The Hole: Facing My Empty-Nest Future

Family in Rome
One last big family trip to Europe

When my daughter left for college two years ago, it was SO HARD because we had (and still have) an amazing mother/daughter relationship. We shopped together, got our nails and hair done together, tried out new restaurants, and went to some spectacular musicals. We even got matching tattoos when she turned 18. To say I missed her when she left would be a HUGE understatement, but I adjusted. It wasn’t that I didn’t miss her like crazy, it was more about knowing in my heart she was where she needed to be and doing what she wanted to be doing. Also, I still had my son at home and would have him for a whole two years before he had to leave, so that helped ease the emptiness.

Rose and Jake Moriarty
Rose and a graduated Jake Moriarty

My time with my son, although different, has been equally wonderful. Together with my husband, the three of us have bonded over baseball, The Walking Dead, and Survivor. Sometimes, only my son and I would do things. Like the time I took him to the Astros celebratory parade after we won the World Series, it was during the day and my husband couldn’t make it, so it was just the two of us. We were hot, we were sweaty, and we waited over an hour for the parade. But when the Astros started rolling down the streets on top of fire trucks, it was amazing! I will never forget that special unique moment with my son.

But our two years has come and gone. And now my son is about to leave for college…

One of the truest sayings about time is the days are long, but the years are short. I never really understood what that meant until my kids started growing up with lightning speed and, eventually, college was staring us in the face.

This summer, I’ve tried to slow down time and focus on making even more memories. We took a family trip to Europe in early June, spent a week at my aunt’s beach house in July, and overall have just been enjoying the summer. I’ve cherished this time with my kids, we’ve created amazing memories and I have not missed the to-do list I am used to methodically checking off every day.

Mother-daughter Disney Tattoos
Bonding over Disneyland: matching mom and daughter tattoos

But alas, we did not stop time…

My boy leaves for college this week. After that, my girl leaves. I’m so proud of my kids and who they are and what they’re doing. And although I’d like nothing more than to stop time, or even slow it down a little bit, I decided to choose to embrace the change. And so I face my empty-nest future knowing that wonderful things still await me and my family and the hole they left behind I will take it upon myself to fill with new skills, adventures and passions.

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