Listen To The Audio Recording Of This Message
I’m so glad to be standing in as your holiday mom this year! Although I can’t imagine what your life is or how it can be that any child would live in fear or reality of being rejected because of who you are, what I can fully imagine is our hearts coming together in the spirit of love. Thank you for letting me be a part of your holiday.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about my connection to the LGBTQ community. My daughter Lauren is 19 and lives openly as a lesbian. She knew she was different along the way, mostly because she always preferred to buy her clothes from the boys’ department rather than shop for girl clothes. As her mom, I noticed little things over the years that indicated she was outside the perceived ‘norm.’ When Lauren was 16, while our entire family was gathered (grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, her dad and me), she nervously came and said she wanted to tell us something and went on to share that she’s a lesbian. There wasn’t a moment of hesitation before her family began offering their love and support. I won’t say she doesn’t still have struggles, because she does. Our society hasn’t yet decided to fully integrate those who appear to be so ‘different.’ But I have full confidence things are changing and we’ll see dramatic shifts in our lifetime.
In sharing Lauren’s story with you, what I want to tell you, is that you are just as loved. Whether or not there are people in your everyday life who show you and let you know how perfect you already are, I’m telling you. You are who you are meant to be, and it’s ok whatever that is, however it looks. If you aren’t able for some reason to share your beautiful self with those you love most, know that it’s still ok to be you—even if for now it’s kept inside.
In order to really connect our hearts, let’s close our eyes and take a moment to be together for the holidays: Thanksgiving day for us is very much about the warmth of family and food. What’s a family gathering without food? We’ll be at my parents’ house this year—a new home they’ve just bought and are filling with their own brand of love. My favorite is the family room just off the kitchen, where a cozy fire burns in the wood stove.
We’ve just had three new babies added to our family, so everyone will be cooing and smiling at them as we laugh and share together throughout the day. A day or two before Thanksgiving, I’ll be making a family favorite—pumpkin roll (YUM!) and as I do, I’ll imagine you sitting here in my kitchen, on one of the bar stools drinking tea or hot cocoa. We’ll be taking in the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon as it fills the kitchen, and of course having a little taste of the cream cheese filling! This is our time to visit together, and I want to hear all you wish to share about what’s happening in your life. You might even bring home that special loved one and share our family circle with them, too. You are both always welcome here.
On Christmas day, we’ll be exchanging gifts as a family (that’s right—the WHOLE family once again!) ‘Yankee Swap’ style. Do you know what this is? We’re from New England originally although we now live in Atlanta, so we call it Yankee Swap, but it’s also known as White Elephant. There are numbers enough for all of us in the group—and we randomly pull one. Let’s hope we don’t get number 1 because that person chooses a gift first. But then #2 can either keep their own gift, or if you’re #1—they can take yours! And so on, up to the last number, so that’s the one you want! There’s going to be a lot of laughing through this game, because we have a gang of pranksters. Uncle Ryan is famous for bringing the gift he wants to keep for himself—cases of Mountain Dew, movie passes and some Cocoa Krispies! It’s very fun and the highlight of our afternoon. For us it’s less about the gifts and more about how much we’re laughing together.
Through all these holiday gatherings this year, you’ll be with me in my heart. I hope that as you read this, you can imagine yourself in our family circle, surrounded by love and acceptance. In this space, you are loved fully—unconditionally. You are as special as the one on your left, your right, across from you. I’m smiling with the thought and feeling of YOU. As your mom, I can’t tell you enough how much you are loved. Whatever you feel, however you need to express yourself from the inside out—you can.
While I don’t know your life story, I do know you may have struggles with just being yourself. I want you to know, even that is ok. It’s ok if you don’t have all the answers and you can’t make it ‘good’ for everyone around you. It’s ok if you’re unsure yourself of what you feel or how to take the next step of your life. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ about you, even in the deepest parts where there is pain or uncertainty. We don’t have to have all the answers.
I’m so glad to have spent this time with you. Imagine my arms wrapped around you while we laugh and cry together. You’ll be with me in my heart this holiday season—my own special gift. I’m so glad to be sharing this time and space with you. Thank you for letting me be part of your life. I know that you will forever be part of mine.
With much love,