heart cannot help what it feels and I can only imagine how empty yours must be naked, wine in hand and all. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Naked with wine in hand is the new me. LOL. It is lonely and tough at times but I am very happy for my kids and am enjoying my husband’s company. The best part has been not having to worry about what to make for dinner. I haven’t cooked since I got home. Cheese, crackers, peaches, salads and wine have been the items on our menu. 🙂


  8. It’s one enormous change after another for you right now, Maria. I can’t imagine how you managed this after your recent hospital trauma. Hope you are doing okay now that the kids have flown the coop. Take heart, they will be back. There’s no substitute for Mum, especially a Brickhouse Mum! xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Things always come in clusters don’t they, Alarna. I don’t know how I had the energy to drive through 5 states, walk college campuses, set up apartments and say my emotional goodbyes. All I can tell you is that it will take me a while to recover physically as well as emotionally. You know, as long as my guys are happy doing what they want to be doing, I am happy. That brings me peace. Thanks for the support! xo


  9. I was worried… You’ve been kind of quiet. How are you feeling? Wishing and hoping you’re doing better than the last time we talked/wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sweet of you, Kate. BTW, I thought I was following you and when I went to your site I noticed I wasn’t! Crazy! It has been so busy getting the kids ready and taking them to their respective places that blogging was just not possible. I am behind on my post reading as well. I am still exhausted from the infection and the toll it took on my body but I can feel myself getting stronger by the day. I hope you are feeling better as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. SO glad to hear you’re getting better. And I only have one child. I don’t know how you do it with any more than that. Well, I do. A mom is pretty much capable of being super human when it comes to their children. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that you’re very admirable. I’m feeling better despite emergency surgery, but I see an endochronologist at the end of the month, so hopefully they’ll have some answers for me. It’s spelled wrong, I apologize. I’m too lazy to get up and check it. We, too, are lost in the hype of getting back into school mode. As much as I enjoyed our time together this summer, I’m looking forward to quiet days so I can get some real writing done. Hope you stay on the path to good health!! It was nice hearing from you!!



  10. Hi Maria: So, so sorry we’ve been ghosts as of late. We’ve been locked away in our writing room working on our book. But we’re reaching the finish line (Yay!) and soon will be back to normal hours as well as our blogging, thank goodness cuz we miss our blogging buds, like you!!!! ❤ Now onto the post. My hanky's out, my glass of wine I'm sharing with you and the tears are flowing!!! Thank you for sharing this with us!! I felt every emotion you're going through and want to hug and join you in a gallon of icecream! (trust me there's documented medical stress relief from just a pint of Ben & Jerry's! 😉 ) You know what I found most beautiful about this story, Maria. The brilliant point you made when you we're trying to list your pro's for this time. That with this change, your children finally seen what their parents have sacrificed in the way of time, money & simply….LOVE!!!! That's such a beautiful point that many don't take the time to see. And so true!!! When Inion went to college and was working three jobs at one time, she came to me one weekend, doing her laundry, and hugged my neck. "Mom…besides you, do you know what I miss the most?" "What?" I asked, figuring she'd say, sleeping in, me doing her clothes. Nope! She said: "I miss the Wednesday night movie night we would have. I miss the pillow fights me, you, Nana & bubba would have. And mom, I never realized the sheer luxury of having my tampons bought for me. The new bra's & panties you bought me without me asking. My make-up, my hair products, my comfort foods. All the little things that I took for granted that now I have to squeeze the budget a little tighter to get. I never realized how much that all added up too mom!! In this time, when our children go off to college, marriage, work whatever makes them leave the nest, they grow up. And that's not such a bad thing as you've beautifully stated here!! You be sure to have a glass of wine now and again; take some time for yourself. and if needed, we have a gallon of icecream on hold for our Brickhouse chick to swing on by!! 😉 xoxo ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello, ladies! So happy to hear that you see the end in sight. Very exciting! I have been wondering how you have been doing and how your process was going. 🙂 Ice cream in addition to wine is a definite must! As is running around naked. LOL. That is a funny story about Inion appreciating all the little things you did for her, truly a sign of maturity. I have enjoyed not having to cook for the last couple of days, I have to admit. Great to hear from you. 🙂


  11. Awww, I miss these days. I remember how my parents helped me each fall set up my dorm room or apt. How my mom helped clean and bought fun things for the place. My dad would do all the handiwork and heavy lifting. What an exciting and emotional time. Big hugs, Brickhouse Chica! Sounds like you had the perfect day with each of your baby birds.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Jess! I have fond memories as well of my parents helping me set up my apartment and my home. I am lucky that my kids let me go to town and help them decorate! I figure, I’m paying for the apt. and the dorm room, right? LOL.


  12. Aw…Maria…thank you for sharing this life changing and emotional experience with us. I was bawling along with you as you so eloquently described the Mass and the blessing. Wow!
    My sister is experiencing something similar. Next weekend, she and her husband will drive my twin nieces from Nashville to Washington D.C., where they’ll be living and working on Capitol Hill, as they recently graduated from college. They have reserved a U-Haul, but I think they need a full-sized tractor trailer. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha! Ouch to your sister for having to say goodbye to both at the same time. At least the girls will be with each other. A full-sized tractor trailer sound about right! Jill, that Mass was amazing. He is such an eloquent and vibrant speaker. Mr. B and I did have some fun this weekend. I didn’t cook once!


  13. I love this post. You really captured the essence of dropping a child off at college. It is heartbreaking and happy at the same time. One nice thing that you mentioned is how much your son appreciates you all now. This has happened for us as well and it is so nice to hear!! Really excellent job expressing your feelings! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my dear! You know too well what it’s like to say goodbye to them! I finally did venture into their rooms yesterday and wish I hadn’t. Not because it made me sad, which it did, but more because of the filthy mess! Oh well! 🙂


      1. Ahhh yes, the filthy mess! This has been the silver lining for me. I’ve had a blast decluttering and cleaning. AND watching it remain clean for longer than one day. 🙂


  14. Oh my goodness. I can not yet imagine. I brought my chick #1 back to her college (happily only 1.5 hours away) yesterday, but my chick #2 is a full eight years behind. He’s just entering 6th grade next week. I can say that the sophomore year drop off is soooo much easier than freshman year. For both mother and child.

    Liked by 1 person

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