Happy Holidays 2013: Shamama Robin

RobinListen to the audio recording of this message.

Dear Holiday Child,

How exciting to find us here again this year! This is my third year, but year one had only an audio that got passed around. Then last year was so fabulous, and I loved creating our video and bringing the community together to say “WE LOVE YOU” to all of you out there in need of a Holiday Mom.

This year, I’d like to tell you how it’s going to be around our house, and I’d love for you to imagine being right here with us. Even if it can’t happen for real, there is something very powerful about the imagination. At least, that’s what I tell my biological kids.

We do Christmas here, though not in any traditional way. Sometime or other the tree will go up. The kids will gather—well, the adult kids. Mine are 25 and 21 now… crazy how the time passes.

I can tell you for sure what I’ll be doing when they arrive: Staring at them.  I know it sounds strange, but I fall in love each and every time I look at them. Truly I am in awe at how my children have grown and who they have become.

If you were here, I’d be staring at you, too.

So independent, so strong, and yet living with such heart.

I’m not just an over the top mom. I come by this honestly. You see, I lost most of my own family pretty young, including my younger brother to suicide because he thought he was gay. And so I don’t take my kids for granted.  I can’t. Something about that kind of loss changes you. In my case, I decided to take all the pain (it’s still there) and make it mean something.

We are both here today inside this website, you and me, because of that decision.

As we gather, there will likely be a little bit of advice giving to my kids. Not what they should or should not do, that’s not for me to say. But something about HOW they do whatever they will do, and what is important, and what isn’t—at least according to mom.

Since you are here now reading, I’ll pass it along a few tidbits to you.

My child, never forget how amazing it is that you can breathe fresh air, and laugh, and make choices, and feel love. We tend to focus on all we don’t have, because we live in a culture of having. But having this moment, this breath, is kind of like the Fourth Of July fireworks if you really pay attention to it. There are a ton of things that cost nothing. But most people don’t pay any attention to those things. If you do, though, you feel rich. Be that kind of rich and I’ll be ever so impressed.  And then the “money” really does start to take care of itself, just like they say.

While we are on the topic of things taking care of themselves… I will say right now I believe in you and I believe in your “destiny.” I believe your life, well lived in accordance with your own truth, will take you where you need to be. It’s not all good, and I won’t insult you by saying it is, or ever will be. We will leave that to the salespeople. But it’s not all bad either, and you have to let go of the worry that it will be.

That’s another big thing: Worry. Let me say right here, as strong as I can, that worry kills. It kills your time, and energy, and vision. You can’t worry AND get ahead. I believe you’re amazing enough to trust that you’ll figure something out in due time, and get on with things right now. So let yourself relax a bit. Grades? Jobs? Love life? Yes, it’s all important. But it’s not ALL IMPORTANT.

Now, because I know this matters more than you are likely to say, a word about your looks. You are gorgeous.  Even if you think you are not gorgeous (you are), you would be to me. If you just get out there and shine on, people will see beauty when they look at you, no matter what you look like on a given day. This is more true than you know yet. In the mean time, I hope you’ll trust me on this.

Oh yes, and if others are putting you down, it’s because they are scared of something. Always. Really.

Okay my Holiday Child, so that is how it would go if you were at our house…  that and the all day snacking, the presents that were chosen because they have real meaning (wrapped in newspaper or recycled bags, because that’s how we roll), and a whole lot of laughing.

You’d meet my in-love’s (my husband’s parents are the BEST, and yes, even in their mid-eighties they would LOVE you too—in fact, you’ll likely hear from them this holiday season, too).

You’d get razzed by your siblings, and maybe you and I would sneak away to have a nice long talk about your new job, or school, or your love life (or lack thereof), or whatever else is going on. And I’d cheer you on, no matter what it was you were trying to accomplish. Because that’s how I roll.

Holiday child, no matter your age (you can be my child at 65 if you want, I don’t care), or sexual preferences, or gender orientation, or personal style, you are welcome here.

This season, I’ll hold you in my heart, knowing it might not be so good where you are. I’ll think of you, and send a prayer to any “god” willing to accept you right along side me and everyone else. I’ll include deep wishes for your joy, and wellbeing, and safety, and future, and anything else I can think of.

Oh yes, did I mention you’re gorgeous?

Love, Shamama


  1. Xavier says:

    Dear Shamama,
    At a cusp of time where it felt so excruciating painful and desperately eternal, reading your message gave me light to stave off this darkness. Thank you, and all the holiday moms, for this precious, deeply needed work.
    With love,

    • Shamama says:

      Xavier… the world would be less without you, I know this. It is not eternal, for even if you tried, things could not stay the same. Bless you that you were willing to read, willing to have the darkness staved off… HUGS from Shamama…

  2. Angelica says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. They helped make my day. I can honestly say that while I do have a loving Mother (my father died when I was young) the rest of my family is not as accepting of having a Bi in their family. Though I love my catholic family, please don’t get me wrong, I will admit that it still gets under my skin. I honestly can not thank you enough Holiday Mama Shamama.

    Thank you again,


  3. Sarah says:

    -sigh- Your letter touched my heart. My own family hasn’t disowned me or anything, but they don’t fully accept me either. Whenever it’s mentioned, or I dress the wrong way, or pay too much attention to the “wrong” gender, I get a “You’re going to hell” speech. At times it’s as if they’re trying to force me to be straight. They want me to meet their standards, even if it makes me miserable. It’s an amazing feeling to know that somewhere, somebody accepts me for who I am. Thank you so much! (:

    • Shamama says:

      HI Sarah… well, from this mama, you’ll get a oh-that-one-IS-cute!… and a way-cool-outfit-Sarah, so YOU…. and a big hug! And honey, if you are going to hell, you’ll no doubt see me at the front of the line leading the pack (not that I believe it for a minute). All this to say… I’m WITH you! You are more than just fine to me!

  4. Connor says:

    To Shamama,
    Thank you for this. As a trans son of conservative parents, and a younger sibling of a really outstanding sister, my family has always regarded me with confusion and disbelief – bordering on disgust. They think it’s their fault I’m “broken,” and never acknowledge the fact that transitioning might be making me happy. Your letter made me smile, and realize that although I don’t have my biological family supporting me, there are other people who are happy to replace them – my friends, my neighbors, and all the holiday moms here. I guess Christmas doesn’t have to be so bad, as long as there’s still people like you in this world.
    Happy holidays,

    • Shamama says:

      You are so welcome Connor. Transitioning can make you happier, of course it can! I am so glad you found us here to share in the wonder of your transformation. There are so many of us here to support you. Blessings this Christmas, I will think of you!!!

  5. Trans Mom says:

    Robin, what can I say! I think I’ll be looking into buying stock in the paper industry because the boxes of tissue at my house are dwindling at an alarming rate. Thank you for all that you do, especially here.

  6. samanta says:

    Dear Shamama, I really thank you for what you do and for your words.
    We wish you and your family all the best.
    Samanta & Elvira

  7. Kenzie says:

    I sat through this entire thing crying. A friend sent me this via tumblr because they know my family is self proclaimed homophobic and my parents have told me if any of us (there’s four of us ages 11-21) ever come out to them, we’re being kicked out. Which is a problem because I identify as bisexual and have a girlfriend.

    But they don’t know it or her. They don’t know, can’t know. I wasn’t coming on here to forget about my own family or even pretend what is happening isn’t happening. It was just nice to imagine just for once I belonged somewhere in a family during my favorite holiday, somewhere where my parents loved me because of who I was and still could look at me like the same daughter they raised without being disgusted or hateful.

    I wish if you could wish things hard enough, they’d happen. But whenever I feel discouraged and lonely, I’ll remember there’s a home where I felt welcome, even if it was in my head and even if I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. Thank you, oh so much.

    • Shamama says:

      Oh Kenzie, I am so sorry this is true for you. And so glad I can be there, at least deep in your imagination and heart, cheering you on. You are beautiful to me! We’ll have a happy Christmas together in our hearts!

  8. Andrew Wagner says:

    Wow. I came out to my parents last Thanksgiving, and this Thanksgiving I stayed at a friends house. It wasn’t the same and I missed my family dearly.

    Thank you so much for showing me what a real parent who loves their child should look like.


  9. Ashley says:

    Thank you. Thanksgiving was hard for me (my mom didn’t mean to out me to my stepfather’s mother, meme, but now she’s convinced I’m a damned sinner. I miss you love now.). This meant the world to me. Just, thank you.

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