This past month, my younger son married a fabulous woman that he has known for over a decade. The wedding took place in a small, rustic resort on the shores of Lake Michigan. About 100 guests gathered for the weekend to celebrate this happy occasion. The Friday evening “welcome dinner” was an informal barbeque, followed by a bonfire and s’mores on the beach late into the night. All weekend, family and friends kayaked, canoed, swam, took boat rides, hiked, biked, connected, and lounged by the pristine lake. The outdoor wedding, which was officiated by my older son just before sunset, was beautiful and touching (thank goodness for waterproof mascara!). We celebrated, danced and ate amazing food until the wee hours of the night. I was about the most relaxed mother-of-the-groom ever…thanks to my commitment to “let go” as a central intention for the weekend.
As I reflect on the wedding through the lens of letting go, I realize how helpful that was in allowing me to relax and just be present for what was a major life event. I did not want to lose time or energy worrying, so I tried to let go of things that I could not control. That included how others experienced the weekend; I trusted that each guest would find what they wanted to do without me assuming the role of cruise director. I let go of worrying about what might go wrong, and just rolled with the goofs. After all, those make the best stories later. So, when I heard about the fact that my son carried around his and his fiancé’s wedding ring on his rent-car keychain, which he tossed to his father as he was boarding a boat, I just laughed (and tried hard not to picture the rings landing in the lake). I let guests figure out sleeping arrangements in the cozy cabins that they shared with as many as eight others. I let go of trying to manage a timeline, and eased into the laid-back pace of the weekend.
Some things I could control, but even with those I loosened my grip. Every decision leading up to the “welcome dinner” which Travis’ dad and I hosted was made through the lens of what the bride and groom wanted. It was fun to be creative and let go of my outdated vision of what a wedding rehearsal dinner might look like. The Friday night gathering was intimate, casual and reflected the kids’ style and sensibilities. When it came time to decide on table decorations, I let go of worrying about my feeble abilities in flower-arranging, and recruited several friends who are accomplished gardeners to help. The resulting 20+ floral arrangements were stunning, elegant, and completely stress-free for me.
My on-going challenge is to let go as my son steps into his new life as a husband. He is so capable, caring, smart and responsible. I know that he is an excellent partner for his wife, and now I can relax into watching them design and live out a lifetime of love. The only things I won’t let go of are the happy memories from the wedding, and my commitment to support my son and his bride in every healthy way.
Letting go may not be easy at times, but it makes life so much simpler. How do you let go at work? What are the things you can control, and those you cannot? How do you embrace stepping back, and when? If I can support you in those choices, please let me know. Have a great month!
Sharon Keys Seal