Maternity photoshoots, one-of-a-kind pregnancy announcements and gender reveals have become commonplace with new parents these days. It’s now trendy to throw a party for every milestone in your journey to becoming a parent, no matter how minor.
But when my parents were preparing for me, for example, a gender reveal was an ultrasound appointment. A pregnancy announcement was a copy of a sonogram emailed out to the family. Monthly Instagrams documenting a baby’s growth weren't a thing -- you just developed the film of a disposable camera and filled a photo album. The generation of baby pictures that aren’t on cell phones is probably dead and gone.
Parents Vicky and Jeff Piper of Dayton, Ohio (who are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this year) recognized this shift and decided to have some fun with it, organizing an “empty nester” photoshoot when their youngest child went off to college.
“In honor of our next chapter...here you go,” read the caption.
Yes, they're literally holding an empty bird's nest.
“If you’re in your 40s or 50s, when you had your kids, you missed all these beautiful photo opportunities kids do now. So there was definitely an element of ‘Let’s join those whippersnappers!’” Vicky told Today.
The photos mimic the exact format of pregnancy announcement photoshoots that are inundating social media these days -- even when there isn’t a baby involved.
And while I love seeing the creativity of young moms -- because, let’s be real, the dads couldn’t care less -- I think I’m partial to this new era of empty nester shoots.
The parents recognize the fact that they missed out on the new baby photoshoot trend, referencing how kids got their photos done back in the day. “We drove our babies to Sears or Olan Mills to get their photo,” Vicky wrote.
She’s not wrong. “Glamour shots” may have been before my time, but you can bet that there are photos of me and my sister up on my parents’ wall with my 8-year-old self cheesing real big with my hair perfectly blown out.
The Pipers thought the photoshoot would be a fun alternative to the kind of attention they were getting from their peers.
“So many people were so concerned, like, ‘Are you guys going to be OK?’ We just had a different perspective about the whole thing: both kids are doing great, and they’re in college, and that’s awesome!” Vicky said. “For the last 20 years, we’ve been focused on the kids and trying to take care of ourselves too. And now we can focus on us.”
The Pipers aren’t the only parents who look at their empty nest status as a celebration of sorts. Parents all over, having done their jobs and raised their kids, are enjoying their newfound freedom.
Welcome to the Empty Nester era.