To hear Tammy read her letter, click here!
Dear Holiday Child,
It’s getting chilly here in Colorado. Do your snowboots still fit this year? Have your feet stopped growing yet? If your body has stopped getting taller, how about the rest of you? How’s your understanding of the world, of people, deepened? If you’re trans and you’re taking hormones, how has your body changed? Does it feel new and strange, or newly familiar?
However you’ve changed or stayed the same, we love you. We want to hug you and ask you too many questions and feed you all sorts of good things. Tonight, we’re having venison and veggies and holiday cookies with wayyyy too many sprinkles, because little hands helped make them. We want to decorate our house with you and your two teeny sisters. We want to go out at night to admire all the decked-out houses in town. It will be dark and quiet, and we’ll be able to see our breath. Our boots will crunch over the snow. To me, those lights reflected in your happy eyes are about as close to magic as anything.
Here, in this tall blue-and-white house with the lock that sticks, we like to celebrate Christmas. We’re not particularly religious about it. We celebrate the idea of family and togetherness. (With you this year! We are so excited!) The littlest girl is too young to really understand. The preschooler gets pretty dang happy, mostly about gifts. I love every tiny detail of it. Corey gets annoyed sometimes, because the pressure to buy, buy, buy intrudes on his wish to just be close to the people he loves. Do you prefer to celebrate Christmas, or another holiday? What’s your favorite way to put some joy into this cold, dark time of year? What repetitive Christmas carol do you hate the most? Ha!
I remember the first time I visited my mother’s house for Christmas after moving out at eighteen. I was so excited to go back. Even though the house had changed, it was still my permanent address, still what I thought of when I thought of home. But, going to sleep the first night back, I knew something was wrong. Something had been irreversibly altered. I cried, not knowing why. Soon I realized what it was: by going out into the world, learning new things, meeting new people and considering their viewpoints, I had gotten bigger. I didn’t fit as neatly anymore, into my family or my concept of home.
A few years later, having finally come out to myself and my friends as bisexual, I scraped together the courage to tell my conservative-Christian mother as we took a brisk walk around the park. I was visiting home once again. She listened intently, frowning a little, as I told her how the first person I’d ever “liked like that” had been the little neighbor girl when I was four. How nothing had “turned” me, how I’d always felt this way. How growing up in gay-condemning churches had torn me up inside. How I couldn’t even admit to myself that most of the people I wanted to date in high school were girls. How could I? My mother would have lost her job. Our family would have been ostracized. But now I was free. I could tell the truth. She was not pleased, but she tried to be kind. She explained that she would always love me and pray for me (funny how prayer can feel like a weapon), but that if I ever brought a girlfriend home, she would not be welcome in Mom’s house. So there it was—another fracture in the idea of home. Home had gotten just a little bit smaller, once again.
Yet, a funny thing has happened since then. As I’ve grown and expanded into the world, my idea of home’s grown too. It helps that I have my own house now, where I live with Corey and our two little girls. You’re welcome here. But more than that, you BELONG. You belong in this world. It’s YOURS. Your home. Your place to build a physical home when you’re ready, and make it the best, most inclusive place you can. Your family home, however cramped it’s been feeling lately, has no power to diminish that truth.
So darling, stay here a while. It’s warm. You’re loved. The girls want to play Legos with you, and Corey and I want to talk. When you leave, remember that this is your world as much as anyone else’s. Whenever you’re feeling broken or lonely, come back and listen to my words. When you want someone to help you celebrate good things in your life, come smile along with me. Come feel the warmth of my love. You deserve every little bit of it.
Your holiday mom (and dad and sisters!)
Tammy, Corey, and the girls