Holiday Mom: Carrie

m20161205My dear holiday child,

Just kick the snow off your boots on the porch and come on in. There are hooks beside the door for your coat. Toss your hat anywhere.

I’ve been simmering cinnamon sticks and orange peels to make our home smell sweet for you. Head on into the living room. There, you’ll smell the pine of the Christmas tree and the perfume of the paperwhites too. Those, I planted with your Holiday Sister, Eleanor. She’s four and is fascinated by flowers and how they grow. She’ll probably ask you to read her a story, if you look amenable. Would you like some hot chocolate to help you warm up?

Oh, and I hope you’re okay with cats. And cat hair. Hazel and Grace shed all over all the furniture. I can find a lint brush if you’ve worn black, not to worry. Hazel will probably find her way to your lap pretty quickly.

Our home is quiet. Peaceful. We’re three introverts. That means no small talk tonight. We want to know what you’re dreaming for yourself and who you love and where your heart is hurting. Tell us everything. And you can cry around us if you need to. We’re good with that.

When you need a break from playing with a four-year-old, you can help me roll out the dough for the pie crust in the kitchen, if you like. We can talk, just the two of us, or we can be quiet for a while. I’ll stir the pie filling on the stove — cherry, because it was my dad’s favourite.

I was thinking of him as I sat down to write to you. My dad, your Holiday Grandfather, died this fall and it’s our first Christmas Eve without him. I wish you could have met! Because he would have liked you, I know it. What I was thinking of was something I found once in a shoe box in a high cupboard in his kitchen years ago. It was a stack of papers that he’d cut into small squares, each a copy of the same Henry David Thoreau quote:

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

I asked him why he had all these little notes and he explained that they were for his “kids.” My dad was a high school teacher and over his career taught hundreds of teenagers, seeing so many through some of the hardest years of life. (When older people say “it gets better”, we really do know what we’re talking about. High school is hard.) He told me that when he had a student who felt different and seemed to be struggling with it, he would invite them to stay after class, would give them one of these quotes, and would tell them just how interesting they are. He knew that it’s the kids who are “different” who become adults who know how to march to their own drummers. He liked these kids.

I know you feel different, and not everyone you love has accepted you. But I accept you. And believe you. And am so proud of you to know already at your age who you are. Do you know how many people get far into adulthood without ever having heard their own drumbeat? You are ahead of so many and might not even realize, dear one. And I’m not the only one to be so impressed with you. There are people in your life now, and there are so many more on their way.

The table is already set because that’s my favourite part. The centrepiece is mosses and river rocks and the blooming paperwhites in my grandmother’s crystal vase. Our napkins don’t match. (I don’t like matching linens — too boring!). Your Holiday Father, my husband, taught himself woodturning and made the candlesticks. They’re cool, right? And they don’t match either, at my request. Want to light the candles for us?

We don’t say grace but all take a moment together before eating to feel gratitude for the food and for the company. We’re having turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, and turnip and candied carrots. There’s also my favourite white kidney bean and pomegranate salad, in case you’re vegan. Could I pour you some sparkling grape juice in one of the mismatched wine glasses?

We are so glad you’re here. We are so glad you can share this meal with us, and that we have this chance to know you, and to meet you in this time in your life when everything is just beginning. You are such a force, and now we get to watch you as you find your way and become even more of who you are. We’re honoured. Thank you for choosing us to spend Christmas with.

With love,

Holiday Mom Carrie

 

* Editors Note: For those new to our site, please understand that all conversations about meeting are meant as virtual. We do not facilitate live interactions due to our legal liabilities if we were to do so.

69 comments

  1. Mark T says:

    Dear Mom (can I call you Mom?),

    The house smells amazing, thanks for letting me come in! Hope I’m not too late. No hot chocolate for me, thanks. Tea warms me up just as well and I love the idea of sitting around with warm drinks and just talking.

    Eleanor’s flowers are so pretty! I would love to read her a story. I always love reading with kids, and I have a special Finnish book series for kids that I think she might like—the Moominland books. Moominland Midwinter is my favourite, and I think it fits pretty well considering the weather.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have worn so much black today, but I don’t mind. Cuddling cats is always awesome no matter what colour you’re wearing. I know a girl who has a cat named Hazel too! We’re not friends anymore, though. I bet this Hazel is a lot nicer (the other Hazel liked to claw everything in sight and pop all the birthday balloons hung up during parties).

    It feels so nice to be accepted. I’m transgender and while my friends are really supportive, it’s hard for me to find adults that understand… or want to understand. But this feels like home to me. Thank you for all the amazing food and thank you for caring!

    (If it’s not too much trouble, maybe I could bring my boyfriend Emmet for Christmas dinner? I think you’d like him. He’s a sweetheart.)

    Love,
    Mark

    • Carrie says:

      Dear Mark,

      Well, yes, you can call me Mom.

      I’m very interested in the Finnish books you mention. I’ll look them up. Thank you for the tip, and for offering to bring them. That will be wonderful. Let’s plan to discuss books over dinner too. That’s one of my favourite topics. I so enjoy chatting with other readers about the things they love to read.

      Yes, oh, of course, Emmet can come. That goes without saying — but thank you for letting me know so we can add a chair to the table.

      I’m glad you have supportive friends. I hope the adults you know might be inspired by them and by you, and will begin to learn and understand (and to want to understand).

      Years ago, someone hurt me very deeply. Actually, this person hurt me many times and in many ways, and I didn’t feel safe to be near them. I couldn’t trust them. And I was angry and disappointed and confused, really, that someone could be so unkind when I’d never mistreated them. A wise friend gave me a piece of advice I’ve never forgotten, and more than not forgetting, I still call on it regularly. My friend told me: Be merciful. It was a simple message but it took my breath away it was such perfect counsel.

      There is something about mercy that doesn’t require me to make anything that’s been done “okay” — it asks me, though, to be my biggest, most compassionate self. And to recognize I don’t have to be a victim of another.

      When I am hurting because of a choice someone else made or failed to make, I think about mercy and compassion and those things make me feel bigger than the pain. I have a feeling yours is an expansive heart and you understand what I mean and that maybe there will come a time in your life when calling in your own most merciful self will bring peace where you deserve it.

      I look forward to having you and your sweetheart join us, Mark.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

      • Christine says:

        Dear Mark,

        I’m so glad that you will be joining Holiday Mom Carrie and her family for the holiday. Knowing that we belong and that we have a safe place to land is one of life’s most precious gifts.

        My cousin has 5 children and one of them was born “Holly” but Holly always knew that she was meant to be “Logan”. His has been a long and difficult journey. Sadly, her mom isn’t able to understand Logan and while she is doing her best to understand, I’m afraid her ways aren’t truly what Logan needs. So Logan may not be able to confide or seek solace and support from his mom, but he can from me and my family. I share this story with you, because right now, the adults in your life may not understand or wish to understand, but please know that there are so many of us out here that *do* wish to know your heart and love you for it, always. We are all One, truly, and when I let you into my heart, I let myself more deeply into my own, and to me, that is beautiful.

        Have a beautiful holiday, oh, and if you wore black to our house and snuggled with our cat, Merlin, it wouldn’t matter one hill of beans, because Merlin is jet black and very into snuggling! 🙂

        So much love,
        Your Holiday Friend, Christine

  2. Carrie's Loud Neighbour says:

    Hi Carrie and family!

    I’m Carrie’s neighbour. I thought I would interrupt Carrie’s family holiday dinner to drop off an extra dessert and some flowers. Carrie loves flowers. And I always make too much pumpkin pie, the recipe is meant for a bigger family. I have two small children and I am married to a man, but I’m bisexual and have had happy, loving relationships with both men and women. I feel so lucky to be born bisexual, I hope you will too. People are so beautiful when you see them not by a definition but as who they are. Your holiday Mom Carrie is so beautiful. And so are you. So exquisitely beautiful it brings tears to my eyes thinking about all the exciting adventures ahead of you. And you will find a village of people who love everything about you. Because you are so easily lovable. I wish I could give every single one of you a big hug. I’ m a hugger. But I should get on, I did just come to drop off the pie and flowers.

    I’m so glad you found your way to Carrie’s table. She will listen patiently and hear whatever you want to share. Or she will sit quietly if you don’t feel like talking at all. Thanks for letting me intrude with all my extrovert loudness and hugging. Happy Holidays and much love!

  3. Ashten says:

    Thank you so much for the unconditional love you have!! I do appreciate that you love a person as a whole!

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Dear Ashton,

      A wise woman once told me that what we compliment in others we are able to see and know because it is ours too. So what you appreciate in someone else — like me — is also a gift of your own. When you tell me I am able to love others as a whole and unconditionally? Well, that tells me that you have the same kind of heart! The people who know you and who are loved by you are so lucky.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

    • Christine says:

      Dear Ashten,
      There are sooo many of us who love people for his/her whole self, and you are included.

      Once a healer asked me who I loved most and I was a bit confused by the question, so I thought about it and said, “my husband”, and she ever so gently taught me that yes, it’s wonderful to love my husband, but more importantly it was important to love myself first. Before anyone else. This concept was so foreign to me, truly. But over the years (it has taken me a while to fully integrate this teaching…you will likely get it much quicker than I) I finally understand. I have to love myself first and this is not selfish, but rather a most wonderful way to give to the world. I have learned that when my own cup is full, I can give and love others freely and without condition.

      I just know in my heart that you do too.

      Sprinkling fairy dust on your heart, Ashten. Happy Holidays!
      Love Christine

  4. Bridget says:

    Hi there-
    I am holiday mom Carrie’s friend, Bridget, and I want you to know that you were made the way you are because the world needs you. You are not a mistake, or broken.

    There are literally millions of people who will accept you for you. Finding us sometimes is difficult, but we are here.
    Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Best-
    Bridget

  5. toria says:

    hii mom!!
    my name is toria and i identity as non-binary and panromantic. at one point i had a girlfriend, and i told my bio mom. she said i was too young to know my sexuality or gender, and that i should just be a normal girl who likes boys and wears dresses. i dont want that, though.

    im excited to see you. i cant wait to drink hot chocolate near the fireplace while watching disney movies on the couch together. it’s been hard.

    I’ve recently been struggling with anxiety and depression. i used to always want to be outside and playing, but now i have no motivation to do anything. at all.

    im a drummer now. i go to a music class with all my friends every Saturday. they accept me. my friend Mia is pansexual and my friend Nina is bisexual.

    and the cats? i love cats! animals make me happy.

    my grades aren’t that good. im sorry. im not good with school. i have an A in choir, though.

    i love you, holiday mom.

    your non-binary kid, Toria!!

    • Christine says:

      Dear Toria,
      I am Holiday Mom Carrie’s friend, Christine, and as a former school teacher, here is what I know for sure: there are so many things to excel at and school is just one of them! The world needs your music and thank goodness you have found like minded and hearted people with whom to share this. There are so so many people who love and accept you for exactly who you are. The world needs your voice, your heart and, well *you*.

      I wish I could hear you play the drums- my brother used to play in his room and I enjoyed listening.

      Sending you a gentle heart hug and hoping you can call upon the knowing that there are many of us out here who love and accept you. ❤️

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Dear Toria,

      You’re a drummer?! We’ll make music for sure.

      I’m sorry that your mom doesn’t understand you yet. Sometimes when people become parents, we think our children will be just like us and it takes some time to come to realize that our children are their own people. Sometimes they are people who are so different from us, they challenge us to learn things we never expected to need to learn. I hope that your mom catches up, but if she isn’t able to, I am so glad you have friends who understand.

      Already you are reaching out into the world to find more people who are able to know you deeply, and you are doing the same for your friends. That is so beautiful. My wish is that your mom can be inspired by you.

      School is hard for a lot of kids, especially when they have such big questions outside of school to be thinking through. Congratulations on your As in choir! I admire people who can sing. You have so many gifts, Toria!

      I’m sorry to hear you are working through depression and anxiety and that it’s hard to feel motivated to get outside and do things. Do you know what helps me when I am feeling difficult things? I like to sit with my back against a tree and just feel its trunk, and feel myself supported by the earth. I also like to look at plants that are growing around me and just being with them for a while. It helps me to feel peaceful.

      I have a dear friend who gave me some helpful advice too. When she is feeling overwhelmed or sad, she looks at pictures of space on the internet and it reminds her of how vast and amazing the universe is. It helps her see her problems in a different perspective.

      We have a book for our daughter called Older than the Stars and it explains how all of us are made of stardust. That idea comforts me. As we are, exactly as we are, we’re all so beautiful and perfect and have our place in this universe.

      I’m so looking forward to celebrating the holidays with you.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

    • Carrie's friend Taryn says:

      Dear Toria,

      I’m a friend of your holiday mom Carrie and I’m a drummer too! I’m just learning but it makes me smile. I have two young kids and they love to play around on my drum set too.

      I’m so glad you have found wonderful, accepting friends through music class. Music is such a fantastic way to connect with others. Congratulations on your A! What an accomplishment.

      I’m sorry you’ve been feeling depressed and anxious. I’ve experienced a lot of anxiety too.
      Do you have any favourite music that you love? Sometimes I find it easier to feel my big, complicated feelings through a song, if that makes any sense.

      My drumming teacher always tells me to embrace my inner voice, my own groove. He once told me about an experiment he saw where 10 drummers lined up behind a drumset. Each played four bars of time then passed the sticks to the drummer behind them to continue the groove without stopping. Each of them played simple time with the same drums, same heads, same sticks, same everything. He couldn’t believe what he heard – every one of them sounded different and unique. Every one had their own individual sound that did not come from the drums themselves or the groove they were playing but from their own mind, body, and spirit.

      I wish I could play the drums with you and hear your unique sound.

      Enjoy your holiday at Carrie’s – I know it will be filled with warmth and love and music and cats!

      Love, Carrie’s friend Taryn

  6. Dylan says:

    Dear Holiday Mom
    Thank you so much for accepting me into your home this year! My name is Dylan and I am a 16 gender-fluid person. It means the world to be accepted by a family! I got the cats little reindeer antlers for Christmas! I think Eleanor will find them hilarious. I hope she likes them. Tell Holiday Dad to teach me woodturning someday! It sounds awesome! Is it okay if I bring my girlfriend with me?
    Love Dylan

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Dear Dylan,

      I didn’t know they made antlers for cats! Hazel will be game; Grace may be
      harder to convince. I’m looking very forward to watching you try. So fun!

      Of course you can bring your girlfriend with you. We’d love to meet you both.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom

      • Dylan says:

        Thank you so much!
        And is it okay if I call you mom? I was surprised to see they made antlers for cats too.
        Love Dylan

          • Dylan says:

            Hi Mom
            I can’t wait to see the whole family soon! My girlfriend is very excited as well! She said to tell you she’s really thankful for the family. I can’t wait to see Eleanor again! I miss her so much! Tell Hazel and Grace I love them! I have a whole bunch of card games we can play if it snows one day. I learned them while I was at camp this summer.
            Did I tell you I’m going to Europe this summer? I’m so excited! I get to go with one of my bestfriends! We could be roomates!
            Tell the whole family I love and miss them and I’ll see them soon!
            Love Dylan

    • Christine says:

      Dear Dylan,
      This is Christine, Holiday Mom Carrie’s friend. Reindeer antlers for cats?! Ha ha…our cat, Merlin would look totally adorable, but I’m not so sure what he would make of them. I know for sure that our dog, Hickory, would have none of it. He’s adorable, but not so game for costumes!! hehe…

      I hope you and your girlfriend have a wonderful holiday at Carrie’s house.

      Love Christine

      • Dylan says:

        Dear Christine
        Thank you so much for all the love you have! It means so much for someone like me who doesn’t fit in with most people.
        I’ll be sure to take plenty of pictures of my girlfriend and myself to show the whole family. Happy Holidays!
        Love Dylan

        • Christine says:

          Dear Dylan,

          And you know what? I don’t fit in with many people either, and honestly it now feels okay- more than okay. It wasn’t always that way. It took me time to find my tribe, and I also did a lot of healing and growing along the way. And truthfully, I really enjoy my own company.

          And all that love you feel in me? It’s simply a reflection of the love inside of you.
          You are made of the stars and the angelic realm. The world’s heartbeat beats stronger because of you. It’s true.
          Love Christine

  7. maegan says:

    thank you so much for doing this. i’m a 14 year old girl who identifies as non binary and bisexual.

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Dear Maegan,

      It’s my pleasure to host you. I hope you enjoy your time with us.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

      • Christine says:

        Dear Maegan,

        Oooh…I love the way you spell your name. I was an elementary school teacher, and never once did I see your name spelled like this. So unique…like *you*! 🙂

        I hope you have a wonderful holiday season at Holiday Mom Carrie’s house.

        Sending you a gentle heart hug,
        Love Christine

  8. Cait says:

    Hi,
    I’m a 16 year old CAFAB who identifies as genderqueer and demi/pansexual. I have been raised in an extremely religious home where I have been too scared to come out. This has led me to dark places recently – depression, anxiety, and more. I am absolutely dreading the holidays, knowing my ‘odd’ and ‘sinful’ appearance will earn me cruel comments.
    I’m always asked when I’ll have a boyfriend and again this year, the answer will be, “No-one likes me.”
    I am extremely introverted and shy and haven’t been able to come out to friends because of this.
    I am looking forward to staying with my Holiday Mom.

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Dear Cait,

      I am so glad you’ll be with us for the holidays. Introverts make such beautiful conversationalists. They are thoughtful speakers and sensitive listeners. I’m shy too! I can tell we will get along very well, and probably understand quite a lot about each other, even though our lives and ages are very different.

      I am so sorry that your home doesn’t feel like a safe place to come out, or to be fully yourself. And that you’ve kept parts of who you are from your friends. That must be very, very painful, and lonely at times.

      When I was your age, I also experienced depression and anxiety, which are not easy things. They did get better as I found the right supports for me. I am wondering if there is a cool teacher at your school or a guidance counsellor or nurse you could talk with? Those are hard things to deal with on your own, and I know there are people who would really like to help you if you let them in on what you’re experiencing. Finding just one safe, supportive person can make a world of difference. I want that for you, Cait. I like you. And you deserve support and care and friendship. I’m sending all of mine to start.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

      p.s. I think people who look “odd” and “sinful” are some of my favourites. It means you’ve got character.

    • Christine says:

      Dear Cait,
      I am sorry that you will not have the support you deserve from your family. Please know that you are worthy of this and more. I am sprinkling your heart with extra love and hoping, so deeply, that you can know that you are not alone and that there are myriad people in this world who will love and accept you. I’m one of them (and I know that every single one of my friends do, too).
      Your Holiday Friend,
      Christine

  9. Alex says:

    Hi mom,
    I’m so happy you put this up here cause I’m finally feeling loved and accepted now. I’m a 14 you old girl and I’m demi-bisexual. Thank you for doing all those nice things for me and I’m really looking forward to spending this holiday season with you. Reading this, I finally feel like I’m home. Thank you for that. I really don’t care what we do as long as everyone gets along.
    Again, thank you for this, it’s made me so happy. And I hope you don’t mind if I bring my ukulele and play some songs for the family.
    Thank you for your time,
    Alex

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Hi Alex,

      I remember being 14 — so much is happening at that age. It was a hard time for me. I was still finding my way in the world. I am so glad you are reaching out to find new places that feel like home, and I’m so glad you’ll be coming to our home for Christmas. Yes, definitely, bring your ukulele! Eleanor has a miniature piano and a xylophone — I’m sure she’d love to jam.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

    • Your Holiday Ciocia says:

      Hi. Alex,

      I always thought ukeleles were awesome, that is so cool that you play. 🙂

      • Heidi says:

        HI Alex, I’m with Holiday Ciocia… Ukeleles are awesome. If I am lucky, perhaps my old friend, holiday mom Carrie, will invite me over as well so I can hear you play. I promise not to sing. I have to promise my 5 year old that ever day. 🙂

        Sending you much love this holiday. Enjoy your stay with your holiday mom.

        Heidi

    • Christine says:

      Hi Alex,

      Oh how I wish I could listen while you play your ukulele. We love music in my family. My husband loves the oldies, and my younger daughter plays both the piano and the flute and my other daughter also plays piano and the trumpet. Me? Well I used to play the clarinet in high school and now I love to sing and revel in my soul’s happiness when listening to a great song.

      Happy Holidays to you and may you know, deeply, how many people love and accept you.

      Love Christine

  10. Kade says:

    Hi! My name is Kade, I’m 15 and I’m questioning my gender (I’ve always said I’m genderfluid but as every day passes I start to feel like I’m in the wrong body) My dad tried to kick me out of the house a few months ago after I told him the things above (I was born Elizabeth Rose and a girl but that’s just not me, it doesn’t feel right) I got to stay, after my mother convinced him saying that I was just a “confused and dumb girl at such a confusing age” which hurt my feelings deeply. I fear for my Christmas this year because of my dad (who tends to scream when others disagree with him which will probably happen when I come out at Christmas.) This article really touched my heart and honestly made me cry like a baby.. Thank you so much.. You really are a saint. I am sending so much love your way because god knows you deserve it- Kade

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Dear Kade,

      Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with me. You are a very thoughtful person, someone of depth and complexity. You will find there are a lot of people like me in the world who aren’t saints but just like to spend our time with good people who have rich inner worlds, are sensitive, and aren’t afraid to explore heavy questions. Gender identity is a big one at any age. I hope you are able to find the support you need to help you with your questions. It’s okay to not know everything about yourself yet. Knowing ourselves often takes our whole lives. I’m sorry your parents have hurt your feelings. I’m sending extra love to your heart.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

      • Christine says:

        Dear Kade,
        I am sorry that your heart has been hurt by your family. I remember at that age my parents were arguing a lot or they weren’t speaking to each other at all and it was so hard. I felt scared and alone many days. So while my challenges were different than yours, I can relate to not having support at that age when it’s truly so important.

        I am here for you and wish to tell you that you are perfect just as you are and that there are so many more people like me who feel the same. I am 48, and it took me some time to find “my tribe”, but it was worth every second of the wait. Your tribe is out there too. And I’d be happy to be part of it.

        Sending you heart love and hoping that you can remember that you aren’t alone.
        Love Your Holiday Friend Christine

    • Heidi says:

      Hello Kade, I am an old friend of your mama Carrie. You have a beautiful name. I am sorry your parents hurt your feelings. Know that you are loved and respected for being the caring and loving person that you are.

      Carrie’s stories make me cry too. It is why I love them so much. I am excited for you because I know she will share more of her written words with you when you visit for dinner. They too will wrap you with love and keep you warm, like the blanket she will have folded and ready for you on a reading comfy chair.

      Be well Kade. Sending you much love.
      Heidi

      Like Carrie shared, so many of us spend our lives trying to figure out who we really are. But we love each other along the way.

      I don’t know a lot about preparing food for a vegan but would love to learn more.

  11. Ryan says:

    Hello holiday mom! Thank you so much for welcoming me into your home this year! It feels so nice to be welcome into some home this year. I would love to read Eleanor a story. She seems like such a nice girl. I love cats, and even though I always wear black, I don’t mind the hair. Grandfather sounds like a wonderful man! That quote truly made me smile. All of the mismatched items are adorable! Thank you for including a vegan item this year. It’s quite nice to feel welcome. Thank you for your kind words.
    ~Your Holiday Son
    Ryan

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Dear Ryan,

      Well….you might have to read more than one story. There’s a whole stack of books waiting for you. Thank you for letting me know you’re vegan, I’ll add a few more dishes for you.

      See you in a few weeks,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

    • Heidi says:

      Hello Ryan, my family and I are excited about your visit to our holiday mom’s house. You are going to love Carrie’s home and reading stories to her bright little girl.

      If you find any personal favourites in the stack of books, let me know. My 5 year old daughter would welcome a new friend to read with her, especially one that comes with some new book recommendations.

      Sending you much love from our home,
      Heidi

    • Christine says:

      Dear Ryan,

      I am so glad that you will be going to Holiday Mom Carrie’s house. It sounds so divine there, doesn’t it?

      We love cats, too, although guess what? I never ever,ever thought that I would have a cat. Not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I was always more of a “dog person” (we have a golden retriever, Hickory, too). But last year, we brought our new family member home on December 24th. This is what happened. My husband and I went to the pet store to get Hickory a Christmas gift, and there were cats there for adoption and I was drawn to go over and look by a force that I can only call Divine Intervention. (Because like Insaod, I’m not really a cat person). And I began looking at the cats (there were 3), and I looked into the eyes of our precious fella and I kid you not, he extended his paw out towards me and I touched it and he wrapped his paw around my finger and I could hear him say, “please take me home”, and I began to sob. I turned to my husband and said, “We need to take him home”. Two days later he was ours. His name was “Bogie” in the store, but we knew he needed a different name. He is now Merlin, and he is truly pure magic. He is jet black with the wisest, most discerning green eyes. He knows stuff! And now I am a converted cat person!

      I wish you could meet him. He would snuggle up to you and pure his wee heart into contented, blissful sleep.

      • Christine says:

        Dear Ryan,
        Something funky happened there and I couldn’t finish my reply to you.

        Anyway, cats are amazing and I wanted to share that story with you. It is my deep belief that our pets choose us because they are wise and knowing.

        I feel like you are wise and knowing, too. And one thing I know? You are loved and needed and precious- just as you are.
        Sending your heart some love, and Merlin does too!
        Love Christine

  12. Kacey says:

    Hi! ^^

    My name Is Kacey, I’m 16 years old. I’m transgender, and asexual (plus other things) I’m not positive on how this works, it’s my first time. My family is very narrow-minded and highly hating People in the LGBT community. When I tried to come out, I was treated horribly. I’m not having much Christmas spirit now a days. I can’t have when my family is like this. I try to stay positive because that’s the only thing that I have left, besides my girlfriend. I hope I’m during this right. Your home sounds very lovely, as well as your cats and child! ^^

    • Carter says:

      Hey,
      Sorry I’m not one of the moms but I just wanna say that you’re accepted by me. Heck, we are holiday siblings! We need to help and support one another❤️. I know what it’s like having a bad reaction when you’re coming out (I’m trans too) and having no spirit. That’s why we are doing this, to get us in the spirit and to know that you are loved an accepted. So yeah let’s totally play with the cats and drink hot chocolate!

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Hi Kacey,

      It’s my first time hosting a holiday dinner like this too so you and I can learn together. I’m sorry your family haven’t been as kind as you deserve and didn’t respond well to your coming out. I can understand why Christmas would feel hard. I hope (for their sakes especially — because you sound lovely!) they come around and can be close again. I hope they learn more about you. But if they don’t, if they aren’t able to do that, I want you to know that the world is so big, and it is full of people who will love you and people who are already able to understand you. There are so many tables where you will be welcome — including mine, of course. Please bring your girlfriend too. We’ll find a way to get into the Christmas spirit. It might just look a little different than we first thought. But that’s okay, we’re both creative, right? And different is good. XO

    • Heidi says:

      Hello Kacey, I am an old friend of your mama Carrie. I want to let you know that my family’s table is another one of those tables, that she speaks of, that would welcome you with open arms and we too would love to have you over for a holiday dinner. Or any dinner for that matter.

      My 5 year old daughter, Flora, would love to have someone new to play dominos or Uno with. She has been asking a lot lately about why she doesn’t have a sibling so it would be lovely to have you at the table as extended family. And do bring your girlfriend. If she is special to you, she will be special to us too.

      I know my parents, Flora’s Nana and Papa, would love to also meet you both. Papa spends a lot of time with Flora down on the floor making homemade crafts so be sure to bring your comfy pants and slippers so you can join them!

      Hope to see you soon, Heidi (Flora, Daddy Aaron, Nana and Papa)

    • Christine says:

      Hi Kacey,

      I am so sorry that your family isn’t understanding or supportive. You deserve to be heard and loved and accepted as you are. And maybe one day, they will have a change of heart.

      Both of my daughters would be pleased to meet you, I am sure. They would probably show you their enormous book collections, as they both adore reading. And likely they would offer to draw with you or scroll through Instagram for cute animal pics or clever jokes. They both love to laugh.

      I am glad that you have your girlfriend to help keep your spirits up. This time of year can be challenging for many. Please know that there are so many people who love you and accept you for who *you* are and not who you choose to love. And you are sure doing it right. Just right.

      Shine bright, dear One, and I am sending your sweet heart a gentle hug,

      Love Christine

  13. Carter says:

    Hi Mom!
    The house must smell amazing and I can’t wait to spend my first year with you.

    I can’t wait to see (mostly cuddle) the cats and I can’t wait for dad to teach me wood tuning. I’ve never heard of anything like it so I’m eager to see how!

    I’m sad how grandfather died and isn’t able to spend the holidays with us, but I know he will be there in spirit❤️.

    I can’t wait to tell you guys about my year abroad. I went to America for the first time!! I met some amazing people and my host family even took me to my first pride! It was an experience I will never forget and I hope I can share as we have Christmas dinner.

    I can’t wait to see you this holiday season!
    Love,
    Carter

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Hi Carter!

      I love to hear travel stories! I’m so glad you had a great host family for your travels too. And your first Pride? I hope it was so fun. I remember my first Pride. I cried to see so many of the floats. So much love! And I danced and danced and danced in one of the street gardens. It was so hot that everyone was sweat-soaked but we were all so happy to be there.

      Thank you for being so kind to your Holiday siblings. You’ve got a good heart. The people you meet in this life are so lucky to know you.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

    • Heidi says:

      Hi Carter, I am a good friend of your mama Carrie. I have a 5 year old daughter who is fascinated by travel right now so she and I would love to hear some of your stories and to hear all about your amazing host family. Pride is a wonderful festival and celebration. Hope to meet you at one in the future.

      wishing you, and the people you most care about, the best for the holiday season,
      Heidi

    • Christine says:

      Dear Carter,

      Oooh….travel!! Seeing other parts of the world is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to understand ourselves, and open our hearts and minds to other ways of life and other ways of seeing the world. I would love to hear about your adventures.

      A few years ago, my family and I went to St. Lucia and it was the first time we had every gone anywhere tropical as a family and we were amazed by the beaches, the coconut trees and the St. Lucian people are incredibly warm and welcoming.

      Sending you a gentle hug,
      Love Christine

    • Christine says:

      Dear Benji,

      Happiness is the best kind of contagious!! Your happiness adds some extra zing to my heart!

      Happy Holidays!
      Love Christine

  14. Ian Wonderboy says:

    Dear Ma,
    My hat will probably end on top of one of the cats, that would be hillarious!

    Thank you for making the house smell so nice. The flowers are surely beautiful, and knowing it was Eleanor who decided to plant them makes them even more beautiful. I would love to read her a story, and I certainly enjoy hot chocolate!

    I love cats. It’s true that I usually wear black pants, but I can get changed into something different so that you don’t have to clean later.

    It’s been so long since I last opened to someone, told them how I felt, I’m afraid I won’t get words out of my throat. I may cry, a lot, but don’t worry, It’s a common thing nowadays. My best mate and crush Pj held me and let me cry some months ago, when I was punched for being transgender by one of my classmates. Some other kicks have followed, so don’t be scared if you see my black eye.

    My Grandfather sounds like he was a wise man. He knew how to make anyone feel welcome, even when everybody else had turned their backs to them. I would have given anything to be one of the people he gave that cards to. I would have carried it with me everywhere. I want to go to my drumbeat, follow my drummers, but what if I have someone who is pushing me from behind so I have to quicken my pace? People usually leave after realising what pathetic waste of space I am.

    I wear mismatching socks all the year, so the idea of not matching anything is my kind of thing! The candles look so beautiful, Pa knows how to do these things! It would be an honour to light them up.

    The food sounds so delicious! I’m not vegan, but I will try out everything because I won’t be able to choose!!

    I’m so happy you let me be with you this Christmas. It surely will be the best one ever. Everything is changing so fast, I think I’m going to fall! Thank you for giving me a loving home for the holidays

    By the way, am I allowed to bring Pj for a lunch on Christmas Day? He wants to meet the three of you!

    You are an amazing, sweet and caring mom. And so beautiful. You can see the beauty in monsters like me, and I will owe you forever because of that.

    Don’t forget me, please. I don’t want to lose you, too.

    Yours truly,
    Ian, your broken transgender son

    • Mama Aly says:

      Hello, dear Ian,

      Holiday Mama Aly, here, hoping that maybe you and Pj will pop by if you have a chance after you’ve visited Mom Cindy. Holiday Dad and I would love to meet him, and I can’t wait to give you a hug, dear!

      Want tea? Coffee? Cocoa? Your delightfully mismatched socks make me think we should drink it in some of Grandma’s china cups — they’re all mismatched, too. All the better to know whose cup is whose! They’re cracked, but I’ve boiled them all slowly in milk to repair the cracks; they’re still usable, and I like the patterns the cracks make. Each one is beautiful and unique to me. Just like you, darling.

      When you’re done visiting us, you can head on back to some of Mom Cindy’s delicious food! We’re both so proud of you, Ian. We have confidence in you, too, dearest one, now and always.

      Lots of Love,
      Mama Aly

      • Ian Wonderboy says:

        Lovely Mama Aly,
        It would be my pleasure to visit you and Papa with Pj by my side. It would surely be wonderful, and a great way to spend some family time

        I love coffee, though I am not allowed to drink it at night because I get hyper and people say I’m annoying when I’m like that, so hot chocolate will do. I’m sure Grandma’s china cups are lovely, and the little cracks make them unique and special!

        Maybe we can eat all together, I’m sure Mom Cindy won’t mind! The more, the merrier! It would be an enormous family meal!
        Thank you, Mommy, you are the best. I love you both so much
        Yours truly,
        Ian, your transgender son

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Oh, dear beautiful Ian,

      To me, and to so many people (some you haven’t yet met but that I know for certain are in this world waiting for you), you are lovable and wonderful. (Just reread your letter, for starters, sweet Ian, you are eloquent and sensitive and gracious and poetic.) You are not a monster and you are not broken. I have a bag of frozen peas for your black eye. We’ll tend every place you’ve been hurt. You don’t have to talk if you can’t, but, yes, cry and cry with us. I’m so sorry anyone has ever hurt you. You will be safe with us. And well-fed! We have lots of food — yes, do bring PJ. We’d like to thank him for being a good friend to you.

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

    • Christine says:

      Dear Sweet Ian,
      I am so sorry about your awful experience. Please know that the world is indeed filled with people who love and accept you for exactly who you are. The world is so big and this big world needs your heart song- whatever that may be.
      Have a wonderful time st Holiday Mom Carrie’s house and know that I am thinking of you and sending your heart a gentle hug.
      Holiday Friend Christine

    • Heidi says:

      Dear Ian,

      I am an old friend of your mama Carrie and I know that she never forgets about the people she cares about. And she cares a lot.

      I am sorry you are hurting and have been hurt. Know Carrie’s home and her friends’ homes, like mine, are here to welcome you and love you for the kind and beautiful person you clearly are. We all have hugs to spare and offer them to you.

      Enjoy your holiday time with Mama Carrie. We will be thinking of you and wishing you well.

      Heidi and family

    • Christine says:

      Dearest Ian,

      Sweet Soul. You are no monster; you are a child of the Divine, a child of the Stars and a beautifully tender soul; I feel it.

      When you get to Holiday Mom Carrie’s house, cry…cry all you need to. Crying is a balm for the soul and those tears carry your very DNA, the DNA that makes you as unique as a snowflake, as original as a drop of water in the ocean, as precious as life itself.

      I am so deeply sorry that you have been hurt. My heart aches for you knowing that people have been so cruel. Please, please know that these people do not represent everyone. Every single friend I have would love and accept you. Every one. The same goes for my husband and daughters. The world is big and there are so many beautiful souls waiting to welcome you into a trusting, safe, loving tribe. You will find each other – of this I am sure.

      Wishing you and PJ a wonderful holiday season and please tuck into your heart some love and kindness from me.

      Love Christine

  15. James says:

    Hi Carrie
    The house must smell amazing. As for the cats, I’m happy to see animals around. The cuddlier the better!
    I’m an introvert too, so this is definitely the kind of conversation I want to have. I’m hoping my holiday father can teach me woodturning, I love doing things by hand, it helps me when I need to re-center myself. Thank you for having me for Christmas, you seem to be such a wonderful family.
    Love,
    James,

    • Holiday Mom Carrie says:

      Dear James,

      We’re so glad you’re coming. Okay, woodworking lessons before dinner! We’ll work it into the schedule, and make sure to have some extra cedar on hand for turning. Or some other wood — I’m not sure what’s best but I’ll make sure Holiday Dad picks something up. The workshop is out back and gets chilly so I’ll bring your hot chocolate out there.

      I’m looking so forward to our introvert-friendly conversation over dinner!

      Love,
      Holiday Mom Carrie

    • Heidi says:

      Hello James, I know you will enjoy your stay with my old friend, mama Carrie. I look forward to seeing what you create with your holiday father. He too is so lovely and creative.

      Wishing you well during your stay. Much love to you,

      Heidi and family

    • Christine says:

      Dear James,

      I wish I could join the wordturning lesson; it sounds so interesting. I love being creative. I have quite a collection of scrapbooks I have made for my girls, who are 16 and 12. But I must admit, that I have been lured into the world of computer scrapbooking which is nice, but not as personal, in my opinion.

      I hope you have a wonderful time at Holiday Mom Carrie’s house. A kitty cuddle sounds scrumptious!

      Love Christine

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