Merry Christmas, my child…

heather gHello Dear Child

I am writing to you to wish you a Merry Christmas.

Although this may not seem like a very merry time for you, I would like you to know that I am a “mom” writing to you to tell you that you deserve to have a Merry Christmas.

You also deserve to be happy, Blessed and loved.

And although, we have never met, I have met what you stand for. I have seen young people struggle as they attempt to figure out who they are, kids who have had a difficult time, who couldn’t find their way because of the road blocks in their lives.

I tell my own teenager, he can overcome anything but he has to know that he can do it and so can you. I tell him he is not alone and nor are you. He has the love and support of me and so do you. He will find his way, even though it seems so dark and so will you.

I want you to be assured that you have someone in your corner, someone who will be thinking of you this coming Christmas and the days after. Wrap yourself in that knowledge. When you are lonely remember this letter and the woman who has written it to you. Please feel the love and acceptance that I am writing into every single word and paragraph. Try to remember this letter when things seem so desperate and sad.

Remember my letter and the words you deserve to be happy, Blessed and loved.

Merry Christmas my Child.

From your Holiday Mom, Heather

Your Holiday Mom: Tina

mamabear cookieHappy Holidays to my INCREDIBLE  Holiday Child!

I want you to make sure you first feel comfortable and welcome in our home. Holidays are for family–whether it’s the family you were born into or the family you create.

I warn you that the holidays are certainly an EVENT here. Charlie, my 3 and a half year old, has been singing Christmas songs DAILY since he turned two, so it’s been tough to hold out and not play them until December. I hope you are okay with nonstop rounds of Jingle Bells and as Charlie says “You Better Not Pout!” (Personally, I prefer to listen to Christmas music from The Jackson Five, the Temptations, Harry Connick, Jr. and Stevie Wonder but I’m always interested in adding more to the mix–you are welcome to contribute your favorites or perhaps we can discover some new ones together.)

If you were here, we’d definitely be planning some movie nights to watch Elf, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and my personal favorite, the animated, stop motion Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie from the 60s. I sometimes identified with the redheaded doll from the Island of the Misfit Toys and Hermey, the Christmas Elf who just wanted to be a dentist (feeling like I didn’t fit in). That movie reminds me to look out for the overlooked and see the value and recognize the identity of each individual.

We also celebrate Hannukah here with lighting the Menorah and going to a party of adopted friends and family at my in-laws. Although I’m not Jewish, I’ve been working on my Jewish baking skills. I’ve gotten latkes, matzoh ball soup and babka down, but perhaps you could help me nail a brisket recipe or, better yet, we could make a copycat of those gorgeously decorated dreidel and menorah sugar cookies I saw at Williams-Sonoma. (With my art skills, this would probably be a big Pinterest fail, but it’s certainly a dream to be able to recreate those.)

I feel very fortunate that when I was a teen about to start college, my mom sat me down and said “I want you to know that your dad and I love you and will always accept you. It’s okay if you–or any of your siblings, for that matter–are gay. We don’t ever want you worrying that you won’t be loved.”

My LGBTQ friends always joked that it was wasteful to pair such accepting parents to a straight kid, but I want you to know it gave you a fiercely loyal ally and advocate and it means you’d have a warm and loving home to come to. We spend Christmas Eve and Day with them. Christmas Eve is time with our extended family (all the aunts and uncles and my grandmother from my dad’s side) and Christmas Day is with my brother and sister at my parents’ house. It’s crowded and loud and we used to listen to the Christmas music QVC played (yes, the shopping channel) until my mom figured out there was a Christmas music station on the TV. There will be lots and LOTS of teasing and joking and laughter. Maybe even some games. Definitely with lots of my mom’s Christmas cookies (she probably makes a dozen or so different kinds).

I don’t know about you, but I also like to take advantage of some quiet during this season to reflect–I like doing that early in the morning while it’s still dark with the Christmas tree lit or on New Year’s night after all the hustle and bustle from the holidays has passed. Whether you’re 17 or 70, I think it’s important to recognize how far you’ve come and where you hope to go. For me, this year was a bumpy one and I learned the lesson that “progress not perfection” is the way to go. I’ve been looking at my circle of friends and family and identifying who lifts me up, supports me and helps me be a better person. My hope for you is that you also can identify these people and have the foresight to invest your time and energy into those people while letting the energy vampires in your life take a back seat for a bit. After all, that’s what you deserve.

Oh… and one last thing… Santa is bringing Charlie a set of drums for Christmas. So you may want to bring your earplugs. If you don’t have any, I suspect Santa could wrap some up for you.

Love Your Holiday Mom, Tinamamabear cookie

Your Holiday Mom: Lori

lori and sam

To hear Lori read her letter to you, click here.  

Dear Holiday Child,

Please allow me to step in over the holidays and in some small way fill the role of “mom.” I am just a regular mother of two teenage boys, one 16 years old and one 14. Both are in high school. The youngest is a natal female, but is transitioning into his true gender as a boy.

We live in the Nation’s Capitol, a very urban environment. Yet we have lots of wonderful holiday traditions (we celebrate Christmas), including the White House Christmas Tree, trees representing all the states down on the Mall, and the Capitol Christmas Tree. There is ice skating at the Sculpture Garden (just off the Mall), as well as in Georgetown. In fact, Sam (my youngest, in the picture) will be headed to an ice skating birthday party Thursday with friends from his school. So even though we live in a city, there are many outdoor activities around the holidays here.

We’ll be having most of the family over on Christmas Day. They are a very silly bunch, bringing a lot of laughter, goofy jokes, and good-natured teasing for all. They will bring food (my oldest brother Rob is great at smoking turkeys, his daughter makes delightful pies and cakes, and his wife Marianne bakes the best Christmas cookies on the planet). And they will arrive late. They are always late. Maybe this year I’ll invite them an hour earlier than I really want them to arrive (!) Also on-hand will be my mother, and two other brothers and their families. Plus I invited the graduate student who lives next door; she can’t travel home for the holiday. It will indeed be a full house.

The holidays to me are about pausing just a moment from our busy lives to look around and be grateful for what and who we have in our lives. I am proud of you, holiday child, for being true to yourself and having the courage and conviction to live an authentic life. I admire and respect your ability to know yourself deeply and recognize what life means to you, even when your path is different from that of most. That takes guts.

I hope you find a healthy way to surround yourself with love and laughter over the holidays. Wrap yourself in the warmth of true friendships, and perhaps reach out and help others who can use a hand.

I will pause over the holidays and think of you, wish you well, and hope you are enjoying the precious company of good friends.

Cheers,

Your holiday mom

Lori

Your Holiday Mom: Karen

Image 4Hi there.

Come in. Come in.

It’s a little chaotic here – with the dog, and the cats, and the boys. But as long as you don’t mind the noise, and the toys, and the fur, you’ll be fine.

Hot chocolate? Marshmallows? Oops. Spoke too soon – we don’t have any marshmallows.

… We tend to stay put over the holiday season. Our little family – we don’t venture far. But when neighbours, friends, and loved ones choose to visit, we enthusiastically welcome them. I’m so, so pleased to welcome you.

We are building some holiday traditions with our young boys: fires in the family room fireplace; the boys with their own little tree – which they decorate without any interference (or at least limited interference) from me; stockings for the dog and the cats; baking – even though I’m terrible at it. Nothing fancy, but we just want to celebrate and appreciate the fact that we have each other.

The holidays can be wonderful. And cozy. And full of laughter and joy. But they can be hard, too. And lonely, even when we’re not alone.

I want my boys to revel in all the fun the holidays can bring. But, more importantly, I simply want them to feel loved. Not because they’ve been “good” throughout the year. Not because they’ve met any expectations. But because they are incredible. Just being themselves. Every child deserves to be loved. Everyone has gifts to be celebrated. Everyone should have the freedom to be himself. Or herself. Every child, every young adult should be cherished. I know the world can be harsh. I get that there are tough lessons to be learned. But I want my children to know my love will always give them a soft spot to land. I want my children to feel loved. Cherished. Always. And I want that for you.

You have so many gifts, so much to show the world. I want you to feel free to be yourself – because you are incredible. I know it sounds cliché, but you are amazing, just as you are. I want you to find your gifts, share your gifts, celebrate your gifts. I want the very best for you. Because you deserve it. You really do. During the holidays, and always, I want you to know you have a soft spot to land, with me. I will be thinking about you. I cherish you.

Your holiday mom,

Karen

 

Your Holiday Mom: Sandi

Keep-Calm-and-Eat-Latkes-Hanukkah-Plate_31120-lTo My Dear Adopted Holiday Child,

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! In our house it is always a little more complicated. I was raised in a Jewish family, my husband in a devout Catholic household; this translates into a melding of chaotic festivities and lots of love and laughter. Whether you call the tree in our living room a Christmas tree or a Chanukkah bush, it really doesn’t matter when we are gathered around with all of our family and friends.

It has taken years to feel comfortable with these perceived differences. Growing up in a neighbourhood, where we were the only Jewish family, I couldn’t help but feel “different.” I know this is the time of years those feelings are magnified. I hope that you know this year, I see you shyly in the corner of my living room, until I spot you and make room for you next to me. Know that I love you, and the best present is having you with my family and me where you can be your authentic self.

My goal is to have you to feel safe and able not only in my home but in life. When you look in the mirror- see the truly wonderful person that I see as you to be. Know that no matter who you love, what you do, I am there to support your choices. From this day forth, know that I see you, I hear you and I love you. Know that although I don’t know you – that I do know you and am there for you. Think of me and read this letter when you are sad and unsure, when you are happy and triumphant.

Now please pass the potato latkes!

Love

Your Holiday Mom Sandi

 

Your Holiday Mom: Gail

gail pic

Click here to hear Gail read her letter to you!

My Dear Holiday Child,

Thank you for being the perfect Holiday gift to me this year!

I’m not a mom myself, but I love and cherish all children; my nieces and nephews, my friends’ children and my neighbor children. Some are grown up now with children of their own. I feel blessed whenever any person comes into my life.  All beings are special and worthy of love.  As are you.

There are times in everyone’s life when we feel we are different or not enough.  Well let me tell you, that you are just fine and you are enough.   I don’t ascribe to labels. Every person has feelings.  Every soul that has walked on this planet has felt emotion. Everyone loves.  It doesn’t matter to me if you are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer or straight, a cat lover or a tuba player, you have the ability and right to love and to laugh.

Some people do have a little trouble letting go of biases from their upbringings. Our job is to just be ourselves and love them.  If you are missing your mom for whatever reason this holiday season, I want you to know that I care.  If we let go of our own fears and biases and just put love and joy out, the joy will reflect back to us.  Laughing is the way to a joyful heart.  So here is a story for the two of us. One I hope gives you a chuckle.

This is a story of what it was like growing up in a family of 9 around the Christmas Holiday. It centers on the Nativity Scene we always placed atop our piano.

Being obviously geographically challenged, the children rolled out the cotton “snow” across the piano top and placed numerous pine trees around the setting. It looked just like Montana, but perhaps not quite Bethlehem!  I, in my 8 yr old mind as a major scene designer and director, would often place one of my younger siblings’ stuffed toys under that snow to create mountains.  This would naturally illicit wails of protest and my Dad having to say, “Gail, give the elephant back to your sister, we don’t need mountains in Bethlehem”.  But one by one we ceremoniously unwrapped the precious little figurines and placed them just so at the manger. Now of course the Baby Jesus had to live in a tea cup high up in the china cabinet away from tiny hands until his arrival Christmas morning.

 My biggest joy was rearranging the figurines on a daily basis. Sheep would wander, Shepherds would trail after them.  The Kings would jostle for front position. Sometime Melchior would go hang out with the Shepherds because he and Casper were not getting along!  Mary, being the only almost mom there would have to send them in different directions until they could “speak to each other in a civil manner”.

Sometimes the figurines would be laying down with some pieces of fabric over them, resting.  People have to get their sleep you know!

One day, my father asked me what had happened to Mary. How he knew I was the cause of her mysterious disappearance, I’ll never know!  “Dad, Mary had to pee”, I replied in a forthright nature.  “She what?”, my Dad responded. “Well, she’s been sitting there for 4 days waiting to have a baby, Dad!  She had to go!”, I offered.  Hesitantly, and certainly worried about the answer, my father asked, “And where did she go?”  “Behind the pine tree Dad!”  I whispered with obvious indignation. “Look at all the boys!”  “Well, uh, put her back ok?”, his voice wearily responded. 

Later that day, my father would again come to me and ask just why was Mary now in a bowl of water inserted into the cotton snow?  “She had to wash her hands Dad! There’s no sink. She’s at the pond”.  Goodness gracious, how my father got to be a grown up man and that clueless was certainly beyond me!  Luckily at that point one brother was tormenting one sister and my dad had to go do policing duties and leave me alone in Montana, Bethlehem.

I think growing up with a lot of family and one bathroom made me a bit preoccupied with the call of nature. Pounding furiously on the bathroom door to get in was a common occurrence at our house.  So naturally I felt it proactive to get my brother’s Lincoln Logs and build a few more structures to that Nativity scene on the piano.  “Let me guess, my Dad wagered, outhouses?”  Well, finally my father the engineer was showing a modicum of intelligence!  “Yes, His and Hers”, I proudly exclaimed!   “But do Angels pee, Dad?”

Christmas Eve arrived and after our tradition of unwrapping one gift, which somehow always turned out to be new pajamas, my father bellowed from across the room, “Gail, where is the Baby Jesus?”  Now really, there were 7 other people who lived in that house, how did he KNOW I had taken it? His powers were truly super human.  “Dad, the baby was cold. He’s in the doll house bed.  God can’t sit in a tea cup you know!” , I said rather too forcefully. Thankfully, “Mmmmmm,” was the only answer to that one he had.

And the next morning when we awakened, Baby Jesus was rightfully in the manger by his mother’s side. Joseph was looking on proudly. The 3 Kings were getting along and presenting their gifts and all the Shepherds and animals had come by way of the blue Christmas light star above the manger. And the Angel smiled.

As the Holiday season approaches, whatever you are doing, wherever you are, you can read my story and smile, and I’ll read it and think of you.  We will both laugh and that laughter will connect us.

Give yourself two hugs, one from you and one from me.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

 

 

Your Holiday Mom: Sophie

angel candlesTo my dearest holiday child,

I know the holiday season, whichever holiday you celebrate, can be a tough time, a lonely time.

The thought that you are out there, maybe on your own or surrounded by people who don’t understand, or don’t want to understand what you have been through and maybe still are going through, saddens me.

So, this year, join me and my family in our Christmas! Now, I’ve experienced basically three different Christmases: Christmas with my biological family, with my step family and Christmas with my in-laws. I’ll just run you through all three – you take your pick where you want to go this Christmas. Or even if you have a different idea altogether, it’s all open to change!

In my biological family, we meet up at my mum’s. For you and me, that’s quite a drive, but we’ll happily make it – trust me, it’s worth it!  Once we get there, the rest of the family arrives, dragging food, chairs and a huge table along. Prepare for some hugs and kisses; everyone will be so happy to see you there. We all contribute a little to the dinner; you could join in if you want, or help me make my signature cake (I’ll share the recipe with you)! Before we eat, we’ll catch up. Everyone will be asking you questions too: where have you been, where are you going? It’s alright if you haven’t figured that out yet, it took us a long time to figure out what we wanted to do too. And some of us are still unsure about it! After catching up, we’ll make the last preparations and set the table. In between the courses, everyone has to pitch in and do some dishes. We could team up if you’d like. I’ll give you the choice: washing or drying? I don’t mind either. I’ll ask if you’re having a good time (I really hope so!), and remind you that you are welcome to be who you are here. We’re an open family and we love you no matter what. During the whole dinner, my family will get a bit loud. I hope you don’t mind. We don’t really do gifts, but as I’m so happy to have you here, I’ll get you something regardless. Something small, something personal. I’ll probably spend the whole year trying to think of the perfect gift, something that suits you and will remind you of the family you have here. After dinner is over, the family will be departing, everyone has to get home, and will be told to drive safely. I’ll give you the choice: we can either make the long drive home, or stay around my mum’s for the night.

With my step family, things are a little different. We meet at my step-mum’s house; the whole family gets together there. We’ll talk about anything and everything, whatever you want to talk about. Anything goes, so feel free to speak your mind. My biological dad makes the dinner – he’s a fantastic cook! There’s something for everyone, so don’t worry about having to eat something you don’t like. You can pick what you like and eat as much as you want. My step-mum will have got you a book of some sorts, and like the rest of us, you’ll be asked to open it at a random page and read out a small bit. Even if you don’t like reading, she’ll find you something that suits you!

With the in-laws, it’s more of a “typical British Christmas”: my mother-in-law makes a fantastic Christmas dinner: a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, all kinds of vegetables – you name it, it will probably be there. There will be a lot of presents underneath the tree. Knowing me and my mother-in-law, most of them will be for you. We like to spoil our children, and this year and any other that you choose to join us, that includes you. I will try my best, but her presents will best mine any day – she’s just that awesome. We will have dinner, watch some tv, unwrap the presents and share stories, experiences. We’ll have a laugh, we’ll have a cry, anything goes!

One thing all these family get-togethers have in common is that the family is accepting. We accept you, your decisions. Your dreams, your hopes, your fears and your flaws. Everything and everyone is welcome, we won’t judge you, we accept you. If there is a special someone in your life, they are welcome too!

At the end of the holidays, you’ll probably have to get back to your life. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but you’ll have loving memories to keep you warm in dark, lonely times and our support and our love continually, in the good times and the bad.

I know holidays can be tough, but this season, know that you are in my thoughts, in my heart and in my family. I’ll light a candle for you each day, that you might find what you’re looking for and live life the way you want to.

Know that I love you and think of you, my wonderful child,

Mum Sophie

Your Holiday Mom: Jennifer

jen and ben treeMerry Christmas!

I come to you this holiday season as your Holiday Mom.

The holidays have always been a special time for me. Holiday parties, delicious baking, the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree,   but most of all I loved the time spent with my family. So that’s why I’m here today, to be your family. I’m here to tell you that you are amazing. You are courageous. You are exactly who you are supposed to be.  If anyone believes otherwise, well then they are missing out on knowing how incredible you are. I know what you are going through, I may not be LGBTQ, but growing up I had trouble fitting in, I was  bullied, and I struggled  with feelings of depression, but at this time of year, no matter how low I felt, I always found myself smiling and happy. Just as the Christmas lights shone through the night, the Christmas season lit my soul.  But I was lucky; I had a wonderful family that made every Christmas special.  I can only imagine how hard it would be to not be so lucky. So that’s why I want to be your holiday mom, to hopefully share a little Christmas light into the darkest of nights.

My favorite time of the year was the weekend after December 8th, that was my sister’s birthday and we weren’t allowed to set up the tree and start thinking about Christmas until after that. We would always set up the Christmas tree that first weekend after the 8th and my mom would always have a big plate of baking, a glass of eggnog, and Christmas carols playing to accompany the tree trimming festivities. A tradition my husband and I continue today. We collect Christmas decorations from all the places that we have visited through our travels, and reminisce as we trim the tree. After the tree, we decorate the house and make a gingerbread house.  This year, if you were there with us, I would excitedly share with you the story behind the Santa Clause with the broken ski from when we lived in Revelstoke, and the hockey playing snowman that I made with my 3 year old nephew.   I would hang a stocking for you next to ours in anticipation for Christmas morning, and get you to help me put the garland up in the kitchen.  I would pour you some eggnog, and sing along to the Christmas carols playing in the background (just be warned I am tone deaf). We would carefully put the gingerbread house together until every last piece of candy is placed just right. Then, finally, we would sit staring at the beautifully lit tree, and just enjoy each other’s company and catching up on life.

This Christmas, I hope that you find some peace and happiness, and just remember that you are not alone because I’ll be thinking about you.

Love your Holiday mom,

Jen

 

Your Holiday Mom: Marj

table-3-deTo my holiday child;

Welcome to my home and let the love surround you!!

This is just a short note to let you know how much you are LOVED and WANTED.

The universe made you in perfection! You are exactly the way you are supposed to be.

Try not to be burdened with the wasted energy of those that don’t love you in your perfection. Instead reach out to all those that love, respect, want, and need you in their lives  because there is so so many!!

In this season, and all the season’s,  LOVE is all it’s really about.  No need for shame or self hatred because  YOU ARE PERFECT!!  I can’t wait to see all that life has to offer you. Now go out and tackle it!!

I won’t say it will be easy, nothing of worth is,  BUT  it will be  so amazing when you embrace the path the universe has in store  for you!

Go forth in love and peace  knowing you are a reflection of perfection.  Be safe, be kind, be LOVE…

LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU  JUST CAUSE

YOUR HOLIDAY MOM  MARJ

Your Holiday Mom: Suzy

suzy holiday mom picTo my holiday child,

     There is always room in my home and heart for you. I don’t have much, but my parents (and by extension, your holiday grandparents) taught me that when you have it, you share it. There is a warm place here, even if it is an air mattress on my living room floor. Apartment living at its finest! And I hope you like dogs, as I have a chiweeni puppy. His name is Sam, and he will be so excited to see you! Unfortunately, we don’t have the classic white Christmas here in Arkansas, but I will pass on my Hungarian family traditions with you. We will make kolatch, a Hungarian sweet bread filled with a cinnamon raisin and walnut filling. And the rule in our house is when you cross the threshold, you’re family. I know holidays can be hard. I have been blessed with a very supportive family, and I know that is not always the case. But I know how important it is to support others in our LGBTQ family, and if I can brighten your day, my job is done.

Christmastime has always been my favorite time of year. I love decorating the tree, which is always a big deal in my house. You would get your own ornament for the tree, as all the kids in my family have one that is lovingly put in the perfect spot. The Nutcracker Ballet would be playing in the background, as that is one of my favorite traditions. And, since the ballet is coming to town, we would go see it if you like. Then we would eat the kolatch with a bit of cream cheese and drink mulled cider or wine. Wrapping presents is also one of my favorite things, but watch out, there will inevitably be a wrapping paper tube fencing match. Another tradition that has happened in my house for quite some time is that my grandmother and I usually watch Gone with the Wind on Christmas day. It is our favorite movie to watch together, and my Nana will tell you all about the time she saw it in theatres when she was a girl and wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara when she grew up. She would call you ‘dolly’ and ask if you have a ‘truly fair’ (which is my all time favorite term for significant other.) Also, as she is a Hungarian Nana, she would tell you to eat more and bundle up. I know that is important.

 We show love in many different ways. ‘Buckle up’, ‘call me when you get home’, ‘bundle up, it’s cold outside’ are all little ways to show you care. And as people, we need that.  The holidays are supposed to be a time of love and family, and now you have that in me and mine. I have no children (yet), but I love ‘adopting’ new friends and family. If you ever need to talk, I am here for you. I came out  two years ago, at age 24, and was accepted with open arms by my family, and now I am paying it forward and accepting you with open arms. Know this, my friend: That you will always have a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, and someone who will snot-laugh with you at the funniest things. You have a home here, and a loving family that will accept you no matter what.

There is a gift under my tree for you, my dearest friend, and warm blanket and a warm puppy to keep you company.  We are all connected, we are all family, and I am glad that you are a part of mine.

All my love,

Your Holiday Mom Suzy