Last weekend we packed our van to its capacity with guitars, sweatshirts, storage cubes, XL twin-sized sheets in “classic gray” and one antsy 18-year-old before driving a few hours eastward to deposit the youngest of our three children at college.

That trip was a long time coming, as we have nearly 25 years of active parenthood under our belts. Naturally, we’ve been experiencing mixed emotions.

While local school buses rolled Tuesday morning, we blissfully tuned out that long-familiar bustle and turned our focus instead to “the rest of our lives.”

And that’s when I began realizing one of the biggest changes we’ll undergo has nothing to do with brewing less coffee, doing fewer laundry loads or adjusting to a quieter house.

No, our way of life is about to become “brand” new.

Already out the door with our two collegiates are the boxes of Sunbelt granola bars (they always preferred chocolate chip) that long graced our pantry as go-to school snacks of the packaged variety, not to mention two Apple laptops and several packs of Command strips.

That Axe anti-perspirant/deodorant and body spray? It’s vanished from our bathroom shelves.

Bottles of Gatorade, seemingly so essential for tireless teenage athletes, have vacated the premises, as have the easily portable (and freezable) CapriSun and Juicy Juice packets that were so convenient for extended marching band or athletic excursions.

Currently, there are no just-ripe yellow Dole bananas or bags of “fun-size” Snickers bars around, though they were previously staples as a quick treat or after-school pick-me-up for our kids before (or after) sports and other extra-curricular practices

The Honey Nut Cheerios are MIA, with canisters of Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats (better for the over-50 set to regularly consume) taking over that storage territory.

UnderArmour workout gear is noticeably absent from our laundry room, and stacks of FiveStar notebooks have taken complete leave of our abode, along with sturdy L.L. Bean backpacks.

Centrum Silver vitamins now stand alone in our kitchen cupboard, though they long kept company with One-A-Day Teen capsules.

But, hey — there’s lots more room in our fridge now for Lipton diet green citrus tea, Belposto Pinot Grigio and California avocados.

No one is consuming the last of my Dove Silky Smooth Promises dark chocolate squares on the sly, and there’s a lot less Cottonelle toilet paper on the grocery list.

Sure, we’ll be stocking up on college student favorites like Haribo gummy bears and Clif bars when we make occasional visits to check in — but will there be a need for more Arm & Hammer high efficiency laundry detergent, or merely an overflowing laundry basket in that cramped dorm room?

There’s no question we’re in a brand-new world as empty nesters and it’s likely our lives may be more generic and less colorful in ways we have yet to discover, though we’ll probably land upon different “brands” that will make this phase of adulthood enriching for us, as well.

But the journey of higher education, developing independence and perspective-broadening which our three young adults continue to explore is worth a certain level of sacrifice on their parents’ part.

Oreos, I’m really going to miss you.

And, my dear kids, I’ll miss you, too.

Check out Time for Moore, Jane Turpin Moore’s blog, at