My Dear Holiday Child,
Welcome home! We are so happy you are here. Let me give you a big hug!!!
Come on in the kitchen. I have a pan of spiced apple cider simmering on the stove made just for you. I love the smell of cinnamon and apples during the holidays. Doesn’t it make the house smell sooooo good? Here, sit down at the table and I’ll pour you a cup. It will warm your insides.
This holiday is going to be extra, extra special. Do you know why? Because we get to spend it with you! And when I saw “we,” I mean Veronica and me. Veronica (Ronnie, for short) is 6 years old, weighs 85 pounds, and has big fuzzy ears that stand straight up. Haha — yep, you guessed it. Ronnie is your holiday dog. Two years ago, someone dumped her on the side of the road, leaving her sick and afraid and all alone. I don’t know how people can be so cruel. So I adopted her (or she adopted me, I’m not sure). She is a sweet, cheerful creature filled with unconditional love. When I told her you were coming she got SO excited.
See? She is already giving you kisses. You’ll get lots of cuddles and kisses from Ronnie while you’re here. They say dogs have a sixth sense that can instinctively discern the true nature of a person. Ronnie knows you are a beautiful human who deserves lots of love.
Know that I love you unconditionally, too. I love you so much, sweetie. I see the amazing, unique person you are and I am so proud of you! Let me say that again so I know you heard me – I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!! It takes genuine courage to become the person you were truly meant to be. Sometimes that means risking the love and acceptance of others to be true to yourself, and that can be scary. But you know what? We are not responsible for what others think or feel about us. We simply don’t have that kind of power. We can only be the best version of ourselves, and that is enough. YOU are enough.
When we are hurting, often it’s hard to see beyond what is happening right now. But life is a winding journey. If you are not where you want to be at the moment, keep going. The road will change, the scenery will change, you’ll meet new people along the way, and you will be a stronger person for your travels.
One of my favorite passages is by Henry David Thoreau. Walking in the woods one day, he sees the twilight unfolding before him. And though has has seen this same twilight a hundred times before, he realizes it is somehow different today, because HE is now different. His perspective has changed. He says, “This alone encouraged me, and was my fuel for the approaching winter. That we may behold the panorama with this slight improvement or change, this is what we sustain life for with so much effort from year to year.” Lovely, isn’t it?
You know what I think is one of our most important missions in life? To find our people. We all belong to a “tribe” somewhere on this earth; a community of people who love and care for us. Sometimes that is the family we were born into, but often it is future friends or adopted moms and dads we haven’t yet met. We are like puzzle pieces, and out there in the world are other pieces who fit together perfectly with ours. We just need to find them. That’s why it’s important to treat people kindly – the next person you meet might be your best friend. Maybe you have already found members of your tribe, or maybe you’re still searching, but I’m happy to know that I am now one of “your people.” We belong.
And that reminds me. In the den, there is a jigsaw puzzle laid out on a rustic, wooden table (my grandmother’s old kitchen table that I inherited). This is one of my family’s holiday traditions. Throughout our time together, we’ll wander into the den and work on the puzzle — sometimes together, sometimes alone. Sometimes one of us will get up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, and sit at the table looking for our missing pieces. It’s comforting to sit in the lamp-lit silence knowing that our “tribe” is close by. I hope you will join in the tradition this year and help complete the picture. You can return to this comforting place whenever you need to, and always know that I am near.
And since I am now your adopted mom, I need you to make me a promise – be good to yourself. Treat yourself kindly. Love yourself. It’s so important to be loving and accepting of ourselves. I know in my heart you have a beautiful story ahead of you filled with lots of laughter and love. I need you to believe that, too. Okay?
Awww, look. Ronnie has brought you her stuffed giraffe — her favorite toy. That means you are REALLY special.
Now, let’s see. We have so much to do. We need to put up the tree, and decorate the mantel and buy presents for your holiday uncle and cousins. We also need to take Ronnie for a walk. There is a park down the street with a wonderful hiking trail. Like Thoreau, we will take a peaceful walk through the woods and watch the twilight unfold. (I do think you’ll need a jacket, though). And when we get back, we can pop some popcorn and watch a holiday movie by the fire. Invite a friend if you like. Of course, Ronnie may insist that we watch her favorite movie first — “A Dog Named Christmas.”
But all of that can wait for now. It’s been a long journey and I can see you are tired. The holidays can be stressful and sometimes we just need to take a break. So curl up on the coach and rest for awhile. I’ll be upstairs wrapping your present (No, I WON’T reveal the surprise, but it’s something you’ve always hoped for). Ronnie will lie beside you and protect you while you sleep. You are safe here and we love you so much!
Sweet dreams darling child.
Your Holiday Mom Lee