Vail Daily guest column: The third Carnes kid is leaving the nest this week |

Vail Daily guest column: The third Carnes kid is leaving the nest this week

This weekend our family of five becomes, at least in a logistical sense, a family of two, as the youngest child moves more than 1,000 miles away for college.

I have been fortunate to share columns with Vail Daily readers when our firstborn left in 2005 and number two back in 2009, but this is different in that he is the final one, the last to leave the Carnes nest.

So faster than I can say, “Hey Peer, remember the ski race on Gold Peak when you were nine and —” none of our kids will be living under our roof.

As a matter of fact, we’re considering purchasing an entirely new roof complete with a new house underneath it, but that’s a story for another day.

So here we are.

No more will we say, “How was your day … tuck your shirt in … take your hat off … clean your room … close the damn fridge … quit leaving the milk out … don’t you have homework you could be doing … are you going to play that damn game all night long?”

No more report cards. Never again will I shout, “You’ll never make it into college if you don’t get serious with these grades!”

No more ski races, soccer games, parent/teacher conferences, theater performances and groups of giggling teenagers downstairs while we pretend to sleep upstairs.

They are now memories relegated to our collective past.


When his oldest brother left 12 years ago, I screwed up every opportunity to provide last minute advice due to my personal inability to handle the emotions involved with a first-born moving away from home.

I was an embarrassingly pitiful mess, and wasted time pouting in the proverbial corner, feeling sorry for myself, when I should have been helping him mentally adjust to the first of many big changes in his life.

I promised myself to do better with the middle son, but sure enough I screwed that one up as well.

So here we are and here I am, constructing another column with the faux confidence that I’m going to do it right this time, no more diddling around with silly self-inflicted sentiment of a 57-year-old’s failure to deal with the inevitable progression of life as a family ages.

Yep, I really suck at this.

I want to tell him not wait four years to discover why he is there, as he’s wasting a tremendous about of money if he thinks college is high school with alcohol and he can get lucky once a week.

Education is a lot cheaper than ignorance.

But no, evidently I prefer to spend this last week wallowing in self-pity with 35,000 of my closest friends.

What will help, however, is when I receive a phone call within the first few weeks that goes something like this:

“Hey Dad!”

“Hey, Peer. What’s up?”

“Is there enough money in my account to buy (fill in the blank)?”

“Don’t ask me, that’s why you have Quicken. Look for yourself, haven’t you been recording every charge?”

“Um …”

Luckily, some things will never end.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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