Your Holiday Mom: Mamma Donna

Hello, my darling.  I know you didn’t want to get out of bed for most of this year (neither did I), but you did and I am so proud of you for doing so.  Trust.  It was hard, but we both made it through – and that’s saying something.  Here’s to us!

We’re still here, that hasn’t changed and we’re still as fabulous as we were before.  Heartsick, weary and battered, sure.  But we endure and that’s what matters.

I am so proud of you, no matter what.  You’re here, and that’s amazing.  Nothing could ever replace the you-shaped space you make in this world, and your very presence is all the gift I could ever ask for.  That’s the biggest thing you could ever give me – more You.  Tuck it away someplace, drag it out when the haters get you down.  My mother gave that to me when I was your age – it’s served me well.

We’re going to open the house up again on Christmas Eve, just like I did with my late husband did with his family growing up.  His father had worked with a number of people who had defected from their home countries after WWII and had no way to return home for the holidays.  Being Swiss, he had thought this nonsense and had simply brought everyone home with him.

We open the doors to everybody, we don’t care who comes in.  Can you smell the candles burning?  Or the cookies baking?  I always try to bake at least one batch during the day so anyone coming over can have some warm out of the oven (and they make the house smell incredible).  I’ve started finding and wrapping little presents, nothing big – but it wouldn’t be the holidays without a little something-something, so I’ve started looking into the sales and dollar stores for things I can give away.  The little towels that expand out when you get them wet are my favorites!

We always watch a lot of television, play frisbee and eat too much junk food too.  Oh well.

My wish for you is the same now, as it always has been.  I wish for you a beautiful life, my holiday child.  You mean so much to us, now and forever, I wish I could say with mere words.  However it comes down, know you are loved for who you are.  That never changes.

May you find some magic, and sweep up some luck from the sidewalks.

Love Always,

Mamma Donna


  1. sarah says:

    I’m suicidal, i have been for a year now. I had an eight year abusive relationship, nearly died but got out. I fixed ny life mostly. Then a year ago i got sexually assaulted again, which was the start of ny life falling apart and me loosing everything i had worked for. I even moved house in July, only to be repeatedly assaulted sexually by ny live in landlord. Before being made homeless. I’m trying this last month or so to put it all behind me and again restart.i still hurt myself, drink too much and think if killing myself amd most of the time i am completely alone. No frirnds or family, but I’m trying. Thank you for that inspirational message. It really struck a chord with me

    • Auntie Hay says:

      Dear Sarah-
      First off, we may not have met before now, but please believe me when I tell you I care very deeply for you. I can see that you are in pain, and I wish I could take some of it on for you. I am here for you, as well as so many others at this site, and we all want you to be safe.
      I know life can all feel like too much sometimes, but this world needs you in it. In my area we have a crisis line you can call where there is someone who always picks up the phone to talk if you need it, and can get you in touch with counseling of some kind if need be…. I would encourage you to find something like this in your area if you can. If you aren’t ready, or can’t find anything like that, please come back here any time and post a message so that we can shower you with a bit of love and understanding.
      You’ve already reached out here, and I’m so glad you have. The first step is always the hardest. I am so proud of you for continuing on despite all the obstacles you are facing…. you are beautiful and inspiring and amazing and so much stronger than you may know- don’t ever forget it.
      You aren’t alone any more; you have all of us here, and we are in your corner, cheering you on, and ready to pick you up and comfort you if you fall.
      All my love,
      Auntie Hay

    • Mom Marni says:

      Sweet Sarah,

      I echo everything Auntie Hay has said above. Have you heard of the Trevor Project? Here is the link:

      There is always someone there who is available to chat in whatever way suits you the best–phone, computer chat, or text. Please do reach out to them or to a local help line. You are so needed in this world. There is no one exactly like you, and no one else has your unique talents and gifts.

      Sweetheart, you may not have found your family in love yet, but they are out there. I’m sorry that life has been so dang hard for you up to this point. There IS hope. I know it’s hard to imagine that right now. But there are others out there just like Mamma Donna who–despite their own struggles–open their hearts and homes to fellow travelers just like you. This is where the seeds of friendship are planted.

      I love you, Sarah. I’m setting a place at the table especially for you this year. My wife and I look forward to virtually welcoming you to our home for the holidays! Surrounding you with a warm, tight bear hug that last for days!!! xoxoxoxo

    • Your Holiday Ciocia says:

      Dear Sarah,
      Sending you some extra kindness and light. You are not alone, I will be thinking of you today.

    • Mamma Donna says:

      *blows air* It makes one think of ‘every time I get up, I get knocked down again.’

      I know what my mother would have told me. (And she went into nurses’ training during WWII.) “Don’t believe you can pay for safety by allowing yourself to be used.”

      Can you come over and sit on the couch with me for a moment? See how I keep my hands to myself, and don’t just assume I can cuddle you like a wee? I might offer to hold your hand, and I will put hot drinks and food in front of you, as much as you like – but when you want touch, we’ll both know when it’s right. I will offer, and you will decide – but never, ever decide that it’s okay to do it when you don’t want to. I will offer because you deserve to be loved and accepted, without quarter. If you offer youself in trade, they will not like you more, forgive you more, help you more, get over being mad (really, what have they truly got to be mad about?) with you more, like you more, any of that.

      That will come on its own, not because you did something to “earn” it. Someone taught me a lesson this year – respect is not earned. Disgust IS earned, respect is what you give everyone without thinking about it. There is no reason to believe you have to earn respect, there is no bar for you to jump over to get it. (And by that token, respecting others does not require you to prove anything.)

      Assault upon you is never your fault. Abuse is never your fault. If I were facing your situation, I think I would be thinking of any kind of solution, including suicide too – so, no. I hear you. I’ve known many homeless people who ended up there because ‘home’ was less safe and welcoming than the streets! You deserve better, and nobody is telling the truth if they say otherwise. I’ll second the Trevor Project, but I will also add RAINN ( as a resource. You need more than your own memories to guide you right now – and an example of a truly safe, secure place to reset your gauges. If suicide appears as a good solution, you need more options to chose from – nothing more. I think they’re out there, and I believe you will find them if you don’t cave and blame yourself instead of reaching for them.

      If you do this, I will get the best gift this season – more you. This is the biggest gift you can give ANYONE, nobody needs more socks or hot chocolate mix more than they need you, babykins. We are in desperate need of YOU, and nothing would ever fill the you-sized space in this world better.

      Love you to the moon and back, and please. I’m sending you to friends, because I can’t be there myself – let them do what they do for everyone. Love you to pieces.

  2. mido says:

    Wow, thanks.
    I know I don’t have it hard, but this makes me happy.
    With you I don’t have to deal with being called someone’s daughter and told not only to marry a guy, but which kind.
    I look forward to the day when I don’t have to leave any part of me in the closet.

    • Mamma Donna says:

      Oh honey, the closet is for things we store until we need them. We *always* need you, so no – the closet is NOT for you. Ever. <3

      • Caoime says:

        Hi Mamma Donna! I just wanted to let you know that I love you and your kind messages. I really appreciate and thank you <3 Although I am out to my mum as a lesbian and she “accepts me” I still feel like something is missing or as if it’s not quite right. I’m scared though that i will actually be straight and prove everyone right. I get told that it is a phase a lot and it effects me a lot. Even if you don’t see this or reply. I just wanted to tell you. Thank you <3

  3. Auntie Hay says:

    Good morning Barbara!
    It sounds like you’re had a rough year…. I’m sorry that your parents are having a hard time accepting the real you, but I am incredibly proud of you for getting into therapy, and so glad it’s been a help for you.
    I tear up pretty much every time I get on this site- there is so much pain…. but you “kids” (and mommas) and the love you have and share with us, despite all the hard times, has given me the most amazing holiday season I’ve ever had.
    You inspire me, and I’m sure many others, to love more deeply and openly than I knew was possible.
    Thanks for being here, and thanks for being you. You are amazing, and I cherish you.
    Auntie Hay

  4. Sam says:

    Hi 🙂 my name is Sam.. I‘m a transboy from Berlin and I‘m really thankful for this page and all those letters tbh. I feel really lonely since I came out in June and I don‘t know how to handle ny negative feelings often. But me reading all of this, imagining I would have a understanding, helping family and drowning myself in those fantasies really helps sometimes.. thank you so much for giving me the hope I need.

    • Mamma Donna says:

      M’love, I am as real and human as you are. And no fantasy – and I am deathly sorry you don’t have anyone at hand to prove that in person. They do exist, and you will find them – of this, I am sure!

      Keep your eyes and heart open. Love will find you. I am sure of it.

  5. Barbara says:

    Hello my name is Barbara,

    Reading all of these letter makes me tear up some. This is the first Christmas alone since I came out as bisexual. My parent pretty much cut me completely out of there lives after I graduated high school which was just in may. In that time I have gotten engaged and they are missing out on a lot because they cant push past the fact that I am not only in to boys. I have gotten a case of depression which has actually been improving due to therapy visits. The fact that there is kids my age that feel the way I do makes me really sad.. But people like everyone on this site writing to kids and accepting us for who we are makes me feel better. Thank you so much for this

    • Mamma Donna says:

      I remember not being my mother’s favorite flavor – I knew it, knew she still loved me but still. She never really got me, and it hurt. Particularly when the media LOVES to remind you that mothers are just The Best Thing for all ills, and well. Mine wasn’t, despite being very good at what she did. And oh, dear God she loved me, in spite of it. I know what it is to just not be The Thing. It’s not you, or them. It just is what it is, and diversity is not evil. Embrace the differences, if you can. It’s easier to forgive, because when faced with reality, the ones who can do that will be happy – instead of those who fight it, and are miserable for it.

      And yeah, the stuff they’re missing? You’re absolutely right. It’s the good stuff, and man – what a waste. Depression? Of course. Again, this is supposed to just be hard, and you can work through hard things, right?

      Except you can’t work through other people’s stuff, just your own.

      A lot of my holiday traditions originated with the first person I got engaged to – and good for you, lucky one! This is your first Christmas without the familiar faces, not alone – neh? Life is like this, ever changing – remember, that’s the only thing you can truly tie to. Life WILL be about change. Noticing it, grieving the losses, getting excited for the future – all that is normal.

      I was terrified of the future when I graduated high school. I was only seventeen, but I would move out and be on my own at nineteen, despite the sheer terror of “now what do I do?”

      You will do. You will be amazing. Trust. I’m some decades in the future, think of it that way. I’m not you, but I have been just out of high school and meeting people who aren’t family of origin, and making family of my own.

      It’s going to be okay. All is well, and all will be will. Tuck this away as your own personal magic. You are going to be okay – I’m sure of it.

      Love you, baby. To the Moon and back.

    • Your Holiday Ciocia says:

      Hi Barbara,

      I’m sorry to hear your family doesn’t accept you but I am happy to hear you found someone you love who makes you happy!

      If it’s ok with you, let us gush with you over your exciting news with your favorite winter beverage!

      Wishing you lots of love and light!

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