DUNEDIN, Fla. — It’s a day some parents look forward to and others dread: sending off all the kids to college and officially deeming yourselves “empty nesters.”
For one Dunedin couple, a photoshoot they arranged to celebrate their two daughters going off to college, is turning into a lot of positive traction on social media.
Doug and Candi Lyons just became empty-nesters this Summer when their youngest daughter, Morgan, went off to college at Louisiana State University. Their older daughter, Lauren, is already in attendance at Auburn University.
The Lyons collaborated with their friend Safety Harbor photographer Kamran Malik, who goes by MrKamraMan, to pull off the fun photoshoot.
Some of the photos feature a play-off of a baby announcement/gender reveal showing the couple as if they are expecting zero kids, as each holds a pink balloon with their college-aged daughters' names on it.
Others show the couple popping open a bottle of champagne to cheers to the occasion.
In another set of photos, the couple ventures off in a red convertible and look over a road map.
As a play on the term "empty nesters," another photo shows the Lyons holding an empty bird house.
The Lyons are high school sweethearts. They've been together for 35 years—and say they're still laughing!
“Especially now," Candi said. "The world needs more humor right now. Honestly. We need humor. We have to laugh. If you can’t laugh at yourselves who can you laugh at?"
But what if the girls do venture home after graduation? "We told them you’re welcome for a visit anytime just be sure to book your room on airbnb because it’s not your room anymore," Doug said with a laugh.
Just what do the couple’s kids think about the photo shoot? The two girls had different reactions. Morgan thought it was hilarious and Lauren was pretty ticked—hoping her dad doesn’t turn her room into an office!
The Lyons hope their photo shoot inspires other parents to relish in the moment.
“The kids are out having the adventure of their lives, why aren’t you having an adventure at the same time?” Doug added with a chuckle.
The Lyons say the only downfall: No longer being able to blame that pile of dirty dishes in the sink on the kids.
Malik, AKA MrKamraMan, says he's just happy he was able to play a role in the fun adventure. “I was an actuary for 25 years which I don’t think I made people smile a whole lot but being a photographer it really brings me happiness and joy that my work will live on people’s walls for the rest of their lives," he said.
Malik has been helping a lot of people smile these days from his free front porch COVID shoots, to complimentary head shots for the unemployed.
“You want to uplift the community. It’s difficult and unprecedented times these days so we want to do something to have a little fun," Malik added.
As for the Lyons, they're look forward to their newest adventures as a party of two— this time with a whole lot less dirty laundry!