The Modern Empty Nest

It happened this week.

My daughter, my middle child, my 22-year-old, flew the nest.IMG_2103

She, and her boyfriend of 6 months packed everything they owned into a car and drove West to chase their dreams in California.

I know. That sounds sudden. And full of drama. But surprisingly, it’s not. She’s actually following in my footsteps, only she did it better.

I left home at 22 also, but I did it with my fist in the air, middle finger extended. I didn’t care who did or didn’t know where or how I was. I was on my own finally, and all I wanted was my former home in my rearview mirror. Sadly for my parents, my communication with the folks I left behind was at best, spotty, if at all.

Now, thanks to modern digital technology, we’re connected 24/7. No sooner did my daughter’s face and waving hand disappear physically westward beyond my eyesight, they were quickly replaced digitally, by a blinking dot accurately pinpointing her every move on my iDevices, or as she refers to it, Watching The Creeper App.

photoIts really called the Find My Friends app, and it shows you on a map where any of your friends and family who have agreed to be “creeped-on” are. Thankfully, we pre-negotiated the creep agreement well before she left.

With it, we were able to see which roads and freeways they took, and where they stopped to eat, and sleep. It was thrilling! And boring. And nerve-wracking! And comforting.

We saw them veer off to Denver despite the weather warnings in the upper passes. We saw them leave there, then descend into the high deserts, and then we watched them wander the Las Vegas strip. Finally, we saw them negotiate the Los Angeles freeways, and back streets as they visited apartments and houses for rent.

All the while, thanks to being digitally connected, it was like we were ghostly companions in their car. Texts and Facebook picture posts flew back and forth. When the day got long, the little girl that still exists in my grown daughter came out, and lamented that she missed home already. When the sights were strange or amazing, a picture accompanied her text. When they’d finally found the perfect place to live, after traipsing through some sketchy neighborhoods, we’d already looked up the address on Trulia to see the neighborhood statistics, and were able to enthusiastically agree with their decision.

I imagine the shine will wear off rather quickly as my daughter settles into her new life. I’ve already cut back from checking the app constantly, to a mere hundred times a day. She’ll probably turn it off eventually, and leave me wondering, as parents used to do, where or how she is. But in comparison to the way I left home, and thanks to Facebook, Skype, and various other creeper apps, I feel incredibly lucky that she LETS me share vicariously in her new adventures!

3 thoughts on “The Modern Empty Nest

  1. I expect my son to leave home shortly after graduation, whether it is to school or to travel for a bit. I want him to have some adventures while he can. Thank goodness for technology!

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