Happy New Year! from Shamama

Robin RiceDear Holiday Child,

Well, another year has come and gone, and here we are – each one of us poised to grow, change and love in 2017. I hope you are excited about the year, because that is the perfect way to begin. Dream big dreams, and we holiday moms will dream alongside you!

True, is has been a hard year in 2016, and there have been setbacks. We won’t sugar coat that truth. We’ll honor it. BUT, as your very first holiday mom, I will also remind you that you are stronger than you think, braver than you know, and more beautiful than you can imagine. Even if you have had it bad this year, and have lost a little confidence, please know that there is always someone who is struggling that you can help. Yes, YOU can help someone somehow – and it will do you both a world of good. Honestly, I am hoping you will take all the holiday love we’ve had this season for you here and pay it forward. Bring hope and love to someone who needs it even more than you. Why? Because giving of ourselves is what makes life worthwhile for all of us. (I’ll be telling you that every year till you are 92 at least, because that never changes!)

As for our house this New Year’s Day, we are not likely to make resolutions – we all know how those don’t last. But we will be thinking about who we want to become in the coming year. Also, about what we want to enjoy more, and how we’ll accomplish that. Feel free to tell me your plans and dreams in the comments – I would love to hear!

Behind all of our 2017 family plans will be to keep LOVING you, our holiday child. We wish you the very, very best. You mean so much to us. Truly, you do.

As for next year, I just got word that Letter Mama Yvonne will once again do the work that makes all this happen behind the scenes. So yes, we will be back come Thanksgiving! (By the way, I hope you’ll take a moment to thank Mama Yvonne in the comments, it would mean a lot to her I know! You don’t hear from her directly much, but she has put in countless hours to make that work. Thank you Mama Yvonne! AND if you are on Tumblr, a nice thank you to Auntie Marni would be lovely – she shows up every single day to be sure you have someone reading your comments and letting you know you are loved there!)

Between now and next year, if you find yourself needing a little mom love, you can check out all our past letters. We don’t answer comments as often, but we do have the site up year round. It’s here for you when you need it!

So now it is time – imagine me lifting a toast to you, in honor of all that you are, and wishing you the happiest of New Year’s.

With so much love,

Shamama

 

Holiday Mom: Mummy Boo

Holiday Mom: Mummy BooHello my beautiful holiday child.

We’re so glad to be sharing today with you! Welcome home.  I’m here, along with your dad and brothers. They’re just back from doing the grocery shopping, they’re downstairs unpacking. Go say hello. Too late! They already heard you, here they all come, running up the stairs, stand by to be given loads of hugs.

Can I get you a drink? I’ve been making some hot chocolate, or there’s tea in the pot if you prefer.

Now you’ve rested, shall we put on our boots and warm clothes and go to the woods? There’s lots to see and while it’s cold, it is sunny too and we could all have fun spotting birds and animals.  Or maybe you’d prefer to go down to the beach instead. We can all enjoy a walk along the pier or perhaps watch or join in with your brothers skimming stones and running along the waves on the shore. We could stop by the bandstand and hear the carol singing or smile as we watch children of all ages dance along as the band plays.  What’s your favourite Christmas song? We could ask them to play it for you.

Perhaps you’d prefer to stay in and join us making Christmas reindeer cakes. Your youngest brother’s too little to manage on his own, so if you could help him put cherries on for noses he would appreciate it.

The boys love gaming, so maybe you could all do that together while dad and I make lunch. Later we could sit together in front of the fire and catch up on all your news. You might find the cat joins us. She’s always looking for a warm lap to sit on and seems to know the best person to pick for a snuggle. Naturally that’ll be you.

Today is yours to decide. Whatever you’d like to do, we’ll do it.

You are so special, so loved, and so accepted. We are so proud of you and so honoured you wanted to be with us.

Look! The Christmas tree still hasn’t got its star. We saved it for you to put up. As you hang the star, make a wish. And we will wish for you as well. To have a year where you are happy and safe, where you are cared for and comforted. Knowing that you have people right here who care about you so very much.

It’s dark now, and I’ve been looking forward to this all day. We’ve planned a surprise for you. I’m amazed your brothers haven’t given it away already. We’ve got some sparklers. Let’s go out into the garden, light the sparklers, and write our names in the sky.

I’m going to settle down for the evening. Want to join me on the sofa? We can call out for pizza and watch a movie. Your brothers want to give you a kiss goodnight before they go up to bed, and probably get you to tell them just another bedtime story pleeeease!

As 2016 comes to an end you may be looking back with relief this year that has been so difficult for so many has come to an end. Or you may be anxious about the year to come. Hopefully with our family together tonight we can all look forward together for happier times in 2017.

Pizza’s here! You get the first slice. It is so wonderful to be here with you and just enjoy your company. How lucky our family is to have you in our life.

Lots of love

Your Mummy Boo, Daddy Bill, and your brothers.

Holiday Mom: Gypsy Mama

Holiday Mom: Gypsy MamaDearest Light of My Life,

As I write this my darling child, I see your face and your heart and want you to know that YOU ARE LOVED beyond measure!!! Wherever you are in the world right now there are people who love you without even knowing your name!! I am one of them! Your heart and soul matters to me! Your light in this world matters to me! Your voice matters to me!

This holiday season may find you somewhere you didn’t expect to be and that’s ok. My prayer for you is that you are safe, warm and fed. As both of my sons would say, I’m just a gypsy earth Mama, and I want you to know that I consider YOU one of my children.

This year I am starting new traditions. I moved to be closer to my oldest son and his wife this year so we are getting to plan for the holidays and make new traditions. We were just talking about what new and fun traditions we can start. I personally think a Christmas Eve cookie baking extravaganza would be fun. My youngest son, who lives in New York, is coming in for Thanksgiving. He and I share the journey of living in the LGBTQ community. I know how it feels to be an outcast because of who you love. I raised my sons to know that they are loved for exactly who they are – every single day – and to remember that there is always one person who loves them unconditionally. I extend that to you, Dear One. There are moms like me out here in the world who love you exactly as you are.

I know that holidays can be hard. Finding our way to places where we feel loved and celebrated is a difficult journey on a day to day basis. The holidays can make that feel so much bigger and deeper and it makes our hearts heavy sometimes. I want you to know that whatever you are feeling right now, this moment, is perfectly ok. It’s ok if you feel sad, afraid, alone, happy, mischievous, grinchy, homesick, joyous, hungry, lost, or nothing at all. I love you no matter what!!

Whatever label you need, I see you for who you are. A beautiful soul on this human journey and underneath it all, my heart is connected to yours and yours to mine. I celebrate your life, your voice, your creativity, your love, your identity, your heart, your mind, body and soul!! I CELEBRATE THE HUMAN BEING THAT IS YOU!!

Be gentle with yourself during this holiday season, and know that I am holding you in love and light during this time and all year round!

Happy Holidays!

Love,

Gypsy Mama

Holiday Mom: Ricki

Holiday Mom: Ricki

Dear Teens,

This year Hanukah falls at the same time as Christmas.  It might even feel like too much – like the whole entire world is happy, and of course the flip side of that is that you might feel like the only one in the entire world who’s not that happy.  Here’s what I can promise you –  NOT everyone is happy.  Almost everyone has some sadness.  And your unhappiness is temporary.  Being a teen is tough on a good day – and feeling shamed, or not accepted or loved – well that can certainly feel like a bit too much.

But here’s the deal.  I am here.  Millions of others are here too, loving and supporting you.  No matter how you feel.  Tell you what I’m going to do, and I hope you do it along with me.  Every night at Hanukah when we light the menorah, I’m going to whisper a little affirmation just for you.  Here are my eight wishes, eight gifts for you – one for each night. When you see those candles, think of these:

  1. One smile. At anything. A cookie, a kid, a dog.  Whatever brings you joy – remember it, and tuck it away.
  2. A compliment. What’s that thing you do so well? Sing? Video games? Drawing? Think about something that you’re awesome at, and tuck that away too.
  3. Your age. It might feel like a long time until you’re on your own and independent, but I promise you it will be here soon enough. This part of your life isn’t your whole life!
  4. Acceptance – I accept who you are, 100% and without question.
  5. Appreciation – Not only do accept you, I so appreciate what makes you special.
  6. Compassion – I already know that by being who you are right now and feeling what you’re feeling, that you will be a beautiful compassionate adult with so much love to give. Save that feeling.
  7. Distance – If your parents or grandparents give you a hard time, let’s just say that that’s THEIR problem, not yours. Look at them from a distance and see their shortcomings. Whoever doesn’t accept a child obviously has their own issues because you certainly didn’t do anything wrong.  It’s hard to shift, I know, but try it for one day.
  8. LOVE. I, and millions of teens like you, are sending you love.

Happy, Happy Hanukah.  Don’t forget to see a drop of acceptance and love every time you see a candle during the holiday.

With Gigantic Mom Hugs,

-Ricki

Holiday Mom: JoyBear

To hear JoyBear read her letter, click here!

Holiday Mom: JoyBearDear Holiday Child,

I am overjoyed at welcoming you into my heart this holiday. I know it’s been a really hard year.  So much pain and loss. So much grief and fear.  Feel my arms holding you.  Lay your head down and know for this moment, you are safe and loved.  If I could, I would make everything ok, I really would.

I know you have been hurt and disappointed.  It hurts my heart that you haven’t been treasured for the gift I know you are.  How do I know? Because you are here with me,  opening your self to feel love.  I know also that you are brave and strong,  whether you have come out to the world, or only to yourself.  You, my sweet child, are precious to me exactly how you are. I want, more than anything, for you to feel loved this holiday.

I know, because I come from an abusive neglectful mom.  I have spent many years longing for that connection. I have spent many years in therapy and recovery.  I have chosen to not be hurt by her any longer.  I have not spoken to her for over ten years.  I have had many other mama’s love to help me heal.  I have broken the cycle.  I have a loving connection with my three grown children. My oldest son is gay. He came out to me when he was 17, although I always knew.  I was thrilled when he knew too!

It’s hard not to be afraid during this time in our country.  Find your community to connect with.  I want this world to be a safe and loving place for you.  I am doing what I can everyday to make that happen.  I will hold you in my heart as I stand up for your rights.

For now, I can hold you with an unconditional love, as you are, with your strengths and flaws. I am here this holiday with open arms and a welcoming heart for you, my sweet one.

With love and hugs, your holiday mama

JoyBear

Holiday Mom: Rachel

Holiday Mom: RachelMy dear Holiday Child,

I’m so glad you can join us to celebrate Chanukah. Welcome to the family!  Since you’re a newbie, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a rundown on what to expect.

First of all, I hope you brought your appetite!   I will be making my famous potato latkes, along with oven-fried latkes for those of us who don’t want too many fried foods. As for the great applesauce-or-sour-cream debate?  Both, I say!  I make my own applesauce because I like it chunky.   Angela will be making her legendary salmon pie, and there will be a veggie tray.  I may be the only one who eats the veggies, but sugar snap peas are irresistible, to me at least.  For dessert, fruit and donuts (gotta have more fried foods!).  And probably cookies and maybe a cheesecake, depending on what people bring.

You like cats, don’t you?  Max is a lovebug and will be socializing with you within minutes.  Iggy will make an appearance several hours later. They both like to have their chins skritched, so get ready for some quality time with them!  They are very loud purr-ers, and Max likes to photobomb selfies.

And now a few words about the gift exchange:  Please bring a gift of about $10.00, gift-wrapped in an over-the-top fashion and the more awful the better!  We do a variation on “Secret Santa”, with exchanging, negotiating, and lots of noise.  This is one of the highlights of the evening.  Anything with early Justin Bieber is a guaranteed winner, as are ugly coffee mugs, books on topics that don’t interest anyone, etc., etc.  Examples of past hits include a map of Manitoba, a framed internet meme of a potty joke, and a statue of an alien.  If you’re reading this and thinking “Challenge accepted!”, you’ve adopted the right family!  Insert evil laugh here.

Okay, now it’s time for the regular gifts.  We’re big on gift cards, so expect to receive a few.  It’s a variation on the tradition of giving money for Chanukah (a.k.a. Chanukah gelt). You are not expected to bring us anything, just bring yourself.  We will light the menorah and sing Chanukah songs.  Adam Sandler is definitely included on the playlist.

Other things I should probably warn you about:  We have a tendency to break into song at the table.  If this is not in your comfort zone, you can use song lyrics as part of the conversation.  I am not kidding about this!  Also, once you’re on the invite list, you don’t get off the invite list.  It’s like Hotel California. (Here’s where we sing along, starting at “Relax, said the night man, we are programmed to receive”.)  Basically, we don’t want you to leave our gang.  You’re a cool person, and you bring a lot to our family, and the world, just by being you.  Embrace your uniqueness.  It took me a while, but I feel 1000% comfortable within my own skin, and I want that for you, too.

So, that’s about it for now.  Can’t wait to see you as we celebrate the miracle of Chanukah and the miracle of a growing family, this year including you.

Bye for now,

Holiday Mom Rachel :-)

Holiday Mom: Tatiana

Holiday Mom: TatianaDear Holiday Child-

Welcome! We are so very happy that you are here! Come on in! Your holiday sisters, ages 9 and 6, are excited to see you, especially if you’ll agree to get dressed up and join them in putting on some shows. Silly songs and dancing are their favorites. If participating isn’t your thing, they are always thrilled to have more audience members. Our dog, dubbed Sir Licksalot, is also happy that you’re here. Sit down on the couch and he’ll curl up right next to you to get some extra pats. And if you want to spend some time in the back yard playing fetch with him, he’ll be even more thrilled!

This is an extra special year in our home because Hanukkah and Christmas overlap. We celebrate both in our house, and recognize a lot of traditions that represent our rather complicated and blended family. Our menorah is right next to the tree and we love all the festive lights at this time of the year.

The first night of Hanukkah hits on Christmas Eve this year, so we’ll bake some cookies for Santa and then light the menorah. After dinner, we’ll head outside to scatter reindeer food (bird seed and cheerios). I hope you have a good arm – it’s always a challenge to get the reindeer food on the roof! After that important job, we’ll head inside to set out the cookies for Santa and check his progress with the NORAD Santa Tracker. We also leave him a bit of port to warm him up for the last bit of present delivery since we’re one of his last stops. And the reindeer need a few carrots, so we’ll add those to the plate. All the stockings are hung up and ready to be filled. Look! There’s one there for you too! And if you have a partner, we’ll find an extra stocking. Santa visits everyone in the house!

In the morning your holiday sisters will wake everyone fairly early to find out whether or not Santa visited. Once stockings are unpacked, we will have a pancake breakfast. Then we start to welcome the rest of the family. Your holiday grandparents arrive, along with your holiday aunt and her family. We’ll be joined later by close friends. Anyone who needs a place to go is welcome! We’ll open more gifts and then will have a casual day around the house and neighborhood. If the weather is nice, we’ll walk down to the park to play some soccer and throw a Frisbee around. We also have a jigsaw puzzle to put together, games to play, and more of the girls’ shows to watch. The house is filled with wonderful smells and lots of laughter.

For Christmas dinner, we’ll have a lot of choices (we have vegetarians along with omnivores) and dessert is the best, when we have gingerbread made from my grandmother’s recipe and pumpkin pie. Your holiday dad is from England, so we’ll also have plum pudding with brandy butter (which means setting the plum pudding on fire, which is always very exciting for the kids). Another English tradition is the opening of “Christmas crackers” which have small toys, groan worthy jokes, and a paper crown to wear. Yours is there at your place at the table!

After dinner, we’ll light the menorah for Hanukkah night two. Then the guests will head to their own homes and we’ll wind down our celebration for another year, a celebration made even better with you here. Having you in our home has been a gift. We cherish you so much and think that you are perfect as you are. You are exactly who you should be.

So much love to you this holiday season, my holiday child.

Your holiday mom Tatiana

 

Holiday Mom: Erin

To hear Erin read her letter, click here!

Holiday Mom: ErinWelcome home, sweet kiddo! Happy, happy holidays. I don’t have the words to tell you how delighted I am to have you with me this year. I look at you and my heart feels swollen with joy: every beat against my ribs reminds me of how lucky I am that you are my holiday child. Our family feels so complete when you are here with us.

You have been on my heart and mind so much lately. I know the holidays can be overwhelming and difficult for a lot of reasons, so I want to do everything I can for you to make this a time of light and love. If you need hugs, I’m here to wrap you up in my arms as tight as you can stand. If you want to snuggle, there is always a spot next to me on the couch; my shoulder is always waiting for your head. If you’d rather sit in the chair in our reading nook and smile at me from across the room, seated apart but together in all the ways that matter, I am here. If you want to talk, I am here. If you want me to talk, I can do that too. This season my job is to fill up your heart with whatever you need.

This is a cozy time of year in our family. Your little brother, Milo, is finally getting to the age where he is beginning to understand the holidays. Can’t you just picture his little face covered with mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie? Can you imagine the way his eyes light up when he looks at all the decorations and lights? Can you see him tearing into all the gifts and playing with the boxes and paper? Your dad and I love to take nighttime drives during this time of year. Imagine hunkering down in the car with a cup of tea or cocoa and driving through the snowy darkness, looking at the fairy lights, the glowing fireplaces, the sparkling candles and glittering trees. We can do that every night this season, if you want.

I have so many dreams for you this year. On the most basic level, I want health, safety, and comfort for you. But beyond that I want everyone in the world to see you the way I do: I want them to know you for the sweet, warm, loving person that you are. I want the world to know all your wonderful traits and abilities, to know about all your strong and special self. I want you to be surrounded by more love than you know what to do with, this season and all year long.

As I wrap up this letter, remember this: I am your Holiday Mom, but my love for you is not limited to these quiet, dark months. I love you every minute of every day. You are such a gift to me: your presence, your essence, your history, your future, everything that makes you YOU. My world is brighter and fuller because I know a person like you is out there, making the universe  glorious.

Every day this holiday season, I promise to think about you, with all your beauty and bravery, and to send you love and light. I am proud of you. I delight in you. You are a blessing and you are beloved.

Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! Joyous Kwanzaa! Hanukkah Sameach! Peace on earth and in your wonderful, lovely heart.

Love always, every day, every moment,

Erin, Your Holiday Mom

Holiday Mom: Laura

Holiday Mom: LauraTo my dear Holiday Child,

The air is turning crisp, and I start thinking about winter…

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  Decorating our tree is a favorite tradition.  My son enjoys choosing his favorite ornaments and putting them in just the right spot on the tree.  You can look through our boxes of ornaments and find one that speaks to you, then find just the right spot where you can see it all season.  Each ornament reminds me of a moment — a time when I was a child, a time when my son was little, a trip we took somewhere special.  The ornament you choose to hang will always be associated with you, and I’ll be happy every time I see it.

I sing in a choir, and on Christmas Eve we sing lots of beautiful music that fills my heart with joy.  On Christmas Day, my mom, my brother and his family, and my husband’s family all come over for a big dinner in the afternoon.  After we open presents, I start the turkey and the other foods.  The house fills with the wonderful smells of good food.  We have turkey, stuffing, roasted vegetables, sweet potatoes, rolls, and three pies!  My brother and his family are vegetarians, so I also make another dish that’s vegetarian (which I also often eat).  I’m sure you will find something you like to eat, and I hope you will eat a lot — we always have leftovers that you can enjoy for days.

After we’ve eaten, we open presents and talk.  The house is cozy, the tree lights are on, and we’re all stuffed with good food.  Eventually everyone else leaves and it’s just us — we read a book we got for Christmas, or watch a movie together.  I love getting together with lots of people, but I also love just hanging out with my husband and son. We’ll all be gathered in the living room, and I’m thankful you’re there, too.

I love having you be part of our family at Christmas, a time when we celebrate family and traditions.  You bring your own unique talents and hobbies and sense of humor and wisdom to our gathering!  You are always welcome to join us and tell us what you are up to.  Home is togetherness, and you are part of our being together.  I’m so glad you could be with us this holiday season.  You are special and loved.

Love always,

Mom Laura

Holiday Mom: Ashley

Holiday Mom: AshleyThe Holiday season is here and we’re so excited to have you join our family.

GPS our new address… you’ll get lost, everyone does when they come to the house. Please be sure to call and ask me (Mom Ashley) for directions. I have no sense of direction so I’ll get you more lost. We’ll laugh and laugh as dad takes the phone to get you home… you’re almost here!

When you pull up to the house we run out to greet you. I get to give you hugs first, because… I’m Mom and I always get the first hug. J Dad has a tear in his eye he’s so happy to see you.  Your little sister is close behind, clutching her new dinosaur (she’s four and loves dinos). Aidan and ‘B’ are on the couch with their iPads. They’re thrilled to see you but you’d never know. They are lazy teenagers! Kelly, your oldest sibling always has endless optimism. You two have a special bond. Kelly claimed gender neutrality many years ago and we love watching her explore and discover who she is. Just like you, we support her journey within the LGBTQ community.  We are so proud you both are part of our family. We commend you and her for being true to who you are and loving yourselves.

I sure hope you like dogs! They are going to love you. Well, except for the little black one, her name is Priscilla. She’ll give you a couple growls but once you get on the couch she’ll be the first in your lap for cuddles. Dug and Olive Oyl will be begging for your attention all night.

We have a special ornament for you to hang on the tree. Grandma buys them for you and your siblings every year so you’ll have your own collection soon.  Can you smell the pine? We picked the tree a couple weeks ago. The ornaments are sloppy and the tree is falling – just the way we like it. Jase, your little sister did most of the decorating and the tree is a perfect mess.

Speaking of mess… the kitchen is in full roar getting ready for everyone to arrive. Papa is bringing the turkey as always. We’re fast at working making mash potatoes and gravy and other tasty sides. I’ve started peeling the apples for my famous apple pie – I’d love your help.  We’re going to stuff ourselves silly this afternoon

Everyone is soon to arrive so let’s take a moment on the couch with dad. We can’t wait to hear all about what you’ve been up to.  You’re such a special and integral part of our family. Your hopes and dreams matter so much to us as does your happiness. You are a beautiful, kind and amazing soul. We love you.