So about 9 months ago my Wife and I drove 17 hours from Atlanta to Albany, New York to watch our daughter walk across the stage of the University at Albany with her college degree. She was 22 years old. For all intensive purposes we had done our job. She graduated from high school, came home occasionally and did what she was suppose to do in 4 years.

On the ride back to Atlanta (just her and I) we talked about her plans. She told me that she would be in her own apartment in 2 months. After I had a nice belly laugh, I said to her; “we’ll see.” 2 months passed and she was still there. However even though I woke up most mornings to my Captain Krunch and Frosted Flakes being gone; she had not one, but two jobs. With no pressure, I never brought up that fact that two months had long past.

To my horror I came across an article in Forbes saying, “even employed 18-34 year-olds are more likely to live with their parents in 2013 than before the recession.” (Sorry, Mom and Dad: The Kids Aren’t Moving Out Yet) WHAT!? This could not be. It’s not fair that my 7 year old son is the only person that can walk around the house in his underwear.

Then it happen, a few weeks ago she walked into my office and she said those beautiful 4 words, “I found an apartment.” She was moving out in two weeks. At that moment, I regretted not picking up those, “celebration” underwear I had been wanting to get.

The day came and she moved out. The apartment was the perfect starter place to live. It reminded my wife and I of our first apartments. I couldn’t be more happy for her; for us for that matter.

A couple of days later; we were together and it was the first time I dropped her off at her new apartment. We said our good-byes, she got out the car with her bag of essential groceries (cereal and milk) and walk towards her apartment and IT HIT ME…my baby is gone. My heart sunk and the tears flowed. How could this job of parenting possibly be over? Her room now a constant reminder that she’s independent. That the job my wife started alone as a single mother and my presence in her life since she was 9 years old was somehow complete.

Now, we know its not over; however the quietness of the house is deafening when what you are used to listening to is removed. We have two more to go and I wish there was something to help us prepare for the day; but there isn’t. So, we’ll just have to savor every sound that our younger son and daughter will make. Because when its gone, we will miss it.

Thank God for independence, but we’ll welcome a little dependence every now and then.

Posted by Fathers Incorporated

Fathers Incorporated (FI) is a national, non-profit organization working to build stronger families and communities through the promotion of Responsible Fatherhood. Established in 2004, FI has a unique seat at the national table, working with leaders in the White House, Congress, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Family Law, and the Responsible Fatherhood Movement. FI works collaboratively with organizations around the country to identify and advocate for social and legislative changes that lead to healthy father involvement with children, regardless of the father’s marital or economic status, or geographic location. From employment and incarceration issues, to child support and domestic violence, FI addresses long-standing problems to achieve long-term results for children, their families, the communities, and nation in which they live.

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