Who said that an empty nest is a lonely one?
Two parents in Texas have gone viral for a hilariously honest photo shoot celebrating their next chapter without the kids at home.
Dalila and Juan Perez officially became empty-nesters when their youngest child got married and moved out in August, inspiring the couple of 34 years to mark the moment with a hysterical photo shoot, Insider reports.
With the house to themselves after three decades, the parents went all-out for the lighthearted portrait session outside the family home in Pharr.
In the series of now-viral pictures by photographer Melyssa Anne Moreno, the couple looked glum with an empty bird’s nest and a sign teasing that they were "so sad” that the kids were all grown up, as they laughed and brandished a board that read "ha ha ha ha just kidding" in a follow-up shot.
The couple, clad in matching tees, also shared a “cheers” with coffee mugs, held up a trendy, oversized balloon of the number zero with a sign proclaiming they were "expecting 0 kids,” rode around on their motorcycle, threw confetti, and walked off down the street, holding hands.
“It was so fun!” Moreno recently told Fox News of the big photo shoot starring “the sweetest couple,” adding that she never expected the pictures to go so far and wide. The photographer’s post of the Perez photos has since gone viral with over 63,000 shares, 22,000 likes and 16,000 comments.
“What a gorgeous couple! I totally want to be friends with them,” one fan wrote.
“What a great idea! They look like [they] got a lot of living to do… don’t wait....just do it!” another agreed. “Adorable couple. Kids must be so happy for their parents.”
“I never imagined that my images would go this far,” Moreno said, adding that the reach has been “amazing.”
Beyond the silly shoot, the parents truly are proud of the adults that their children, ages 22 to 33, have grown up to be today, Dalila Perez said.
“All our children are independent, educated, responsible and confident. We see them as productive to society, all are public servants,” the mom told HuffPost. “Our eldest, John, is a major in the Air Force, Jacob is a sergeant in the Dallas police department, Jonas is an assistant principal and Joy is a teacher.”
Now that they’re empty-nesters, she and her husband look forward to traveling more and spending time with their seven grandkids.
"Our dream is to RV our way to [our children] and spoil our grandchildren, visit national sites, and ride our Harley-Davidson down the hills of Texas and meet other 'empty-nesters' like us," she told Insider.
And now that all four kids have flown the coop, the proud parent joked that her home is hers to “reclaim” at last – with plans to transform one bedroom into a craft room, declutter closets, give away old furniture and repaint rooms to colors of her choosing.
Though the Perezes are ready to embrace the adventure ahead, Dalila admitted that it was challenging when her eldest children first moved away.
"The hardest part was seeing the first one leave because we weren't ready for the detachment and it hurts,” she told the outlet. “By the time the last one left, we were ready for it because we knew that our children can have great and productive lives away from home. It gets easier as life goes on."