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When my daughters left for college this fall, my wife and I experienced something we hadn’t known for more than two decades…quiet. So, this was the empty nest I’ve heard so much about. Peace, solitude, time on my hands. No more managing nightly homework, no getting the kids up and off to school, no dealing with the drama of high school girls and parents, and no more sporting events every week.


Sounds good on paper. But reality smacked me like a brick wall, and it was in the form of a family-sized package of Double Stuff Oreos.

We had just moved our youngest daughter into her dorm room. After the cleaning, the arranging, the kisses and hugs goodbye, we stopped by the grocery on our way home to pick up a few things. That’s when it hit me. I pushed the cart past all those treats I had snuck into the pantry for the past 18 years, to the delight of my girls. Little moments of joy at the sight of chocolate milk, oatmeal cream pies, sea salt and vinegar chips, Flavor Blasted Gold Fish, and Double Stuff Oreos.

But now, I no longer had a reason…or an excuse…to add those to my cart. I had to gather myself. Peace seemed a little less peaceful. Solitude would come at the expense of laughter. Time on my hands…okay, that was still a bonus. But I missed my girls. Terribly. And not just because I no longer had a reason to bring home a family-sized package of Double Stuff Oreos.

My wife and I count ourselves among the lucky ones. We have two fantastic daughters with whom we get along exceptionally well. As with all families, there are moments of snarkiness. But the laughs far outnumber the tears. We truly enjoy each other’s company.

And so, it is with delight that our pantry is now graced by the presence of a family-sized package of Double Stuff Oreos. The first semester is over! Christmas break is here! I’ve never been more excited to have a noisy house, shoes tossed in every room, empty bags of sea salt and vinegar chips in the living room, and Oreo crumbs in the bottom of milk glasses.

It’s good to be together again.

Tim Condron is president and creative director of Sparked Imaginations. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of any other entity, business, client or employer.

© 2014 Timothy J. Condron

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