Holding On & Letting Go

Holding On & Letting Go


I can’t be alone is this predicament; surveying the bits of our lives, deciding what we’ll hold on to and what we’ll let go, and then truly embracing contentment in these shifts.

For 19 straight years, I’ve visited a cabin in the north woods. I was just a girl the first year I arrived, welcomed up north by a new side of the family. The time spent there has contributed many of the highlights that have defined my years, and to have joined once again was a gift.

Memories of years past rushed in as I drove the county roads…

Winding back to the early days – young and carefree. Packing for myself. Planning outfits. Swimwear that consisted of two pieces. Bare feet on the dashboard of the passenger’s side and loud music pouring from the radio. Uninterrupted days of sunning in the fishing boat and nightcaps full of laughter.

Then follow the trips as an exhausted new mom with an intense and sensitive early riser, covering and smuggling my wide-awake baby out of the cabin in the wee hours of the morning, as not to wake the 18 other bodies snoozing in peace. Driving gravel roads – in shifts – until the sun was high enough in the sky to indicate life and breakfast in full swing back at camp. Pushing the stroller around the property sharing stories with my babe and keeping the not-yet-walker entertained outdoors. Catching bits and pieces of the conversations flowing from various groupings of family as I pass by. Vacation was hard work, but the scenery was much better than home, and the company couldn’t be beat.

Next, years as a mama of two – under three – juggling naps and needy babes, desperately trying to steal a moment here or there to myself to partake in the craft garage, or read a book, or think real individual thoughts. Casting Snoopy poles into the lake and taming a feisty toddler who wanted to do it all himself. Watching the wonder in his eyes as he worked to grasp the slippery fish at the end of the line. Dipping my sweet girl’s baby toes in the lake for the first time, getting covered by her splashes. Setting her up in the cooler compartment of the giant floating island – a pool all to herself.

Then the shared year as a separated family, trying to keep tradition for the kids and balance needs, felling my way through complete uncertainty the best way I knew how. The moments of heaviness that began to sprout were quickly squashed by the comfort extended by a supportive and unconditionally loving family.

And finally, as a single mama with two growing and increasingly independent children, grateful for another dance in the woods. Feeling great balance in making individual memories, side-by-side, and creating some brand new all together. Gifted enough space or breath in this season to view our adventures from a distance, stepping in and out, taking things in as ‘new’ again through their eyes.

For many years, I found comfort in the familiar. Recurrent groups of people. Big feelings underneath those combinations of faces and characters. Anticipated celebrations – days that included specific activities and ceremonial menus, roles that people developed over time. I found purpose and necessity in each person’s part and presence. Traditions are my heartbeat. I dreamed of sharing the guts of those experiences with my children, gifting them with the same gold I’ve gathered over time.

The gathering took on a different shape this year. Families are changing – shifting shape. Faces were added. Faces were missed. In anticipation, I found myself feeling uneasy about the changes at times. There is a piece of me that desperately wants to hold on to the yesterdays of cabinhood – of Life. I remind myself that the yesterdays are there – inside – part of my foundation. They’ve been realized and have made great deposits in our lives. We are to build upon them in new and different ways, allowing new gold to surface.

It has been, and will remain to be, a constant exercise in evolution…finding a balance of holding on and letting go. Around every corner, life has new unanticipated gifts hidden behind its back, waiting to reveal the beauty once you’re willing to move forward to find it.


  1. so, so beautifully written. <3 what gorgeous memories!

  2. Holding on & Letting Go resonates very deeply with me.

    This was a beautiful post, lady!!!

    • Thanks, love. I find it present everywhere, around every corner. It’s got to be one of life’s grand lessons and I’m a perpetual student. Can I just say I’m so glad we’ve connected. You’ve inspired me over the past year in various ways, expanded my mindset, and I’m grateful. Cheers… J

  3. Michelle says

    Ohhh, yes.
    Beautifully said. I have very similar experiences, and therefore relate to so much of what you’ve written.
    I love the positivity you express in your final paragraph.

    Michelle (facingwest99)

    • We must connect, friend. There is something so wonderfully comforting and healing about someone who “gets” you. I suspect we live parallel lives. XO

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