Holiday Mom: Keeley

Close-up of a pumpkin pieDear Beautiful Holiday Child of Mine,

I’m so thrilled to have you here with us. It’s the night before Thanksgiving and you are in the kitchen with your Grandma Carol and I preparing for tomorrow’s dinner. Your Grandpa Al is in the living room fussing about everything. He seems like a grouch but he is really a huge teddy bear and loves and spoils you. Your fur-brother Storm is scratching at the back door begging for one of us to let him out. Storm is a five year old black cat that I rescued from your Great-Grandma Mary’s house in North Carolina. He was about 3 months old and everyone thought I was crazy when I drove 6 hours round trip to rescue him. Now no one could imagine the family without him.

This is your baby sister Nyla’s first Thanksgiving. She is five months old and a very happy and sweet baby. Nyla will laugh, talk and drool on you when you are holding her. She is in her swing at the edge of the kitchen because she doesn’t like to for her grandma and I to be out of her sight for long. Your grandma will share with you her tips and tricks for making her delicious food; this information is invaluable trust me! You will follow in my footsteps and volunteer to be a taste tester.

Once things are all prepared your grandma will roll her hair up before getting in bed. Your grandfather will have already fallen asleep on the couch and will be snoring loudly until your grandma tells him “go get in the bed Al!” By now Storm will have whined so much you will let him out. Everyone else will be sleep and you and I will have a good conversation and laughs in the living room. I’ll let you know that I love you and think you are incredible just exactly the way you are and don’t you ever forget it! When we finally decide to go to bed I will let you have my bed and I’ll take the couch because that’s what moms do.

The next morning you, your grandma and I will complete the finishing touches before the rest of the family arrives. Football will be on and there will be family stuffed in every corner. You will eat until you are about to burst and enjoy lots of hugs and laughter. The older folks will tell you stories about “back in the days” and you won’t be able to keep a smile off your face.

I’ve truly enjoyed you spending thanksgiving with me my beautiful holiday child. I hope that as you journey down life’s path you hold with you all the love you received today and NEVER FORGET YOU ARE PERFECT JUST AS YOU ARE;  ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!

Love Always,

Your Holiday Mom Keeley

Holiday Mom 2016 Starts With Love From Shamama!

To listen to this letter, click HERE.

m20161123Dear Holiday Child,

Oh, what a year. Not one of our best in the United States, if you ask me. But here we are, in our fifth year of letter writing over the holidays. Moms from all over have once again stepped up to make sure you know that you are loved and so very accepted just the way you are.

We moms here – we are of a feisty nature. Already we are taking stands for you out in the world. As the mom of a transgender child myself (he’s now an adult), I’m going to worry about him and all of you until we once again get back to progress for all our LGBTQ family members.

Here is what I know about the holidays, at least for me: They are supposed to be one thing, they are “sold” to us as so wonderful, but if you feel you are in the wrong place, you can ache inside through every Christmas Carol and dysfunctional family gathering.  That is why we created this space here for you. Walk into our virtual living rooms, pull up a chair to our virtual dinner tables, and be with us.

In my case, right now, I invite you to sit beside me on my virtual office couch – the green two-seater you see here – and listen to this tale of love I would give to you if you were right here and my very own:

My Holiday Child – I wanted you from before you were born. I wanted you to be on this earth with me. Truly, I did.

I had dreams for you from the moment I knew you were coming into existence – every bone, every feature, every personality trait, every aspect of you was precious to me. Yes, that includes your TRUE sexual and gender identity.  That was just going to be part of you and it was as beautiful as everything else!

I was curious about you, excited for you, and could not wait to see you! I wanted you just as you are, too – because while you would not be perfect, you would be perfectly you.

Please feel this is true: I wanted you to exist even before you did. I wanted you to grow and give yourself to our world, and allow this world to give back to you. I wanted there to be a place for you everywhere you went, and I started working on making that space as best I know how.

Like any good mother, I worry about you. Not that you can’t take care of yourself – I know you can. But the world isn’t what it ought to be, and so I admit, I sometimes become afraid for you (let’s face it – for all of us). But I know we are more than this fear. We can love, and that is no small thing.

I have faith in you. You were born for a reason. It may seem random that you are here at this time, but don’t believe that for a minute. Not a second! While I don’t blame you for sometimes feeling that way, staying in that place won’t get you where you want to go. You can hold on to my faith on this when you don’t have any of your own, because I know you being you is exactly right. For you, for me, for the world.

You’re a brave soul to come as you are to this world as it is. I just want you to know I SEE that. I FEEL that. I SEE and FEEL you, even if I’ve never met you in person. My soul can feel you out there. See if your soul can feel me out here, too.

Anyway, I’m getting long-winded here. So I’ll close by offering you some virtual cookies because they are the only kind I know how to make!

Good talking to you, as always. Love, Shamama

PS: Don’t tell, but I got your brother a set of dishtowels for his new apartment that say “God Save The Queens” on them for under the tree. I thought you’d get a kick out of knowing before he does!

PPS: Come back here to every day all season – we are here daily through New Years Day, 2017! Lots of moms will be sending love your way.

Happy New Year! (With Video)

Hello My Holiday Child,

What a year we have had! There has been so much holiday love from all these mama’s – and we have LOVED hearing from you, even if some of your news is sad sometimes. Just knowing we connected with you warms our hearts.

It is always hard to wind down after such a beautiful season, but remember that you have this site available to you all year. Come on by and let our mama’s love on you whenever you need it!

We also want to share with you today the video that we recorded for the app with the amazing Colby Melvin. Colby and his mom showed up and we talked about what is really important – how a mom’s love can be a real foundation for any LGBTQ child. I think you’ll feel right at home (no matter what your age).

The video may also be a great way to bring YOUR mom on board if she is open to watching. We want all moms to see how normal it is to have a mom love her LGBTQ child.

As you move into 2016, I hope you’ll remember how loved you are, how special you are, and how much the world needs YOU. I believe that with all my heart and I hope you’ve found some faith in that here too these past few months. With your help, the world will become a better place. I just know it!

Until next year, I send you all my love,


Holiday Mom: Lisa J

round actual final hs aboutTo my darling Holiday Child,

Well, it is New Years Eve now, and I always get a little emotional.  And now that you are joining us for the occasion, I’ll get teary eyed about your coming year and hugging you tight wishing you all the wonders for 2016 that you deserve!

Every year we do our Family Vision Board on our kitchen table, I’m so happy that you’ll be adding to our mosaic!  Have a seat right beside me, here’s your stack of magazines, now start ripping!  We put on fun music, usually our sixteen year old daughter makes a great playlist for us to listen to, and we all sit around the table tearing out images and words of how we want to feel and the things we would like to accomplish in the next year.  What will your words be?  Some of mine will be JOYFUL, and INSPIRED, and I’ll find pictures of smiling family and maybe some peaceful yoga type things!  It’s really fun.  I can’t wait to see what you add to it.  After we all place our images on our kitchen table, we put a clear plastic table cloth down and admire our work.

Next it’s fondue time!  I hope you like CHEESE!  LOL!  Our eight year old daughter will want you to sit right next to her, as she just loves to fondue stuff!  We do bread and cheese and chicken and steak. There is an oil pot going and a cheese pot, and afterwards we melt Toblerone and dip bananas, marshmallows, and pieces of pound cake into melted chocolate.  YUM!

Now it is PYJAMA time!  I bought this pair just for you, they are fluffy and warm and we will all go downstairs to play video games in front of the fire.  We might watch a movie too.  Even though we are all super full from the fonduing, a couple of hours later I will be bringing hot snacks like mozzerella sticks, and mini quiches, and wings, and we always have ripple chips and onion dip, and plenty of pop or soda as some folks in the US call it.

After ALL that, we usually catch a bit of Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper on CNN New Years, and we switch around to also watch our local count down.  It’s almost time for the count down!  When we finally hit HAPPY NEW YEAR, we all get up and hug and kiss, and I usually cry.  I can’t help it, I love you guys so much.  We run upstairs and our tradition is we open the back door to say goodbye to 2015, and then open the front door to welcome the new year.

I usually take a moment to really let that sink in.  I know that this last year may have been hard, and that you may have not felt like people loved and accepted you for who you are and who you love, but I do.  And as we stand arm-in-arm in front of the door, looking out at the beautiful white snow, and the stars in the sky, I want to say one thing to you, my child….

HAPPY BEAUTIFUL NEW YEAR, may your heart be filled with love, may you have courage in your soul, and may you always know you walk in beauty, and love, and acceptance.

I love you to the moon and back,

Your Holiday Mom



Holiday Mom: Lee

photo 22 aMy 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

Holiday Mom: Ulla

yhm ullaTo my dearest Holiday child,

Can you smell it? The crip air, the tree, the candles, the cookies baking, the turkey… All the wonderful scents of this Holiday season.

I’m honored and blessed to be your Holiday mom. I want you to know that I love you. I love you like my own 2 little boys. You are a PERFECT, unique you and the world needs YOU.

There is nobody on this entire planet like you. There’s nobody with your beautiful smile, your incredible talents and your one of a kind personality. This world would be much less without you.

I want you to know you are loved, accepted, adored and thought of each and every day. When you are feeling lonely or sad, please remember that I’m here for you. Even if you can’t physically see me, you can feel me in the rising sun, soft breeze in your hair, or the falling snow.

May the magic of this Holiday fill your heart with joy and may 2016 bring you many, many fulfilling and rewarding experiences!

I love you!

Tons of hugs and much happiness!


Your Holiday Mom Ulla

Holiday Mom: Marjorie

marjHello my beautiful holiday child !!

Come on in let me get you a tea and we can have a holiday cozytalk. Let me go first —I LOVE YOU !! Me with all my quirks, aches and peccadilloes (isn’t that a great word), who am I to say anything but I LOVE YOU  and welcome to my crazy house!

The thing is this house is always filled with LOVE and acceptance. We don’t care who you love, just THAT you love. We don’t care how you look, your smile makes you look beautiful all the rest is just decoration.

I wish for you this next year is for you to know deep down how amazing you really are! How much the world needs you! YES YOU! This world needs your spirit, your smile, your love, and your acceptance that not all understand at the same rate.

I wish for you a year of total happiness and belly laughs and kisses from someone who thinks your amazing! I also wish for you the sure knowledge that you are a star –  a product of thousand years of love.  Yup, that’s YOU!

An amazing star made of love! Be happy… be healthy…. be amazing !!

Love your holiday mom,


Holiday Mom: Anita

YHManitaSDear adopted holiday child,

My son, Trey, is transgender and has known he was supposed to be a boy from the time he was 2 or 3 years old.  We didn’t have a name for it until he was in an LGBTQ group in 10th grade, and came home all excited to have figured out who he was.  I’m so proud of him, of his willingness to embrace who he is, and his courage and determination to teach the world about who he is, and his stepdad and I have *always* accepted him.  I’m also honored to accept you, especially if you have family and friends who don’t.

I can imagine you and your partner, if you have one, arriving at the airport, and our excitement at seeing you on the walkway camera as you walk toward the waiting area in the terminal.  When you get down the escalator, my husband and I hug you hard, and we all make our way out into the sunshine and to our van.  On the drive home we talk about Tucson and how much we enjoy living here, and you marvel at the relentless blue sky and the mountains all around us.

When we get to our house, my mother, daughter and son who are also there for Christmas, welcome you warmly.  We show you to your room, and after you’ve dropped off your belongings you join us in the living room, where you can see our lovely mountain view from the french doors, and we show you your wrapped presents under our tree.  

As the holidays progress, you meet my stepson, his family, and my two stepdaughters who also live nearby, with the three little granddaughters.  You play with them, enjoy sitting out by the pool, and eat way too much of my husband’s wonderful cooking.  (And if my hands are working by then, you even get to taste some of my signature flourless dark chocolate torte. ;p)  If you’d like to come along, we all spend a Sunday morning at our spiritual center, where you are also warmly welcomed, and we enjoy a few hikes in our foothills.

Before the end of the holidays you have become part of our family, and we are so sorry that you and your partner have to leave, but we’re so grateful you were able to come and be with us, and we look forward to keeping in touch and having you back again.

Love always,

Your Holiday Mom

Anita Summers

Holiday Mom: Betsy

yhm betsyDear Holiday Child,
I’m so glad to have you join our family today, because it’s one of my favorite days of the year, one when our house is filled to the brim with people who will be delighted to meet you, laugh with you, get to know who you are and share themselves with you. In our home, today is Leftover Party Day!
The stress of Christmas–both the practical details and the fantasies of how it “ought” to be–is over, but sometimes the day after also can be a let down. So years ago we started a tradition of inviting lots of our friends and family (and that includes you!) to bring their leftovers for a giant potluck. The only instructions are that no one is allowed to try to make the leftovers look like anything fancier, because we want this to be all about enjoying each other. Late afternoon everyone starts arriving with casserole dishes with a little bit of sweet potato or green beans left in them, plastic containers with the last few spoonfuls of the cranberry salad or cole slaw, plastic bags of dinner rolls, foil packages with a few slices of ham and turkey, a half box of crackers or an open package of cheese. It all gets squeezed onto our big dining room table along with paper plates and plastic utensils–because we don’t want to be exhausted cleaning up after–and we all dig in, sitting or standing to eat and to visit with each other wherever we can find a spot around the house. No matter how many people come, there’s always more than enough food to go around, and no matter what you eat, I’m sure you’ll find something here that you like. And did I mention the desserts? Yum!
Of course, you’ll have to put up with a little bit of my mom-craziness beforehand as we get the bathrooms cleaned up, bookshelves dusted, floors vacuumed, and the tablecloths and candles out, but I try not to go overboard–with 40 or 50 people here, no one really notices–and it’s worth it for the fun later. If you want to curl up on the sofa for a nap earlier in the day, or lounge in the hammock in the backyard with a good book, or sprawl in the living room enjoying the twinkle of lights and sparkle of ornaments on the tree, that’s just fine; I need some quiet time to recharge too.
It’s hard not to have your own family accept you as the unique, amazing person you truly are, or to be pushed away by people you love, but you are welcome here…welcomed by us, and welcomed by our friends, to whom we’ll be delighted to introduce you. Today is our day for no pretenses and no stress, just laughter and friendship and great leftovers (so much tastes better the next day anyway, right?) and love, and I’m so happy you’re here to share in it all with us!

With love and hugs,

Your Holiday Mom Betsy

Holiday Mom: Tina

Me and ATo my dearest holiday child,

The holidays are upon us and I am so glad to welcome you home. I can’t wait to spend some quality time with you. I know that throughout the year you face challenges and I want to tell you that no matter what passes you are always deeply loved and welcome to come home. Do you have a special someone in your life right now? If you do I want you to know that they are a part of us too and we want to spend time getting to know how wonderful they are, as clearly they must be to have captured your heart.

Will you be able to make it home in time for the tree decorating party? We certainly hope so, and if you can please remember to bring an ornament to add to the tree which is unique to you. In our home you are encouraged to always express yourself and the way we decorate the tree is just one more way to let all our specialness show through. Like my son Aidan who is 10 this year, what makes you unique and truly you is never expected to be hidden away. You are loved and accepted for exactly who you are. After we decorate the tree and eat our fill of lasagna we will of course once again watch Christmas Vacation. More than once has our family been likened to the Griswolds! We are a bit crazy and love to have fun but we are all unique just like you. Love rules in our home.

After we head home and go to sleep after an exhausting day there is usually a couple of weeks to finish up our shopping and wrapping gifts. I hope you and I can have some extra time just the two of us to go out and have a day in the city looking for a little special something for yourself and your partner. I know there are times when your love doesn’t feel valid, that acceptance seems far away and even impossible. You need to know that you are never alone when you have your adopted family with you, be it in person or in your heart. You are loved and accepted, no changes required. Before you know it, Christmas will have arrived. If the weather holds, my grandparents, who are in their 80’s, will come to town from the country where we all originally hail from. Christmas Eve celebrations are kept relatively low key. We will keep a more traditional Ukrainian meal which will have no meat, but have 12 meatless dishes. After the meal we will have kutia (wheat) for dessert. I love wheat! We only get make it twice per year so dig in! After dessert as we relax with coffee and carols we will play some family games. It is always a big laugh, especially when the grandparents try acting out charades. We try to wrap up before midnight as Aidan still needs his rest as a growing boy. Perhaps after everyone retires you and I can have a quiet chat by the lights of the tree or we can sit quietly together and just “be”.

Christmas morning will be a low key affair with just the few us at home. Fresh coffee, tea and cinnamon buns will be ready for us. We will exchange the personal gifts we have for each other and also see if there are any goodies in our stockings on the mantle over the fireplace. If it is really cold we will light a fire in the fireplace and stay warm in our fuzzy winter pajama sets which we love to wear. Don’t worry we don’t all have to match this year! Make sure you let us know if we need to buy an extra set for someone special. It is very important to us that you both feel welcomed and loved in our home. I’m sure eventually my mom will call to find out when we are coming over and of course, once we leave home and head over there for midday dinner, all the chaos will ensue. The extended family will arrive and there will be more love and laughs to be shared. Aunts, Uncles and cousins will all want to spend time with you and of course play some games. Amid the chaos we will know how much it means to us that you let us welcome you. We are always here for you. Always!  

At this time of year, and always of course, you are loved. No matter what comes your home is always with us and in our hearts.

All my love, always!

Your Holiday Mom Tina