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Exercise Wednesday: The first day of college

July 30, 2014

It’s the end of July, which means that in a few short weeks the interstates will include familiar sight of crammed-full cars driven by young men and women going back to school. It’s tempting to concentrate on what the students are feeling as the promise of a new year opens in front of them like a grassy field on a summer Saturday morning.

Today, however, we look at the other side of the equation. For every excited, carefree student heading off to fun, challenge, and free access to girls or boys, there are parents whose houses–and wallets–just got a lot emptier.

This week’s prompt is about what’s euphemistically called Empty Nest Syndrome. But it’s more than the empty and amazingly clean bedroom left behind or the empty spot at the table or on the couch when the NCIS reruns are on. It’s the presence in the house of someone else, and the purpose of much of the last two decades–removed.

What’s it like that first morning after they leave? That first weekend? What’s missing and what’s new for those left behind? How do they deal with the free time and the relative privacy? Is it a good thing? Or do the people left behind find that, having poured so much into their children, they don’t really know each other?

Time limit: 35 minutes

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