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Al Roker is every parent as he reflects on son Nick's 1st college visit

The father of three contemplates his empty-nest years as he and wife Deborah Roberts take their youngest child on his first college tour.
/ Source: TODAY

Al Roker is no stranger to seeing his kids grow up and move on.

After all, his 34-year-old daughter, chef Courtney Roker Laga, tied the knot earlier this year, and his 22-year-old daughter, Leila Roker, is a journalist who is currently based in Paris.

But that doesn’t mean Al’s quite ready to say so long to his youngest child and hello to his empty-nest years.

“We’ve started college touring with young Nicholas,” he explained to his 3rd hour of TODAY co-hosts Tuesday. “It’s hard to believe. He’s 19 and we took our first college tour yesterday.”

Al shared a photo from the trip on Instagram and in the pic, he and his wife, ABC News senior correspondent Deborah Roberts, can be seen smiling alongside Nick.

“He enjoyed it,” Al said of his son. “We’ve got a couple more (to visit). ... It was a bit of a drive, but we had a nice time, a little family time together.”

Even Pepper, the family dog, joined Nick Roker for his first college tour.
Even Pepper, the family dog, joined Nick Roker for his first college tour.debrobertsabc/ Instagram

But when he thinks ahead to the fact that they’ll soon be spending a lot less family time together, Al admitted it seemed “odd” to him.

“I just ... I don’t know that I’m ready for him to leave yet,” Al confessed with a bittersweet expression that any parent could understand. “Time marches on.”

At least the prospect of an empty nest comes after Al and Nick had the chance to spend a lot of quality time together during the pandemic, which the proud father discussed in an interview with AARP last fall.

“The nicest part about this experience has been spending more time with Nick, and watching him grow and learn,” Al, 67, shared. “You want the best for your kids, and this period has been hard because all our normal routines have just been turned upside down. But Nick is adaptable.”

Together, he and Nick filmed their “What We’re Cooking” Instagram videos throughout the pandemic.

“Nick started running the camera, then started commenting from the wings, and before I knew it, boom, he was like any other good broadcaster — trying to pad his part and doing his best to take over,” Al said.