Happy Holidays: Mom Jackie

Listen To The Audio Recording Of This Message

Dearest Adopted Loved One,

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,

Mom Jackie


  1. Minerva Ortiz says:

    I have a daughter who came out about 2 years ago. We kept it a secret for a good year being we come from a very conservative family. We slowly began to share with family little by little and have been pleasantly surprised by the love and support she’s received…from some of the least likely sources. We watched the movie “The Help” together and in one scene the main character’s mother mistakenly suspects that her daughter might be confused about her sexual orientation and suggested she drink a root tea that would take those “feelings” away. After the movie, I told my daughter that even if there was such a tea, I’d never buy it…she’s perfect..she’s the only daughter I’d ever want to have and I love her just as she is.

    • Jackie says:

      Minerva….you’re an amazing mom! And if your daughter warms your heart as much as Lauren does mine, I’m certain she’s equally incredible. I believe the more WE as individuals and families are able to openly accept ALL of ourselves and each other, we are BEING the change this community so needs.

      I love The Help and remember Skeeter’s mom saying that to her about the root tea. It seemed ridiculous to me, but especially after the real time connection with so many here, it’s a sad reality how many feel rejected and expected to change or be cured. As for me, no way I would want Lauren to change who she is. 🙂 Glad to know you and your family are so loving and supportive. Wishing much love to you all in 2013. Xo

  2. Jill says:

    Thank you Mom-Jackie! This is a lonely time of year, so it was nice to get another mom-message on Christmas Day.

    I wish I was there to make you all presents, and to find out how to make a pumpkin roll. I’d never even heard of a pumpkin roll until I read your message, so I looked up a recipe online and I’m going to bake one tonight. I’ll be thinking of all of you while I do!

    • Jackie says:

      Oh Jill, you’re so welcome. I’m certain I’d love the gifts you made….and that pumpkin roll too! Tell me how delicious it was. I’ll post my recipe for you here later. It’s part of our family tradition, and very yummy with tea or coffee. When Lauren read that part of my letter yesterday she said ‘that’s just what we’d be doing too!’

      Lots of love to you Jill. It’s really such a gift to be connected with you all this holiday season. Xo

      • Jill says:

        I’d love to see your recipe! I made a mini-batch for mine, just in case I messed it up. I realized last minute that I didn’t have any cream cheese for the icing, so I used whipped cream and berries as a cheat’s solution. Not bad, although I can see why a classic cream cheese icing would be ideal. I’ll have to bake another one once I have all of the ingredients so I can see what it’s like when it’s done right.
        (I never would’ve thought that I’d find a new type of cake by visiting this website! This holiday project has had unexpected side benefits.)

        • Jackie L. Robinson says:

          Wow – you’re so resourceful Jill! I don’t know if I would have thought of the whip cream and berries….yummy….but perhaps not quite ‘right.’ Ok, so here’s the real deal, as my stepmom used to make when we were little. It’s now a request of my extended family every Thanksgiving and this year my sister-in-law wanted it as her birthday treat!

          Pumpkin Roll

          Beat 3 eggs 5 minutes
          Gradually add 1 cup sugar and beat well
          Stir in 2/3 cup pumpkin filling
          Add 1 teaspoon (tsp) lemon juice
          Add 3/4 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt and beat well.

          Spread in greased jelly roll pan or edged cookie sheet. (Works best to butter the pan, using cold pat of butter. Be sure to cover well, as you can’t use too much and you want to be able to flip the cake out when done.)

          Top with 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
          Bake 375 for 15 minutes. Turn out onto towel covered with confectioner sugar. Start at narrow end and roll towel & cake together. Cool. Unroll and spread filling out onto cake. Reroll.

          1 1/2 cup confectioner sugar
          Block of cream cheese
          6 tablespoons soft butter
          3/4-1 teaspoon vanilla (I like a little extra!)

          Viola! ENJOY!!!

          You never do know what you’ll find when you enter a community filled with love, do you? 😉 xoxoxo

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