My empty nest

By Candice Navi

This summer, I became an only child. My brother Ryan ’09 graduated in June and is now a freshman in college 3,000 miles away. I figured that things would not be too different with him gone. Even though our petty arguments would now take place on the phone and not in person, it would be like he never left. In fact, it would be better! I would get the car all to myself, listen to music in my room at whatever volume I please and finally watch “Gossip Girl” in peace.

My dreams of having the house to myself completely changed once I arrived at his college and helped set up his dorm room. I hung up his clothes, from his Kobe jersey to his Gore-Tex winter coat and framed some pictures for his desk. I had to accept that this foreign place was to be his new home and the one back in Los Angeles would eventually become obsolete.

Just yesterday, I walked by his room and peeked inside hoping to find it in its typical state of disarray. Again, my expectations were shot; his room was clean, a degree of clean that could only be achieved by his absence.

Now that their son has left for college, my parents have become slightly needy. They constantly ask me questions at dinner, make hourly phone calls to see how and where I am and make excuses to spend as much time with me as possible.

My father had been handling the recent changes pretty well until I discussed my Ring Ceremony dress. He laughed and said I had more than enough time to purchase or even think about a dress.

When my mother and I pointed out that Ring Ceremony was actually in two weeks, my father became wide-eyed and was in denial that my turn to leave Navi household was just around the corner. He refused to believe I was a senior.

In my mother’s case, she had done as much prepping for this milestone in her life as a mom could undertake.

She attended many empty nest seminars and spoke to more experienced friends about when their children left for school. She always has her worn out copy of “Letting Go” in hand, complete with dog-eared pages.

My parents constantly “suggest” that, when leaving for college, I choose to remain as close to them as possible, citing the perfect weather and, of course, the proximity to family. After seeing Ryan off, I’ve realized that leaving home may not be as easy as I always assumed.

It will take us a while to adjust to the time difference when calling Ryan to probe him on all aspects of his life and arriving to school alone will be weird, but it is a necessary progression in all of our lives.