Happy Holidays: Mom Teri

Listen To The Audio Version Of This Message

Hi There My Adopted Holiday Child!

I am so glad to be spending this moment with you.

This holiday, I wanted to do something that would make my son proud of the mom he knew. You see in 1999, I lost Josh, my only child, just two months shy of his 22nd birthday. I was a single mom and he had always kept me on my toes. I think the one moment that really made me proud of him and reflected back to me the merit of my unconventional child-rearing techniques (which pretty much consisted of, “How the hell do I raise a child?”) was when he came to me in middle school to tell me he couldn’t be like everyone else. He could only swim upstream. He had tried fitting in, but being true to himself was so much easier than being like everyone else. It didn’t mean sometimes he didn’t feel left out of the dance, but it meant he knew he would be able look himself in the eye and smile . . . eventually. 

So when I saw the chance to be YOUR Holiday Mom this year, I thought, “WHY, OF COURSE!” My heart is full of big, wide-open spaces for a whole host of holiday kids, just like the Montana I live in.

I know how the holidays can be difficult, especially for those who are without family, no matter what the reason. How oftentimes the “humbug” we feel isn’t what we want to feel, but just is what we feel. It is a particularly difficult time when we find we aren’t able to really express who we are – I know that happens a lot in the LGBTQ community.

That glittery holiday dress you delight in isn’t something you are permitted to wear because you don’t fit society’s accepted mold. The frustrations of having to attend gatherings for work without your partners, or having to sneak around to openly express who you are.  Listening to everyone talk about the plans with their family knowing that your family no longer welcomes you, or feeling like a house full of your own children someday is only a dream.

This year, I want you to know that there is someone you can be yourself with. So imagine joining me for the Holidays. Let’s sing those annoying carols. You know, the ones that make you laugh and especially the ones that warm you so deep down, you can’t help but feel you are part of something wonderful. Come tell me about the crazy people out there shopping that get under your skin, the mistletoe at the party you so wanted to stand under, and the cookie exchange at work you felt uncomfortable joining. Really tell me about what this holiday season has evolved into for you. Share with me those wistful memories of family Christmas (if you have them, or even the bad ones, if that’s your reality), and let me listen as you work your way through those times to where we are right now in 2012.  Imagine me seeing who you have become and hearing how your own traditions are reflective of the road you travel and of the people who understand what makes you tick.

I have a hug and a warm cup of cider, spiked or unspiked (if you are of age!), waiting for you. Imagine us sharing Christmas, and together we can build some new memories!

Love & Hugs,

Your Adopted Mom, Teri



  1. Cathy says:

    My Dear Friend Teri,

    I am one of the many blessed to have known Josh. What an incredible and loving soul.

    My struggle was and somewhat still is the same as anyone who stands in courage to be who they are- without apology, without explanation without need to justify to anyone else that I AM PERFECT THE WAY I AM. And the only acceptance I truly need, ultimately, is my own.

    In my darkest moment, one night, as I struggled with whether or not to go through committing suicide, Josh came calling. How perfect his timing. He sat with me all night and held me and rocked with me and let me cry on his shoulder. During my time with him I felt such a powerful love and knew in that moment if a ‘human’ could love and accept me like this, then my loving Creator does so in ways I can only imagine. Ultimately and Unconditionally.

    I know, as you know, Josh is proud of you. Not only because you have moved forward in your life but also because you didn’t shut down. You opened your heart and arms to love and accept and support….. like he did for me that night.

    With Love and Gratitude,
    CC in CA.

    • Tamilyn says:

      thank you for sharing Cathy …i am soo happy you had such a great friend in your time of need and bless you Teri for your warm heartfelt letter and for raising such an amazing man who has able to give the greatest gift to someone who needed it..time
      xo love and squishey hugs to you both xo

  2. Tyler says:

    The video I just watched with my boyfriend (both of us are ftm transgender) definitely made my night and gave me a bit more hope for the future. Thank you for everything you’re doing<3

    • Jackie says:

      Like you, Tyler I have much hope for the future. Although it may not be moving at the pace we’d like, I believe change is weaving her way into our modern lives…..bringing with her a new way of thinking….of being and allowing. Love to you…xo

  3. Charlie says:

    Words are lost when I try to think what to say. You’re an amazing woman. A strong hearted angel. A little soldier of acceptance. You’re amazing!!

  4. Kathy says:

    Sorry about your loss. Thanks for your giving spirit. I too raised my son as a single mom. He’s now 19. He is not gay, but I am. I’ve known the rejection of family. My parents were accepting, but in a lukewarm kind of way. They loved me, but in a way that said “we don’t like your lifestyle, BUT we still love you.” “BUT” can be like the Grand Canyon. It’s a gap you can never close. It’s that gap that makes you continue to doubt yourself. I lost my mom 5 yrs ago to Alzheimer’s Disease. In one of the last coherent moments she had before she slipped into oblivion, I was with a new partner–one whom I’ve since had the privilege of marrying in our state. My mom looked at me, pointed to my partner and said “it’s good now?”. I nodded and said yes, mom. So I know deep down she wanted me to be happy. I miss that part of her. I am still faced with an extended family who don’t understand me and don’t keep in touch with me. Even my sister did not attend my wedding nor my son’s high school graduation. Just when you think you are ahead, you become painfully aware that you are not. No matter what age, (I’m 57–don’t look a day over 45, I’ve been told, LOL) you still need your mom. Hope you don’t mind if I take your recording to heart ’cause I need a mom right now. Thank you.

    • Jackie says:

      Aw Kathy, what a beautiful moment with your mom before she passed…gave me chills as I read it. She was giving you her love and blessing the only way she could in human form. Bless your heart. Xo

    • Mom Teri says:

      Dear Kathy,
      Please take my recording and offer to heart because that is where it comes from. My heart has room for you, your partner and your son this season and everyday. Thank you for following your path even during times that were difficult. The strength you show is a guiding light for everyone in your family. Blessings of love and understanding. Mom Teri

      • Kathy says:

        Thanks,Teri and all the holiday moms. I’m finding these are wonderful “affirmations” to load on my iPod to play when I need some encouragement.
        Love & hugs

    • Tamilyn says:

      hugs kathy xoxo i firmly believe while true you hurt because of others ignorance ….they are the ones missing out in the long run..no ifs ands or BUTS!!! 😉 very happy holidays to you and hubby/wife ..all the best from Canada


  5. Billie Sage says:

    Dear Teri…Thank you from my heart to yours for making a difference. Love and holiday hugs. You are so special. Love is, always Billie

  6. Maria says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I’m M2F transgendered, but I am not out. I cried when I read your post. I wish you all the best this holiday. I am in my 40s but please know you have a daughter here.

    Love always,


    • Teri says:

      Maria I have always wanted a daughter…and now I have an incredibly beautiful daughter to call my own! Blessings sweet child.
      Love to You!

  7. Amir says:

    It took me awhile to figure out what to say because, well, really what can someone say? I’m away from my partner this holiday season, and it’s going to be very hard without him. I’m going to miss him every second, especially since I cannot tell my own family about my homosexuality without really terrible consequences.

    This made me feel good.

    I want to be able to sing this carols with you. I want to be one, big, happy family. I just have to pray to whatever god is out there and wants to listen that someday I will be able to feel that warmth, to have family surrounding me. Right now it’s hard but it won’t always be. I just have to have faith in that.

    So thank you.

    And just know that wherever your son is I am sure he is looking down upon you and smiling. I’ve also lost a loved one, and it can be hard even years later. So take heart and know that I haven’t just gained a Holiday Mother, you’ve also gained a Holiday Son.

    • Mom Teri says:

      Amir – you are a wonderful loving soul and I am thrilled to have you as my Holiday Son! Let the carolling begin. 🙂 Your Holiday Mom Teri

    • Tamilyn says:

      ohhh did i read someone here is taking love ?????????

      Amir.. here is as much LOVE as you and your loved one can handle xoxoxox SUPER SQUISHEY HUGS xoxoxox have the best holidays ever ,

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