The Nest

Full-circle moments often hit without warning and strip the breath right from our lungs. Let’s jump to February 18, 2021, the day our daughter had to check out of school early because she was physically nauseous.

This day was what she’d worked for, tirelessly went after, set intentions for, and believed in. On this day, our girl sat on our kitchen island wrapped in a blanket, physically shaking, ready to see if it would all pay off when she clicked “the button.” The only school she wanted was the one that adorned her onesie when she was little, where she wore the cheerleading outfit at her dad’s alma mater during a Daddy/Daughter football game.

She believed she could, so she did, and the click of the button exploded our hearts. We could not have been more excited and happy for our girl, but equally, the reality of what this meant hit hard. She’s in. She’s leaving. Our baby Nole is now a NOLE. Noles live in Tallahassee.

Senior year is a blink. I was committed to being a YES mom all of senior year because if there is one thing 2020 taught us, it’s that you never know when the choice will be made for you. So, YES to all the things, and it was great.

Sure, the football season ended abruptly due to the ever-elusive COVID, and our daughter cheered her last high school game without realizing it was the last. However, each YES was heightened because we appreciated it; we knew the opportunity could be taken at any moment, which was a gift. Being a YES mom means you’re busy, and when you’re busy, you immerse yourself. And when you immerse yourself, time seems to move quicker.

READ: The Sound of Silence: Life After Littles

I threw myself into being the dorm Pinterest mom. Planning the girls’ dorm became my obsession. It felt like something I could control as I moved toward a season that felt entirely out of my control. I never bought anything without their input and consent, but I’m sure they thought I was nuts at some point, and I’m okay with that. Our guest room quickly transformed into the holder of all things dorm. When the pendant arrived (yes, pendant because, duh, they need cute lighting), my husband asked what the, how the, and I said, “Shush,” and please let me do this.


One night, I poured myself a glass of wine and wandered into the guest room to stare at all of the items that were going to make my daughter and her bestie feel cozy, loved, and provide a warm place to land that could become their sanctuary.

I realized something that brought me to my knees. Cue the air-knocked-out-of-my-lungs reference. I had sat just like this, on the carpet in her first nursery while she was still in my belly. I was looking at the perfectly arranged diapers and the neatly stacked books. I tested the monitor to ensure the batteries worked (pre-wifi) and dreamed about when I could bring her to this nest. This nest that we’d built. With the softest sheets, warmest blankets, and perfectly coordinated decor. I’d done it again. I’d made a nest. The first nest I placed her in, I could watch her all night. The second nest I put her in, I had to let go.


She’s now going into her senior year of college. I’ve moved her in and out of that sweet freshman dorm and in and out of two apartments. There have been countless tailgates and football games, sorority Mom and Dad weekends, a summer abroad, and now a summer in the Midwest interning. The breath returns slowly to your lungs. Witnessing your little birdie soaring is the greatest gift, and although you can no longer watch them all night, you get a front-row seat to witness the magic of what your tribe poured into them during those first 18 years, and it is amazing.

About the Author

Nicole DeLoreto is a Jacksonville native and calls the beaches home. She loves journeying through life with her husband, Derek, and being a mama to their adult children, Anabella (21) and Dominic (18). Nicole is a former member of the ROAR of the Jaguars and loves her hometown team. She is the owner and founder of Yoga Mix in Neptune Beach, where she is committed to not only being an owner but also a student of the practice. She is a lover of yoga, of course, along with good wine, friends who are family, most recently golf, and all things the salt life.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here