Historic Weekends, an Empty Nest (and Overripe Bananas)

Last weekend was historic.

silly selfies Coleen Patrick_opt


We celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary (w/ silly selfies, because that’s how we roll)…

on the very same day that we took our youngest child to college.


Thomas Jefferson statue Williamsburg_opt

But seriously, we couldn’t be more proud.

He’s studying at Thomas Jefferson’s alma mater.

(Although, apparently, it’s cooler to mention alumnus, Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show)

This part wasn’t easy though.Β 

college goodbye empty nest_opt

We knew it wouldn’t be, having done the goodbye thing with our daughter only 364 days before.


untethered colonial williamsburg_opt

This pic sums up the strange mix of emptiness and freedom

I think we all felt (not that anyone is a horse in this scenario).

But the whole leaving my youngest at college didn’t really hit me until the middle of the weekend,

at 3am to be exact,

I sat up in bed, in the middle of a the dark hotel room

startled from a dream where I was in a room with doors

running around trying to lock them.


(Before you think my dreams are visionary, let me add that there was also a gecko in an envelope in there somewhere.)

The next day, after one more round of parent orientation, we stopped at a park

and rented a jon boat.

Hub fished.

I read.

oar boat drifting _opt

We drifted for a couple of hours.

Wrapped up in beginnings and endings

tangled roots growing toward sun_opt

we let our emotions untangle a bit.Β 

chain heart drifting on boat_opt

And then we headed home. Just the two of us.


But home comforted

colonial shops williamsburg_opt

and reminded us there’s so much more ahead

(and that the bananas on the kitchen counter were going to keep on ripening no matter what)

homemade banana bread care packages

Which was perfect for baking some banana bread for care packages. πŸ™‚


What’s your favorite thing to put in a care package (or to receive)? Anything historic happening in your neck of the woods?

Happy Friday!

45 thoughts on “Historic Weekends, an Empty Nest (and Overripe Bananas)

  1. Congratulations empty nesters. Sounds like you are off to a good start. Could almost hear the sound of the paddle in the water, and can identify with the feverish post-college-drop-off dreams. My husband and I are considering an empty nest trip to Williamsburg, DC and Gettysburg next month. Looks pretty nice! T. Jefferson was ahead of his time with those pegged pants.


    1. Feverish is a perfect way to describe that weekend! I was happy to come home to my non-feverish pace. We enjoyed D.C. and Gettysburg this year. Especially the moonlight trolley ride. So much to see–at a comfortable, relaxing pace. :)Enjoy!


  2. I know that feeling all too well. When we dropped my son off, I cried all the way home. He’s such a cool person and a good friend. Lucky for me, he decided to come home and finish up his last two years locally to save money. It’s selfish, I know, but I love seeing him every day:)


  3. Your photos and your words … so, so profound, Coleen. The letting go of something loved oftentimes includes an new kind of embracing, doesn’t it?
    Congratulations … and brava! And here’s to the bend in the road and what’s a head …


  4. What a wonderful opportunity to attend college like William and Mary. So much history and beautiful scenery. I love how you and your husband enjoy nature and history, as reflected in so many of your beautiful photos. I didn’t become an empty nester until later, since our daughter attended a local college and lived at home. When she left, I was ready.


    1. Yes, we’re proud–and I think he recognizes the great opportunity he has before him! πŸ™‚ My husband and I have said a few times that we feel too young to be empty nesters, but it’s where we’re at, so we will hopefully take advantage of it!


  5. It get’s easier with time, Coleen. We moved ourselves around the time that Jonathan left for graduate school, after having bounced back home for a year after college. So that felt less like he was leaving us and more like we were all getting on with our lives. The relief of day-to-day parenting responsibilities and the freedom do help to compensate, some.

    Thanks for the meander through Williamsburg. It’s been eons since I’ve been there.


    1. We’re planning on a move too–the house is just too big. Already the planning for that makes this time seem more of a moving forward for all of us. As I guess it should be. Thanks, Kassandra!


  6. Oh how bitter sweet that the little ones grow up to be big ones and then they go and leave us. But being an empty-nester has it advantages too so enjoy those moments. And remember this, they always come back. If you’ve done your job in raising them right, they will always be back.

    Nothing historic going on in my neck of the woods, but today marks the start of the harvest season and since I live in the very heart of what is known as Apple Hill, I’m in for some super busy weekends with traffic and tourists. Labor Day always kick starts the harvest season, which peaks around Halloween when everyone comes to get their pumpkins, then completely vanishes about the second week of December when everyone gets their Christmas trees. Then everything goes back to normal and we wait for the grapes and apples to bloom next year.

    Have a great Labor Day weekend and enjoy this time with your hubby! Happy anniversary.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. Bittersweet, yes, but thankfully we have so much to look forward to. Like apple picking! Your neck of the woods sounds SO very busy, but I do love getting apples and pumpkins. πŸ™‚
      Thank you, Patricia.


  7. Coleen what a beautiful post on a milestone we all must face. Letting go and then embracing our new found freedom. I have a long way before mine get to this point. You look so young and full of fun for life. Enjoy, and the banana bread looks YUM.


  8. Love your photos (as always) – and I get the empty nest…my daughter is on summer break for another week before back to college. Le sigh. It’s one of those bittersweet moments in life. πŸ™‚


  9. LOL taking my daughter back to Benjamin Harrison’s alma mater sounds so much less glamorous! And yes, it’s cooler to say “Ben Roethlischberger’s alma mater.”

    As always, your photos are fantastic! Love the “tangled emotions.” But yes, the empty nest does get easier the second time. We miss her – but not her clutter in the house!


    1. It’s a good thing I waited to post. That weekend I found myself “blogging” in my head and it wasn’t so pretty–or all that positive! It was all just so strange. So coming home helped. Which was odd, because I thought I’d be sensitive to the void, but home was familiar. And good. :)Thanks, kate!


  10. Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby, Coleen! I love the selfies. You look so young. I thought those were pics of your daughter! Glad your son of off to a great start at college. I can totally understand the mixed feelings. You captured the memories with some fantastic photos. So artistic! Your blog posts rock!


  11. Happy Anniversary! Here’s to 21 more great years.

    Hope you have a terrific Labor Day weekend! Enjoy and have some fun. Sorry I have not been around in a while as I have had some family matters to attend to recently.


  12. I hate those gecko-in-an-envelope dreams. Seriously, Coleen, this is a lovely post, and you will fill the empty nest with projects and enthusiasms while leaving room for your children’s return visits. As Patricia said, they will come back. And you’ll visit them. Your world is widening.


  13. I had to look up geckos in dream dictionary, which apparently represent renewal. So I hope you rip open that envelope and let the renewal begin. Side note, when you wake up at 3am in a historic area, it’s usually just a ghost trying to keep the British out. I’m sure it nothing to do with keeping your little one home a little longer πŸ™‚


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