Kelly Ripa always keeps it real, and that’s why we love her. Right now, she and husband Mark Consuelos are openly struggling with an emptying nest as their second child — daughter Lola — begins college at New York University. Their first son, Michael, 22, also went to NYU.
Ripa said she was surprised by how much Lola’s leaving affected her youngest, Joaquin, 16 — who is only 20 months younger than his sister.
Ripa quipped that when Consuelos is traveling, it’s now just she and her youngest at home: “It’s just Joaquin and me in the house…the two of us staring at each other.”
“We moved Lola into her dorm and it’s one of those things that you don’t realize how close [the kids are],” Ripa continued. “The younger two are really close in age… I didn’t realize how close they were until it was time to say goodbye.”
Ripa shared a touching series of pics with the audience, including an “overwhelmed” Joaquin asleep on Lola’s dorm bed and photos of Lola with her parents and hugging her little brother. There was also a photo of Lola’s new dorm room, with pink linens and a fridge that “looks like it’s from the ’50s,” according to Ripa.
“She has four roommates so it’s quite crowded in there,” Ripa said of Lola’s dorm habitat. “[The girls] all just met, it’s all brand new. Scary and exciting… the room is so tiny, you just forget how tiny it is!”
Ripa said the family tried to keep things on the light side despite the sadness of saying their farewells. She laughed that her husband’s best advice to Lola was, “Don’t forget to get the syllabus, the syllabus is your best friend! Let the syllabus be your guiding light! Time management is your friend!”
(Great advice from Papa Consuelos, we’re not gonna lie. Are you listening, college students?)
Apparently Lola assured her family she’d be home for Thanksgiving, but Ripa joked that she expected to see Lola sooner than that: “I’ll see you in four hours when you come home because you don’t know how to use the washing machine!”
Relatable. On a more serious note, Ripa told Seacrest that even though Lola won’t be far in terms of distance, “college is where you start establishing yourself as an independent person…if she feels homesick, I have to say to her, ‘You can’t come home. You have to work it out.'” Ripa added, “I treat it [like long-distance]. ‘You’re going to have to figure it out.'”
That is some seriously good momming — especially when your heart is hurting from a case of an almost-empty nest.