Empty Next to Empty Nest

The next chapter

This weekend we celebrated our son’s college graduation. Now, he moves into the next chapter of his life.

This past weekend the nest officially became empty as we celebrated a milestone in my son’s life.  He graduated from college!  Family came into town for the graduation ceremony and others arrived in time for the dinner celebration. As if we had not celebrated enough, we invited everyone over the next day to celebrate more!
 
We were very proud parents all weekend; from seeing him march in and hearing his name called on stage to being reminded that he is the first boy on my dad’s side to ever graduate college!   It’s crazy to think of how fast time flies.  It seems as if it was just yesterday when we brought him home from the hospital.  Just “yesterday” he started first grade, went to Middle School and then High School.  It was “yesterday”  when he was four years old that I became a basketball mom.  For 18 years I’ve proudly, although not always quietly, sat in those stands through this last college season.  So, we’ve had a lot of yesterday’s that have led us to today/this weekend.
 

What’s Next?

It’s two days post graduation, Jon is officially an alumnus of The University of Texas at Dallas.  All of the family have now headed back to their respective homes and on this Mother’s Day Jon is on a plane headed to Italy.  So, the question is what’s next?  Not what next for Jon, we know he has a job that he will soon start but what’s next for me?
Until you walk in these shoes you probably won’t understand.  For 22 years I’ve been a working mom whose life was pretty much centered around her son.  As with many mom’s, I’ve been to every school function along with 99% of the basketball games.  I’ve celebrated every good moment and comforted through the not so good moments.   Bottom line, I’ve basically just been a mom!  So, when your child is grown, working and taking care of themselves what do you do?

Empty Nest or Empty Next:

Before I can officially get to the Empty Nest I need to work through the Empty “Next”.  😃  It’s time to figure out what do I like to do?  Do I have any hobbies that aren’t related to being a basketball mom?  Actually, at this point, it’s time to find my way back to myself and ask ‘who is Valerie Hatcher.”  Being “mom” is who I have been.  No matter my job outside of the house or the title I hold there, mom has been right on the top of the list.  Actually “Jon’s mom” is who I am in our community.

Finding My Passion:

I think there is a huge opportunity now.  An opportunity  to figure out what I want and what I like to do other than being a basketball mom.   Tomorrow, I begin to find my rhythm.  I will start by doing some to those things that I “never have enough time” to do.  Maybe I will find those extra hours that I wish the days had. I will find my passion!  That shouldn’t be too hard as the two things I’ve always liked to do were shop and write.  So, now I decide how to consistently marry those two things.  Maybe I will have time to blog more.
I don’t expect I will have this all figured out by the time Jon returns from Italy but I can at least begin moving forward.  Are you an empty nester?  If so, tell me how you’ve moved from an empty “nexter” to an empty nester.  I would love some tips.

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