Holiday Mom: Mommy Stacie

m20161204My Dearest Holiday Child,

I am so looking forward to Christmas this year!  It’s always been my favorite holiday but having you here makes our family gathering feel complete.

In our family, the main event is Christmas Eve night.  We’ll go to your grandparent’s house early on Christmas Eve morning so that we can help Grammy with the last minute preparations.  The first task is decorating Christmas cookies, your aunt Arlene’s special recipe.  The secret is a splash of almond extract (but don’t tell anyone!).  Your little sister gets a little too enthusiastic and covers everything near her in bits of colored frosting and sprinkles!  She requested purple frosting this year, but no one minds eating a purple snowman because it makes her so happy.  While we decorate the last few cookies, Papa pulls the ham out of the oven and tries to sneak a few bites without Grammy noticing.  The whole house now smells like Christmas.

Before long, the rest of the family starts to arrive.  Once the adults have all had a glass or two of wine, someone puts on the Mitch Miller CD.  We all start to sing along.  It’s a point of pride to know all of the lyrics to dozens of Christmas carols.  Your sister sings along, making up her own words.  Once the little kids have gone to bed, it’s time to stuff the stockings and have one last cookie before getting a few hours of sleep because no one sleeps in on Christmas morning.

Sure enough, your sister is up before the sun!  As soon as your baby brother has been fed and changed, we all file into the living room and exclaim at the giant stack of presents surrounding the tree.  The adults grab a much needed cup of coffee while your sister opens her stocking.  Since it’s your brother’s first Christmas, she decides to help him with his stocking too.  As the presents are passed around, Grammy gets the homemade cinnamon rolls into the oven.  We open gifts as the smell of warm bread and cinnamon fills the house.  By mid-morning, your brother is sleeping soundly in my arms, your sister is begging you to play with each of her new toys in turn, Papa has escaped for a quick nap and Grammy is starting to clean up the torn paper.

This is my favorite moment.  Just sitting on the sofa, watching the people I love the most enjoy a rare moment of pure joy.  My heart feels like it could burst with the love I feel for you, my special holiday child.  I could stay in this moment forever.  Too soon, it will be time to reenter the world but I will always be waiting right here, to give you a hug and tell you that you are loved.  That’s a mother’s job, and it’s the best job in the whole world.  We love our children beyond all measure and without reserve.

I’m so happy you were here for Christmas.  The memories of our time together will forever make me smile.

Love you always,

Mommy Stacie

Holiday Mom: Nashia

m20161203To my dearest holiday child,

I’m so excited to welcome you home for the holidays. This is most definitely my favorite time of year as evidenced by the way I go overboard on all the decorations in the house. Can you tell that snowmen are my favorite? All those Santa figurines? Most belonged to my grandmother, she passed away when I was 17 and out of all the people in my life, she was my biggest supporter. I wish everyone someone like her in their life.

In anticipation of your arrival I have made my very own homemade pumpkin roll with sweet cream cheese filling and crockpot hot cocoa. This year I would love to teach you to how to make it, passing on my recipes to my children is one of my favorite traditions. Your holiday brothers Alex who is 16 and Caleb who is 13 love my pumpkin roll; I hope you like it too! Alex has also asked to learn how to make it this year and I know we will have a blast in the kitchen learning to bake and listening to Christmas music. Do you hear that? I think the boys are getting ready to watch a Christmas movie, let’s get a slice and join them!

I love that for a brief time, we can surround ourselves with love and family and know that nothing bad can happen here. I know the rest of the world can be cruel and I wish I could keep you here forever, snuggled up in blankets with a fire in the fireplace and purring cats in your lap. You don’t have allergies, do you? With 6 cats in the house and 3 dogs, I want to make sure that you are comfortable! They cream and grey long hair cat that is rubbing on your legs is named Katniss. She was a rescue as a kitten and has become a total sweetheart. That big black cat is Salem; I know he’s huge! The last time we weighed him, he came in over 20lbs! He is also a rescue, we got him when he was only 10days old and had to be bottle fed. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him. He loves to lick your face!

This week will be crazy busy with last minute shopping for those perfect gifts and baking dozens of cookies. You can go with me to drop off cookies at the homeless shelter. I try to remind myself that no matter how bad I feel sometimes, there are always others worse off than I and by helping others, it reminds me to appreciate what I do have. You know what I appreciate this year? YOU! I am so grateful to have you with us, sharing our family traditions, food, and love with you. I’m hoping we will have one day just the two of us to go out and shop, we can get coffee or cocoa at the local coffee shop and bookstore “The Fuzzy Duck”. They have yummy sandwiches and we can do lunch. There are a number of quaint shops here that we can meander through and just spend the day together. I have no doubt that at least one night we will have friends over. They started a LGBTQ group on campus and we all met while fighting for marriage equality. They are amazing young adults who I think would be great role models for you to meet!

Christmas day is actually pretty low key considering all the hype leading up to it. The boys tend to sleep in but if you are an early bird than I will get them up and make coffee early! How does French toast casserole sound for breakfast? We will spend the morning playing and relaxing with our gifts before getting showers and going to the movies. Typically, we hit the matinee and see something fun and lighthearted. We agreed that you can pick the movie this year! After the movie, we will head over to China Star and have a dinner of Chinese buffet. It’s certainly an atypical way to celebrate but we love to be different. We celebrate differences in this home and celebrating Christmas this way is the ultimate way.

I just want you to know that you are so special to me. You are a treasure and I love and accept you for who you are. When the magic of this season fades, I will still be with you in your heart. Whenever you smell the magic of pumpkin spice, warm cocoa, and the burning of wood in a fireplace you can be assured that I am with you. I’m sending you all my love, all my hugs, and all my best wishes for an amazing year. I love you!

Sending love and happiness,

Your Holiday Mom Nashia

Holiday Mom: Trish

m20161202My Little Love,

The holidays are nearly here and I’m counting the days to your visit home! Dad and I have been busy stringing the white lights on the house and along the front fence. We are feeling extra festive this year so we have two trees. When you pull into the drive you will see the big tree with white lights in the great room. I haven’t put any ornaments on it yet because I know you love to do that with us. We’ll listen to Christmas carols on the hi-fi and drink the special hot chocolate that I only make at Christmas. Your moose mug is washed and waiting. A second tree is next to the fireplace in the family room. This one isn’t formal, we used colored lights and the ornaments you made when you were little. (I saved every one of them, and wrote the date on the back!) The little tree is my favorite, because it reminds me of all the things I love in you; your warm and generous heart, compassion for others, and your insatiable craving for adventure.

Your pet ducks will be swimming on the pond out back. To amuse you, daddy hung lights on their house too! He hung lights on the barn, the shed, and the pump house! Our farm is probably visible from space. Your black lab JJ is doing just fine. While it’s cold out, he can usually be found sleeping in front of the fire. He has missed you and will be thrilled to have you throw his ball for him.

I was afraid your room might be chilly. There’s a new winter weight down comforter and flannel sheets on your bed. Won’t that be cozy? If you like the comforter you are welcome to take it back to your apartment. I thought maybe you could use an extra.

This was going to be a surprise but I can’t keep it inside! Dad ordered matching Christmas jammies for you, me, himself and JJ the dog! Daddy is such a child at Christmas, I love that about him.

Well, just a few more days until you arrive. This doesn’t need to be said, but I will do it anyway. We love you. Any version of you is welcome and wanted in our home. Please don’t feel that you need to meet anyone’s expectations except your own. If you should decide there is someone special in your life, that person is welcome in our lives too. Honey, we will love who you love, because we love you.

Love, Mom

Holiday Mom: Momma Rain

m20161201Dear Holiday Child,

I always feel like I’m in such a whirlwind for the holidays once Halloween passes. There are two meals to prep for and with autism and sensory issues that’s a chore but I consider it a labor of love. Dad won’t eat turkey, buddy boy won’t eat anything wet or mushy but since he’s a teen now he makes up for his lack of variety with sheer volume. Bitty girl has type 1 now. She will eat anything but now I need to keep track of recipes and everyone knows i like to ad-lib while I create. Thanksgiving will have turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, gravy, pumpkin pies, my world famous chocolate chip cookies, rolls and my personal favorite -candied yams. Did I cover everything or was there anything you would like me to add? I’m so scatter brained.  Are you going to be bringing anyone special? Is there anything they would want to help them feel included if there is a special someone? We just want you to be happy so they better be good to you. Oh! If you can stay the whole weekend we are going to spend black Friday hiding from the shopping zombie mobs and will start decorating the tree and eating left overs. You have such an eye for detail and daddy doesn’t participate so I could use the help. He’s not a scrooge he just doesn’t go for the big holidays but if we can find some good Christmas movies I can guarantee some daddy couch time bonding.

It’s chillier now and I’m looking forward to using the fireplace and having some cocoa. I think there is nothing better than to pack everyone in on the couch with hot drinks and watch movies. That’s what we did for Buddy’s birthday. As tight as we were packed in, it was sad too because you weren’t there with us. We’ll have to make it a more regular event so you can get some “couch snuggle time.” Maybe we can get some canasta in, and no, it’s NOT an old lady game -even though I did learn it from your gram and papa.

The night before Yule we will all open one gift, SURPRISE its pjs… yeah ok so that’s not a surprise its tradition. Your grandma is a stickler for nice pictures opening gifts and it stuck. For Yule for dinner, I haven’t got a clue. Help me out here. All I have plans for is opening gifts, breakfast and coffee and just hanging out watching movies and stay in our jammies all day with a fire. Honestly I’d order a pizza if they were open and we would just be lazy ALL day. What would be a nice low key dinner that sounds festive? Am I asking for too much? I’ll have to think on that and you do the same.

I miss you and I hope this letter finds you well. I would love to hear from you more! I love you and I am proud of you. Keep your chin up love, its tough out there. What do I always say “you’re a purple alien” you are not purple and we both know it but you can ignore that because it’s so off base and not true. Even when stupid people say stupid hurtful things you have to remember that no matter what you are not purple and don’t listen to stupid people. You are a wonderful, thoughtful kind loving soul and are so much better than those who would try to bring you down. You are loved and worth loving. If anyone says otherwise, send them my way –Ill set them straight (hahaha pun not intended… like a bi woman could set anyone straight!) With all my love and best wishes for your days until I can see you again. The kids and daddy miss you too.

Momma Rain

Holiday Mom: Dianne

m20161130Dearest and Most Beautiful Child,

I think about you a lot!

You might wonder why that is and maybe you even wonder “how” I see you when I think of you.

I think of you a lot because I remember very clearly how tough my teenage years were.  There was a ton of confusion in the learning and knowing who I was, dealing with impactful life situations and wondering if I was dealing with them well.  Personally questioning my inner confidences and wondering if I had the right to have my own voice, my own opinions and if I shared them, would they be accepted?   These were ever-constant concerns and worries.  I remember so many times wondering if I was worthy of love and acceptance.  I remember feeling insecure, out of place and disconnected.  I remember being constantly critiqued by a parent which did more to lower my confidence and self-esteem than build it up.  This was not a fleeting moment or two in time – this was an important life stage emerging from teenager to adult.  An important part of personal growth as these are the years that pave the adult road of life!

And as I reflect on all of that, I think of YOU – a lot.

I think of you a lot, because I am in awe.  I am in awe of your strength, your courage and the confidence you have in knowing who you really are.  I am in admiration of your certainty or your willingness to question and trust your inner voice.  You are at that same crucial personal growing stage and I am in awe because I was straight, and I always have been.  You have an additional gift that the world, for the most part, is still learning to accept and live with.

Yes, I am in awe of you.  And I love you – sincerely and with open arms.

I do not know what it is like to be in your shoes, to feel the depths of your uncertainties;  learning WHO you really are, determining who you can share this with and how to share it and figuring the best way to ‘come out’ if you haven’t.  And if you have come out, having to stand strong while absorbing deep personal criticisms, insults and discouraging words.   I do not know what it is like to be in your shoes.

I know this is so very, very easy for me to say.  But I want you to hear my words and say them out loud if you need to.  Those who cannot accept are wrong.

They are wrong.

They are wrong in not being able to love you for who you are.

It is my hope that you can shield yourself from all of it and continue to shine your gifts amongst us all.  IF you can find that – if you can do that – if you can move forward knowing in your heart there is a lot of love out there, then I know you can, no you WILL shine!

I pray that as time marches on, masses of these others are able to accept and see you for who you are beyond this unique attribute that is foreign to them.  But I know this will take time and I know there are many who feel it is their right to condemn, show discontent and even extreme hatred.  For you to stand tall must take so much!

I applaud you, love you and am in awe!

I guess what I really want you to know is there are many more of us in the world who do love you!  Who see you!  Who hear you!  Who accept you!  And who can move beyond the prejudices, the anger and the uncertainties to arrive at the real you, all the while accepting your choice or your predetermined fate.  I know there are many, many more people can be open to the other gifts you own – those gifts that are yours for simply being a human.

I have an adopted daughter who is preparing to leave her teenage years behind and she is still seeking and searching for identity.  She had no confidence and chose to travel some thorny roads in her self-discovery.  In doing this she walked away from those who offered her unconditional love – her insecurities were that deep!  As an adult, I understand it and remain patiently waiting for her time to accept this love.  I share this because I have seen how much harder her doing this has made things for her and my heart breaks, but I cannot be the one who fixes this for her.  She has to do this herself.

I hope you see my message here?  As an adult and as a foster and adoptive mom I see it so clearly, but as adults it is not our place to do the fixing, it is our place to support and love seeing you through..  Please hold onto those in your life that are offering you that unconditional love and acceptance. Go to them for advice or to vent out your feelings and frustrations.  Do not allow yourself to build walls and move away – they love you.  And if you do not have anyone offering that, know in your heart they are on their way to you – keep your eyes open for them and welcome them warmly.  AND, if you are really seeking some help or advice or even just an understanding ear check out the following website – www.7cups.com – or search to find a place you feel comfortable sharing and getting answers to your questions.  You have so much available to you and there ARE people who love and accept.

Again, I do not know what it is like to walk in your shoes.

My wish is this letter gives you hope and you feel my love.  Hope in knowing that there is acceptance.  Hope in knowing there is a growing community who welcome you.  Hope in knowing and understanding there is LOVE – for you – JUST you, as you are and as you continue to become.  As for me?

I love you – unconditionally.

I accept you – unconditionally.

I believe in you – unconditionally.

And I know you will continue to find others who feel the same.

Have faith my beautiful child!

Much, much, much love to you as you create your path of life – I can’t wait for you to share your gifts!

Enjoy the holiday season and whatever it brings to you.

Mom Dianne ♥

Holiday Family: Aunt Cheryl

m20161129Dear friend I haven’t met yet,

Hello from sunny Las Vegas. The weather here is as lovely as always this time of year. The air is cool and yet the sun shines so brightly that it fills my heart with the joy of the season.

This year, we are having our usual holiday activities. I’ve been baking desserts to share with friends. Graycie is “helping” by jumping on the counter, sniffing everything, and just generally keeping me company while I bake.

I have a few little presents left to wrap. Most of the gifts are already wrapped and in the mail to family in Ohio and Arkansas. Graycie loves to help me wrap gifts, too. Mostly she likes to lie down in the middle of the gift-wrapping process and demand pets.

Here’s a copy of our Christmas card for this year. Graycie didn’t like the hat but she tolerated it long enough to get the pictures.

Our dominoes group is still meeting every Saturday night. We have a blast, talking and laughing. We will have a gift exchange. We do a type of gift exchange called a Yankee swap. Have you ever heard of it? We each bring a small, wrapped gift. All the gifts are piled in the center of the table. Then we draw numbers to see who goes first. The first person chooses a gift but doesn’t open it. The second person can either choose a gift from the remaining pile, or “bump” the first person’s gift. The third person can draw from the pile or “bump” from person number one or number two. Don’t worry though – if somebody’s gift gets bumped, he or she can draw a new one from the pile or else bump someone else’s gift. All the bumping of gifts back and forth gets to be hilarious. At the end, we open all the gifts at once.

On Christmas day, Uncle Jerry is coming over. We’ll open presents, then turn on the Ravens and Steelers game, and eat my own special chili. Graycie participates by sitting in Jerry’s lap, or else standing on the back of the couch and bathing Jerry’s head. We’ve never figured out why she licks Jerry’s head – she doesn’t do it to anyone else.

Maybe later in the day, we’ll go to Aunt Susan’s open house. She has it every year. There will be lots of people in and out. She makes a dozen different kinds of desserts, and has some special coffee. I don’t drink coffee, but everyone who does just raves about how wonderful it is. She is a heck of a cook, and makes everything from scratch. I use mixes and shortcuts. My baking is good but hers is better. I guess I just don’t have the patience to cook like she does.

Anyway, I wish you could join us. It would be so nice to share our holidays with you.

Sending you the very best wishes for a happy holiday,

Aunt Cheryl

Holiday Mom: Crystal

m20161128Happy holidays, and welcome home! You can see we have a blanket of snow covering the corn fields and pine trees around our house, but you come right inside and have some hot caramel apple tea with me. It’s a new discovery on my part, since I’ve had to cut myself off from coffee. I think it tastes like happy golden memories. Or if that’s not to your taste, we also have hot cocoa – I don’t know about golden memories, but it’s chocolate, and that’s close enough.

How are you? What’ve you been up to? Anything new in your life? Things seem more or less the same here – children growing and learning so quickly that they’ll be out of the house before you know it. Meara turned 10 this year! Double digits, can you believe it? And Merrick will be 5 in just a couple months.

If you remember, we homeschool, and we love doing science experiments. Tomorrow they wanted you to help them make some artificial snow to send as gifts to our friends who aren’t lucky enough to have white Christmases. Did I tell you about the Halloween pumpkins we did this year? Instead of lighting candles, we poured vinegar and baking soda in them, with a little food coloring. Foam poured out of their mouths and looked like .. well, I’m sure you can imagine. It was hilarious!

Are you hungry? I canned some chicken stock last night in anticipation of your visit, and there’s a savory chicken soup on the stove. I even made some fresh biscuits, and there’s still a jar of pumpkin butter leftover from October in the pantry. Never let it be said anyone leaves my house hungry!

Oh! We’re also having our annual cookie-baking party with my sister and all the kids this weekend. Would you like to join us? Just pick out a recipe, and everyone can pitch in! I’m thinking of making some snickerdoodles, as I usually do. I have a soft spot for simple sweets. The kids, of course, want fudge – I’m sure we’ll have an abundance of varied sweets by the end of the day!

I’ve already wrapped everyone’s Christmas Eve gifts. For a surprise this year, I got you one, too! You can open it a little early, though. Inside you’ll find warm pajamas, a holiday movie, and some movie-watching snacks. I thought we could pull the futon into the living room and all have a pajama party out there tonight, as a way of celebrating your visit!

We still need to decorate the tree some time this week, as well. The kids insisted on waiting til you arrived to finish it off. You know me, Queen Geek Extreme: we have a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who to top our tree and video game controller ornaments mixed in with the classic decorations. The lights are already on, though. My favorite ambient lighting!

It seems like the hustle and bustle of the holidays is never-ending, but it’s always so filled with joy and love. We are so glad you could join us this year. You know, we have a special place here for you whenever you want to visit. We love you, and think that you’re very special – you’re a unique addition to the world that we would never want to be without. So I want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself!

For now I’ll show you up to your room and let you unpack your things. There are extra quilts in the chest at the foot of your bed – oh, look, and also a cat. Weeko thinks people come just to see her, I swear. She’ll hop right up on your lap for love if you let her.

Once again, I’m so glad that you are here. One more big hug before I go back downstairs… I love you so much. Now unpack! Get comfortable! We have so much more we want to share with you this season!

All my best,
Your Holiday Mom Crystal

Holiday Sibling: Sister Brit

m20161127Happy holidays, holiday sibling! I wish we all had awesome bio-families to be with on the holidays in the greeting cards, but unfortunately the world doesn’t always work out like that, particularly for us queer folk. Which is why our chosen families are so important, and I am so, so happy you’ve chosen to join me and my other chosen siblings for our holiday celebrations.

None of us are particularly religious, but Christmas is hard for most of us anyway. We start our celebrations the day before, with Baking Our Feelings, Christmas Edition. It’s a funny day, a mix of camaraderie and bittersweet longing, of joy and family and processing loss. And also so much sugar! I think you’ll really enjoy being here. I’ve got all the supplies you should need to make some of your favorite holiday treats, so pick out a recipe and bring it along. It’s okay if you don’t know how to make it—between the internet and the eight of us, we’ll figure out something close.

You’re welcome to dive in and get your hands dirty or to sit quietly and nurse a cup of tea. We all have some pretty complicated feelings around the holidays—I call it the “nostalgia for the family I didn’t have” and it’s okay if you’re feeling some of that right now. Do what we do—sit with the feeling until it becomes too intense, then drown it in a whole day of baking and stuffing Christmas cookies in your face.

Most folks scatter back home late Christmas Eve, but I’ve got a cozy guest room set up, if you’d like to stay? It’ll be a quiet night, lit by the glow of my tiny tree.

In the morning, it’s time for No Stress Christmas. Bio family might not be an option but, I can sure throw a lovely event that is exactly what I want right now—and that includes you right here with us, along with anyone else who needs a place on Christmas Day. You can sleep in a bit late, if you want, but make sure to be up around 10:00 if you want to snag a waffle! Usually I pile mine high with ice cream, maple syrup, and bacon. Hey, just because we’re holiday siblings doesn’t mean you can judge me! It’s delicious! Do you want one?

Did you remember your stuff for the stocking stuffer exchange? Wait, I didn’t tell you about that? Er. Sorry. But I always have extras, and here’s a stocking just for you! There should be a little silly gift and a tasty treat from everyone inside. Go ahead and open it while I put on Die Hard.

Are you a person who paints your nails? I’m going paint teeny penguins on mine—you’re welcome to join me. Otherwise, settle down on the floor to do some glitter crafts or color a curse-word coloring sheet (so cathartic!) while the movie plays.

That ham sure is smelling good, isn’t it? (Er, are you a vegetarian now? I can’t remember. I have a veggie roast on too though! Everyone should have a good holiday meal.) It won’t be ready for a while yet, but there should be lots of snacks around—plus all the cookies from Baking Our Feelings!—while we’re waiting.

Otherwise, just relax and whittle away a calm and indulgent day with all of us, Christmas cheer encouraged but optional. It’s not perfect, but hey, neither are we. And that’s okay! We love you exactly as you are, holiday sibling, and we’re so glad you joined us.

Love,

Sister Brit

Holiday Mom: Mama Bea

m20161126Hello and welcome to my home,

Don’t mind the dog or the chaos my daughters create. Take a seat at the table and get ready to enjoy a great meal. I love Thanksgiving and am so happy to share this one with you. In our house Thanksgiving is unique. As the years have past we are a smaller group but we have kept certain traditions. Our pilgrims are partially Cuban and our turkey will have sides of black beans, rice, yuca, sweet potatoes, plantains and stuffing. The stuffing is made following my mom’s recipe and we keep multiple copies of the recipe on hand because just like some life events are officials until they are Facebook official, thanksgiving at my house isn’t official until my mom’s stuffing is on the table.

As you fill your belly with food and my kids ask you a million questions know that in my home you are part of the family. This life is too short and too crazy to not try to choose love and happiness every chance you get. I am proud that you have chosen to be true to yourself and know that while they may not fully understand yet, my girls look up to you because you are being yourself.

Every opportunity I get I tell them to be the best them that they can be and I want to share that sentiment with you. You are who you are and that alone makes you worthy of love and respect. Know in your heart of hearts that there is value in being true to yourself.

While your stop in my home will be brief know that as you travel your journey I will think of you and hope you are happy, safe and loved. The world is a better place because you are here and don’t forget this for a second.

As the evening winds down and now the little ones start to fade, I will make sure that you have a proper Cuban coffee and some sweets. Thanksgiving is usually finished with a serving or two of pumpkin pie and flan. The adults may be a little giddy from too much food or too much wine, but know that you are in welcome and joyful company. Always know that you belong here and that there will be a smile to greet you at the door and some food waiting at the table.

All the best,

Mama Bea

Holiday Mom: Mama Tee

Spinning, Disneyland ParisTo my beautiful child,

Happy Holidays!!  I am so excited that it is the holiday season because I love to bake, the weather is finally colder and I am in the Holiday spirit. Even though it is November 1 and just last night I was helping you with your Harley Quinn costume. We had so much fun, I don’t know how you got that water proof dark blue lipstick off! But I’m glad you didn’t get any of it on my best bathroom decorative towels (laugh out loud). Anyway, while you’re out I am making some sugar cookies and coquito (Puerto Rican egg nog). The coquito should be good and marinated by tomorrow and I am making a big batch of cookies so that we can eat them with the coquito while watching American Horror Story. This Thanksgiving I want us to go to the Grand Illumination parade. There will be a marching band, rescue dogs walking in the parade, colorful floats and horses. You know how much your mama loves horses. The week after that is Thanksgiving so me and you are going to your Uncle Henry and Aunt Toni’s house for dinner. They’re an older couple and they never have a lot of guests so you can invite a friend if you like.

Did you want to do some Black Friday shopping? Remember the fun we had doing it last year? We got up at two in the morning, went to Waffle House, ate a big breakfast, then we stood in line bundled up in our winter fur coats with thermoses full of cappuccino. I don’t think I ever had that much fun shopping. But I always have fun with my baby at any time of the year. You know what? We should buy each other ugly Christmas sweaters, wear them together with matching leggings and Uggs. That would be so much fun! You know I’m such a cornball so I understand if you don’t want to (laugh out loud).  But on a serious note, this Holiday season I want us to focus on giving more so than receiving. As I normally do every year, I will be volunteering at the cold weather shelter every other weekend. I want you to volunteer with me one day. I know you are busy and you may have plans, but just take an hour out of your day for me.

I love you to life,

Mama Tee