My younger son left for college last week, taking with him the joyous snap and growl of his electric bass and—indirectly, because we agreed they’d waste away in his empty room—the fish he’d been raising for years. Now this house, that used to always sound like running water—is still.

I hardly recognize myself in all the stillness. There’s an eerie feeling, especially, in the front corner of the house that was always full of music, and the faint smell of a freshwater ecosystem, and–late nights–shouts of enthusiasm as he and friends laid waste to dungeons’ worth of enemies in computer game after computer game.

Those of you who have been through this transition–your nest empty–how did you get used to it? Was anyone tempted to get a puppy? Did you, when you left home back in the day, give a thought to your parents? I know I–the oldest, with two siblings behind me–didn’t give it a second thought as I slipped out the door. The first and only thought was: freedom.

Tell me all about it in the comments!