The Hidden Meanings Behind a Weekend in Michigan

I recently went to my cousin’s lake house in Michigan with my mom and my daughter for a girls’ weekend. We had an amazing time and I came home relaxed and refreshed. We did a lot of fun things; but it was more than what we did that made it so special. Our agenda, while full – my cousin is a person after my own heart – was nothing particularly out of the ordinary. Yet each event carried emotion and meaning for me.

What we did:

  • Watched sunsets from the deck
  • Early morning kayaking on the lake
  • Coffee in cute coffee shop
  • Hiked through the woods
  • Shopped in town
  • Ate lunch in local brewery
  • Walked through the farmers’ market
  • Sampled ciders at local Cidery
  • Hiked to the water’s edge of Baldy dunes

What each of these really meant to me:

  • Watched sunsets from the deck – why are sunsets so much more amazing over the water?! This was a time of awe and appreciation for how truly beautiful the world is.
  • Early morning kayaking on the lake – therapy time. In the early morning quiet my cousin and I shared stories and secrets that flowed easily on the still-as-glass lake.
  • Coffee in cute coffee shop – a time to be whimsical. This stop was a request by my daughter, who needed cute pics for Instagram and her SnapChat story.
  • Hiked through the woods – back to nature. It was so quiet in the dense woods of northern Michigan.
  • Shopped in town – a lesson in fiscal responsibility when my daughter saw the prices in the upscale touristy stores!
  • Ate lunch in local brewery – a time for bonding. Over lunch we shared generational stories and memories, and my daughter took it all in. Stories of people from my childhood whom she’s never met; stories of distant relatives whose names she’s only heard but that have shaped our family.
  • Walked through the farmers’ market – a chance to expand our world and meet local people. I love farmer’s markets! Not only because you can get delicious, locally sourced food, but also because you expand your circle when you talk to the people you buy from.
  • Sampled ciders at local Cidery – a time to have fun but also set a good example for my daughter, who is always watching. She needs to see me doing adult things in a responsible manner.
  • Hiked to the water’s edge of Baldy dunes – another awe inspiring moment. This one reminded me of how small we truly are. Seeing the endless green and blue water of Lake Michigan, I I felt pretty insignificant. Yet i also felt inspired, to make my footprints count.

Phew – it was a full weekend! Quality time with other women, whether family or friends, is so important for each of us. I always learn something new when I’m just hanging out with other women. I come home with new ideas, projects or recipes to try. Being around other women increases my confidence when I get support or agreement for something I’m thinking or feeling in my gut. I hope my cousin knows how much this weekend truly meant to me! I’d like to remind everyone here to take time to hang out with other women! It’s so important – don’t let too much time go by in between those visits. You’re worth it and you need it.


Jennifer Strilko

Jennifer is the Director of Operations at DI/LDM, keeping the train moving for several operational teams and helping them meet their goals. Jennifer believes that everything happens for a reason and that we don’t meet anyone by accident. She’s looking forward to meeting new people and widening her tribe through this blog project. In her spare time Jennifer enjoys DIY projects (upcycling curbside finds is her favorite past time). Her Mom Hustle includes being a dance and baseball mom, maneuvering teen drama, and preparing her kids for college. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three teenagers and two dogs.