Your Holiday Mom: Angela

angelaMy dear Holiday Child,

Happy New Year! I love New Year’s Day. For me, it’s a chance to start over, to begin afresh, to turn the calendar to a smooth, clean, blank page and start imagining how I will fill it up as the months go by. New Year’s Day is also a chance to bring closure to the past year, and to reflect on my successes, my mistakes, the joys and the sorrows.

For many years, I kept a New Year’s journal that I would only write in once a year. Each entry began with a record of how I spent that New Year’s Eve. The rest was devoted to how the past year went, with its accomplishments, highlights and special events, along with the goals I wanted to set for the year to come. What a way to look back on your life, and what a way to see how humble most of my New Year’s Eve celebrations tend to be. I fantasize about attending glamorous parties, wearing something glittery and metallic, drinking a bubbly beverage and dancing to elegant music; in reality, 9 times out of 10 the midnight hour finds me singing “Auld Lang Syne” in my pajamas.

And there’s no problem with that, except that I keep thinking my holiday (and my whole life, really) has to look like what I see on TV. Well, it doesn’t. In fact, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to stop caring so much what the “script” says I should be doing, what I should be feeling, and whom I should be loving. I hope you can join me in ripping up that script by ringing in this New Year with my family!

I hope you’ve packed something warm, because we are headed to Minnesota. I live in Illinois with my son, but we travel home to the home of my mother and stepfather (your Holiday Grandparents) in St. Paul for the holidays. They are extremely devoted grandparents and love to dote on their grandson. When we come in, the house feels warm and usually smells like some delicious food. Please come on in and relax and join us!

My mother believes that even if you spend New Year’s Eve at home, it should still have a festive, party atmosphere, so she serves appetizers for dinner.   Please help yourself to some Swedish meatballs, maybe with a bit of pickled herring on the side. Don’t forget the feta cheese and olives; it’s tricky being of both Scandinavian and Greek heritage in Minnesota, but we do our best. If you still have room for dessert, my mom will have several varieties of cookies for you to sample. Here’s my contribution this year: peppermint-flavored butter cookies dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. Who needs champagne?

Sometimes we play a game or two on New Year’s Eve, typically charades. Sometimes we go around the room and each family member talks about a particularly memorable moment from the past year. But our favorite game is making up New Year’s resolutions for each other. Each person writes a short list of resolutions intended for everyone else on a piece of paper, folds it in half, and writes the intended family members’ name on the outside. They all go into a hat and each person draws out the resolutions written for them and reads them out loud. Sometimes the results are hilariously silly (“I resolve to wash my socks at least once a month”), and sometimes they are thinly disguised motherly advice (“I resolve to get more rest”), but it’s always fun to read them aloud.

Around this time, some of us go to bed and the diehards try to stay up until midnight. Please feel free to do whichever you wish, but I hope you’ll stay up with me and maybe write in your journal (you did bring it with you, didn’t you?).

Perhaps your 2014 was difficult; mine certainly had its moments. As we write in companionable silence, with the lights of the tree quietly twinkling in the living room, I hope that you can take this chance to bring it to a close and look forward to a bright new year in 2015, filled with fresh opportunities, new friends, and abundant love. What a great way to go to sleep on New Year’s Eve!

New Year’s morning is a really fun day in our household. There’s none of the bustle of Christmas Day, because all the presents have been opened. We can have a leisurely breakfast with plenty of coffee, in our pajamas. My mother (or sometimes I) will be busy in the kitchen preparing Vasilopita, a sweet Greek egg bread that is traditionally baked for January 1. The baker hides a coin inside, and whoever gets the coin in their slice has special good luck in the coming year. Somehow my son has managed to get the coin almost every year of his life; this year, I have a feeling you are going to get the coin—and when you do, I hope you’ll carry it in your pocket as a reminder that you are valued, you are loved, there is a place and a family and a community for you, and you can have an abundantly happy life without following society’s “script.”

Thank you for joining my family to ring in 2015. I wish you joy and peace in this New Year, and the fulfillment of your dearest wishes.

Much love,

Angela

10 comments

  1. Carlos Nava says:

    I’m so glad to have found this page. The people are really supportive. The notes make me smile and cry at times. I wish my real mom was like this that she accepted me for who I was and actually cared for me but she never has. Honestly it breaks my heart because the only support I’ve had is from my really close friends and well my amazing boyfriend who means everything to me and has made me smiled and cared for me in a way no one else ever has

    • Angela Glaros says:

      Carlos, I’m glad you found this site and that it brings you some much-needed warmth and support! How wonderful to have a loving relationship and a circle of friends who accept you. This is truly a miracle, so don’t take it for granted. :-)

  2. Danae says:

    Thank you so so so so much! I’m in the same boat as Vasili… I found this site last year but remembered it again the other day and was so lucky to find the first post from someone of my heritage. Reading Vasili’s comment and your response made me tear up. Xronia polla kai euxaristw para polu!

    Me polu agaph,
    Danae

    • Angela Glaros says:

      Danae,

      I’m so glad I could write something that made your day brighter. Kali Chronia kai thermes euxes yia ena xaroumeno 2015!

  3. Madeline says:

    Hi, I’m fifteen right now, and I lost my mom last year in September. I’m bisexual and coming out to my parents wasn’t a difficult thing, my parents were always supportive of it and my dad even bought me a t-shirt with a bisexuwhale on it for Christmas. Being who I am was never hard in front of my parents, but my mom is gone now and it’s especially hard during the holidays. I really want to say that I think what you’re doing here is amazing and I want to thank you for everything you do.

    • Angela Glaros says:

      Madeline, I’m so glad you have support at home. I can only imagine what it’s like to be without your mom at such a young age, but it’s clear that she had a lot of love for you, and so does your dad. The holidays aren’t always perfectly happy for people who’ve lost loved ones or ended relationships, and I guess I feel that’s part of the baggage of society’s “script” that we also have to let go of in order to live a good life. It’s okay if this is a bittersweet time. All best for 2015!!

  4. Katie Hamlin says:

    Thank you so much for this. The holiday season can be such a tough time for all of us knowing we don’t have the people around us who accept us for who we are. And reading this, knowing people love all of us this holiday season, makes it a whole lot brighter. So thank you for being our loving “mom”. Thank you so much.

  5. Vasileios Charalambides says:

    thank you thank you thank you.
    I don’t think I can tell you how much this meant to me- I found this site by chance and the first letter I got (on top of being incredibly supportive), came from somebody who shares my exact heritage. This is the first time I’ve gotten to sign my name, my real one.

    Thank You,

    Vasileios Charalambides

    • Angela Glaros says:

      Vasili mou, Chronia polla! I wish you the very best 2015 anyone could ever have. So happy to have warmed your heart. Not everyone who shares our heritage is particularly open-minded, but I am, and I’m glad to have brightened your day. Kali Chronia kai o,ti epithimis!

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