About the Blog | Kids and Money

A Family CEO Life Update

May 12, 2018

Things are in transition at our house again.

Next week our son Grant graduates from St. Louis University and he’s moving to New York City, where he’ll start his new job in public relations on June 4. It seems like last month – no last week – that I wrote this post about his college orientation. The fastest four years ever!

I’m feeling all the things about him heading to NYC. Excited. Amazed. And…not going to lie…sad. I like my people nearby.

Our whole family spent Easter with my parents in Florida and as we were headed home we said goodbye to Grant at our airport gate, as we were flying home to Kansas City, and he was flying back to school in St. Louis.

I started crying, like really ugly crying, as I hugged him goodbye and didn’t stop until we had been on the plane for about 20 minutes. I apologized to the woman sitting next to me. She understood, she told me. She had college-aged sons too.

I couldn’t understand why I was taking this so hard because we were going to be seeing Grant in six weeks at his graduation. But I think it was knowing that he wasn’t coming back “home” after graduation that had me feeling this way. 

Here’s the thing: you think that your kids are “leaving home” when they head off to college like it’s one, solitary event. But, in fact, they leave home in a lot of different ways during those years.

The first time they don’t come home for a school break.

The year they decide to stay at school for the summer.

When they start referring to school as “home.” (That one really stings.)

And, finally, when they really, truly leave home by going off on their own.

It’s good that this leaving happens little by little I think, but you’re never really prepared for the next piece of it.

Listen, it’s all good. Grant’s dream was to go to NYC after graduation and I am so proud and so happy that he made it happen. (Also, I’ve already checked, and Southwest has a direct flight from KC to NYC every day.)

Since this is a personal finance blog, I feel I should say that yes, Grant understands that living in NYC is incredibly expensive. (People often feel compelled to tell us this, like they think maybe he – or we – hadn’t heard.)

Also, I just booked our airfare and hotel for our first trip to NYC and it’s super expensive to visit there too. The other times we’ve gone to New York it’s been at least partially on someone else’s dime (a trip Tom earned through his business or this little adventure) so I’m going to have to research inexpensive ways to stay there. (New Yorkers or parents of New Yorkers, send all the advice!)

On the upside, this will give me lots of good blog fodder. Also…we’re done paying for college!

That’s what’s rocking our world these days. What’s going on in yours?
















  1. We loved raising three kids but we both enjoy the empty nest a lot. They are all living on their own in different cities from us now. It is kind of like our early married years before kids and since we are both early retired and financially independent we get to do everything we want without time or money restrictions. It is great seeing how they all are doing fine without any support from us and we all stay in touch. We will actually all be in the same place next week when our oldest, who worked as an engineer a few years then went to med school, graduates as an M.D. I think it is critical to develop shared hobbies with your spouse, and we have many, so that there are lots of fun things to do after you’ve done your job of turning your babies into adults.

    1. Congratulations on your early retirement and your son’s graduation, Steveark! I agree that the empty nest has some wonderful perks.

  2. I really related to this post! Especially your list of the ways our kids leave home. My oldest will be a college senior this fall, and it was unexpectedly hard for me when she opted to live at school last summer and this summer. Being a mom never ends, apparently! Somehow when I had my kids this aspect of motherhood didn’t occur to me. Enjoyed your thoughts.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Susan. Isn’t it true that we never considered this part of motherhood? How could we have known? Especially with our firsts…a lot of unexpected transitions.

  3. I never thought of the baby steps our babies take before they actually leave for good! Interesting. My 3 boys are gone, one in Los Angeles, one in NYC, and the youngest moving to Rochester (1 hour away!) to begin medical school after working in banking for a few years. I never pushed for them to stay close, but now I am torn as they are spread across the country and we are trying to figure out where to possibly retire, to at least be near the one who is most likely to marry and have children! It is difficult, wish I could clone myself.
    As for staying in NYC while visiting, we are able to drive (6.5 hours) or take Amtrak if we want to save money on getting there, although parking is very expensive. When my son first moved there after college, he had a studio, so we just looked for the cheapest, decent motel, to stay in. He keeps moving into slightly larger, nicer apartments, so we usually stay with him now. He never had roommates, but I know most kids do, so you couldn’t stay with him. NY is great, you will have fun visiting.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, Sherri! Yes, Grant will have roommates so staying with him is not an option. Ideally, I’d like to find a reasonable VRBO or AirBnB near where he settles so we could have a bit more space to all hang out together while visiting.

      You do have a dilemma with your boys all over the country. Maybe an appealing vacation home somewhere to get them to all come to you?? :)

  4. {{{Julie}}} Yes, Yes and YES to all of it. My son is at VT, going into his last year — and then? The Navy. Holy moly my emotions are all over the place. I WISH he was going to one place — and staying. I really will not know when I will see him again once he commissions. BUT, I’ve also experienced kids leaving AND returning and providing MORE humans to LOVE. lol.
    If you guys ever want to meet in DC, we have more than enough room to accommodate the visit! You raised your kiddos exactly as you should have – independent and gainfully employed…lol
    Congrats on your HUGE raise with college tuition behind you! I’m excited for the day that happens too! {{HUGS}}

    1. Hi Sharon! It’s so great to see a comment from you. The Navy! Holy moly is right! I can only imagine your emotions right now. I will use that as some perspective. :)

      And you’re so right…kids leaving the nest and going out and doing their thing was the goal, right?

      Would love to get to DC. One of my very favorite places. Big hugs to you too! Let’s stay in touch. And please thank your son for his service!

  5. Hi Julie,
    I found your blog looking for info on teen debit cards. Your posts are very informative. Thx!
    I’m originally from the Midwest (OH, IN, IL), but have lived on Long Island, outside of NYC, for most of my adult life. When planning visits to your son/NYC, you might try posting on TripAdvisor. I have a friend who travels alot and always posts on their site asking for advice prior to her trip and she always get very helpful, specific responses. Also, I wouldn’t confine my search for place to stay only to Manhattan. Think like a commuter and look at some mass transit/Metro solutions in NY, CT or NJ. There are nice, pretty towns that are 20-30 min commuter rides with probably a more reasonable overnight. Even staying in the city, it can take that long just to taxi or Uber relatively short distances, so timewise may be the same, but cost may be less overall and may even offer relief after a day in the city. Just some ideas.
    Good luck. Thx for the helpful blog.

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