A Summer of Letting Go

summertimeThe only thing that we can count on, apparently, is change. It’s one of those things that I understand at an intellectual level, but that I struggle with in everyday life.  Since my boys were very little, we’ve spent time every summer camping. It’s a family tradition. Summertime with my boys has always meant packing up the van and heading off for a week here and a weekend there. It’s something we all look forward to.

hikingExcept that this year my eldest son, who is just heading into his final year of high school, found a summer job. (He is planning to go to Kenya for a couple of weeks in the spring to help build a school, and he needs to finance that venture. Thus the job, a quintessentially Canadian one, making donuts at Tim Horton’s). And while I am delighted that he’s found work, it put a crimp in the usual summertime routine.

This was a different summer for us, a summer closer to home. Fortunately, summertime in Victoria is no great hardship. While my eldest boy donned his “Tim Horton’s Career Wear” and headed off to work, his younger brothers and I went hiking or spent time on the Inner Harbour in Victoria, enjoying the buskers and the crowds of tourists. The boys had more time to get together with friends. And my middle son spent one week at a soccer camp and another playing rugby. He was in his element.

icecreamA particularly happy memory for me is the time we spent at Shawnigan Lake with my sister and her girls. We had access to her friend’s house and private dock and the kids had a ball, leaping into the warm lake water, floating around on boogie boards, and sunning themselves on the dock. They were most impressed when the “Ice cream Boat” pulled up to our dock, tinkly ice cream jingle and all!

I grew up near Shawnigan and spent summers as a teenager working and playing there. Somehow I’d forgotten what an amazing place it is for kids.

campfireThanks to my mom, who came and stayed with my eldest son, the rest of us were still able to get away camping for a week on Hornby Island, something we’ve done every summer for many years.

And we did have one weekend when all three boys were together for a camp out on Sidney Spit.  The picture to the left is one that I treasure, the only one I have from this summer of all three boys gathered around a campfire. I’m not sure how many more shots like this I’m going to get.

This has been a summer of letting go, of learning, little by little, to release my hold on the way I want things to be. It’s been a summer of watching my boy grow up, of welcoming the young man he is becoming. It’s been a summer of redefining my role as a mom and redefining what summer looks like for my family. I can’t say it’s been easy. But it has been necessary. And the summer? It didn’t look at all like our usual summer. It was completely different. And still very, very good.


About Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.
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18 Responses to A Summer of Letting Go

  1. it all looks so fun – and i’m kind of into the ice cream boat as well. 😉

  2. karenflello says:

    It can be hard to let go when you don’t know what is in the wings, waiting to step into that void left by the change. But there is excitement to treasure in that, too… And some of that comes from sharing in the boys’ new experiences, career wear and all. And I love the picture of the three of them “by the campfire”. :).

  3. kingmidget says:

    See, if you were a dad, you would be looking forward, tremendously, to the day they leave. 🙂 My oldest started college a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s just the trauma the last couple of years have done to our relationship, but I’m happy to see him go. I haven’t really missed him yet. I’ve tried to explain this to a couple of friends this way: I can’t miss him because he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. I also am very much ready to be done with the active parenting chapter of my life. So, the letting go — I’ve gone through it the last couple of years and am now on the other end, enjoying the results of the letting go.

    • I can’t deny that there are moments where I’d cheerfully turf the kid! But what has surprised me is how suddenly he transformed from the kid who was always around to the one I hardly ever see.
      I like your perspective, that our children, as they head off into the world, are doing what they are meant to do.

  4. Seb says:

    Your boy should build a Tim Horton’s in Kenya. Think about it….

  5. Looks like a wonderful Summer. I know what you mean about that change. Both of my kids worked 2 jobs all Summer….I only saw them running in to get a change of clothes. It was very strange.

  6. El Guapo says:

    And you’re also sending your boys into the world with great memories of family time.

  7. Brigitte says:

    Oh Sally, this looks so beautiful and it looks like you and your boys had such a great time. What wonderful memories you are passing on. Letting go is difficult but it allows us to welcome in new things, opportunities and memories. Summer is sweet but I’m ready for Fall. And how wonderful what your son is doing — you must be so very proud!!

  8. I wish, wish, wish my mother had lived in today’s era. So much, I would have loved reading her insights…as you have so lovingly and eloquently provided for your boys, Sally. Yea for you!!!

  9. One day you will look back on these blogs and be so glad you caught those moments. What a treasure…and don’t worry. You’ll always be their Mum, no matter what! 🙂

  10. Denise Hisey says:

    Beautiful memories!
    I had a hard time letting go, too. It didn’t seem like it could possibly be time to let go. I hadn’t finished my job yet! 🙂
    Be assured, you not only adapt, but you will actually enjoy it one day.

  11. Dear Denise,

    I urgently need you to get in touch with me please. Please email me at dingdongitsmrwrong@yahoo. co.uk

    Thank you


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