This hugely popular song from the movie *Frozen* has become my constant reminder and mantra as my own life’s transitions have taken place over these past years – especially during the holiday season – and I hope my own story today will be helpful as you work through the life stage you might be going through with your own children.

Where to start?

First, there were our 3 children becoming post-college grads and me working through the stage of… “What? You are staying in the mountains for Christmas?” Or, “You and your work friends are going on a Christmas cruise?” Or, “Really, you can’t get away from work to come home – not even for a few days?”

 Let it go, Mitzi, let it go.

Then the weddings happened and our adult “children” had other commitments to their spouses’ families, of course…..but my mother’s heart was saying, “Will things ever be the same again?” I already knew the answer, “No, of course not – they will never be the same.” I shed a tear.. or five. 
And even today, honestly and selfishly, I still cling to the hope that in some way, the holidays will allow me, the mother, to have all my family together in my home again- enjoying each other and doing what we always had done.

Do you harbor these feelings, too, if you’re in the same boat?

 Let it go, Mitzi, let it go.

Gloriously, the next stage was when the grand babies began to arrive. Now, we had a totally new set of dynamics to cope with regarding who was staying in their own homes and who would and could travel.

Bob and I raised very independent children and when they proclaimed they would be in their own homes for Christmas, with their own children, I knew then that my family Christmases in our own home were now over probably forever. So I prayed..

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 Let it go, Mitzi, let it go.

 Through my tears, I eventually came to the realization that Bob and I would never again be spending zillions of hours decorating our home, setting up guest rooms, baking, planning for meals, cooking, in addition to serving and cleaning up and, even though we both cherished it all, I can now finally proclaim that we love this aspect of our evolving lifestyle and I still love cooking for Bob and I and a few friends at the holidays.

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And today, the veil of sadness descends only once in awhile – and we await with huge anticipation those infrequent times we can all be together in our home in Wichita, Kansas at Christmas time and we travel as much as we can to where our children are. 

This is huge progress for me and I have really learned to just…

Let it go, Mitzi, let it go.

I’m happy to share that new traditions are now in place in my children’s own homes and they still keep alive some of our long time family traditions, too. And, just like our own evolving life stages, I hope these traditions continue to evolve as my childrens’ families grow and change course on holidays.

Now, I help with the huge holiday dinners. My daughter and 2 daughter- in- laws are all fabulous cooks. They carry on our family traditions by setting lovely tables with delicious traditional holiday recipes- and I can’t tell you how blessed I am to have these 3 beautiful women below in my life.

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I relish getting to enjoy the meal with my grandchildren, adult children and their spouses, and marvel at how they are making their own traditions many of which have been passed down by our own and also their spouse’s families. I now treasure in my Boomer heart the continuation of family rituals through their plans and perspectives while giving me the gift of experiencing them without all the endless work.

 Each family decorates for Christmas with many of our own family decorations handed down to them to cherish for their memory making connectedness. It’s such a joy to see their trees, glowing with light after a family meal together, everyone safe and sound. I know how lucky and blessed I am. 

We have always had the Christmas morning egg strata casserole while during or opening presents and this is still happening. Christmas Eve has been a prime rib meal since my kids were in grade school and still happens today. But now, this very festive and special meal is planned around which Christmas Eve church service works for the majority of the 9 grandchildren’s ages.

 My “girls” set a fabulous table that sets the mood that something very special is about to occur. Everyone loves this meal experience – even hearing the oohs and aahs from the children’s table brings a smile to this grandmother’s memory bank. 

On their adult own, they decide who will host and who will bring what dishes. They have taken the traditional baton and run with it in grace and style – making this mother and mother- in- law so very proud.

As for decorating for Christmas, at this empty nest stage, I bring Christmas to our home in Wichita, that we call Cypress, by inviting close friends for a fireside glass of wine and goodies, and they express their joy to me by saying, “Oh Mitzi, I love this time together, one of my favorite times of Christmas”.

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And here’s the secret:

 Let it go, Mitzi, Let it go 

meaning now, let go of having to have complicated time consuming foods, the house perfectly decorated or the need to have it in perfect order…clean yes…perfect…no.

And this Christmas, all the families will be with their spouse’s families as we trade each year for Thanksgiving or Christmas so we can all take turns being together. What a brilliant plan they set in motion from the beginning of their married lives.

Since we had a marvelously wonderful Colorado Thanksgiving with all 17 of us together, what will Bob and I do for our Christmas without our children and grandchildren? We will have Christmas with my mom who turns 92 on the 28th. With my sister, husband, and nephew, the 6 of us will do prime rib and our traditional Christmas meal. Here’s a picture of my sister and I with our mother from Mother’s Day this year.

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Only this year, I asked if I could cook them the version from my Holiday Deliciousness e-cookbook [ available for free for your families, too, as a download, on https://mitzibeach.com ] and they said,“YES!” It’s the same exact traditional meal without tons of sugars, fat, and calories.

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So, as I prepare, I am saying…

 Yes, let it go, Mitzi, let it go – but only the unrealistic expectations.

I will never ever let go of the hope of this season and sharing my love and joy in new ways at this new life stage, and I know I’m not alone, as every life stage presents us all with new opportunities, new freedoms, and best of all, new found joy in enjoying exactly where we are in life at this holiday season and all year round.

I’d love for you to share your own stories of having to learn to let go in the comments on this post. It would be so helpful for me to read about your own experiences.

Thank you!

Happy Holidays

Mitzi Beach, ASID, NCIDQ, CAPS

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