Commemorating milestones with a photo shoot appears to have become a celebratory requisite, and one funny Mississippi couple flipped the camera on themselves in honor of their youngest child leaving the house in a jubilant “empty nester” photo shoot that has since gone massively viral on Facebook.
Photographer Haley Jones told Fox News that she will be moving out of her parents’ Pontotoc home on June 1 into her very own apartment in Oxford, relocating for her full-time job as a nanny. The 22-year-old said that her parents always encouraged her love of photography, inspiring her to pursue the passion as a side hustle.
“I have always had a passion for it and my parents pushed me to start my own business and I am forever grateful for that,” she dished.
Jones said she wanted to snap a photo of her parents, Amy and Randy English, at the office of her new apartment building when she signed a lease for her own place back in March – but her mom had an even better idea for an “an empty nester photo shoot.”
“We had never seen one so we just threw it together!” Jones said. “The funny signs were ALL my mom’s idea and I think that’s what really made the pictures so funny!”
"We have a crazy sense of humor and we just thought it would be funny to do something like this," the photographer added to Fox 35.
In the series of silly pictures, the happy couple was all smiles as they proudly held a sign reading "Empty nesters, June 1, 2019" in front of their house. They were also photographed hugging their dogs, Marley and Buck (otherwise known as the "favorite kids") and giggling alongside an "Expecting zero kids" note as they posed with a trendy, oversized balloon.
On Tuesday, Jones shared the images to her business’ Facebook page, though she never expected them to win so much attention. In the days since, the post has gone wildly viral with over 72,000 likes, 58,000 comments and 150,000 shares — a happy surprise that the woman says “means the world” to her.
"Most parents are a little sad when they hit the 'empty nest' phase of life. HOWEVER, my parents seem thrilled,” Jones joked in the caption.
“My business is getting out there which means I will be doing more of what I love! It’s truly surreal and I am very grateful!” she told Fox News.
As for the Facebook commenters, many agreed that the refreshing, relatable series of pictures made for “the most adorable photo session ever.”
“I love that your parents have a great sense of humor, and the kind of relationship that honors that they are entering a new time in their journey as a couple,” one fan wrote.
“Love it! Always heard that teenagers are a bit difficult at times and that is God’s way of making their leaving home easier for the parents!” another laughed.
“Empty nest hit me hard – honestly still does, my husband not so much! But, we did something similar and were very happy once our youngest turned 20 – we celebrated ‘surviving teenagers’” another agreed.
“Wish I thought of this when we became empty nesters! We love our kids, but it’s so nice to see them now with their own kids. Plus we get to play grandparents which is a blast,” one user chimed in.
Moving forward, a delighted Jones told Fox 35 that the shoot’s successful reception feels “amazing” and that she still plans to visit home frequently, as her mom and dad "can't get rid of me that easily.”
The English’s are also parents to sons Preston and Ethyn, who both moved out of the family home in recent years.