My nest is finally empty. My wife, my daughter and I drove two cars full of college goods to Portland last week to move Amy Dearest into off-campus housing for her senior year. She plans to stay in Portland next summer and pursue a master's degree. After a decade of shuttling kids from Coeur d'Alene to Portland-area colleges each fall, I raised my hands above my head when the last box was packed upstairs and said, "No mas." The moment was bittersweet. I've thoroughly enjoyed Amy Dearest and her brother, especially in their high school and college years when they matured into quality young adults and easily lapped my meager scholastic accomplishments of yesteryear. Amy rode with me part of the way to Portland. I told her I was thrilled the way she and her brother turned out. That I wished I could have done even more for her financially during her college years. She reminded me that she has been able to attend an expensive private college, spend a semester in Rome, and said she has few unmet needs. She also gave me a pass on my occasional temper flare-up. We switched driving assignments an hour later, and I found myself driving my 4Runner by myself, deep in thought while I listened to a Stephen King book on tape. I told myself that I had survived as a parent. Not everyone does. Now, I have to learn to survive in a house that has become so much quieter in only a few short days.
D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.