To hear Lily reading your letter, you can click right here!
My Dearest Holiday Child,
How are you? The holidays are upon us. Everywhere around us are the sounds, sights and smells of a joyous time. I am well and am looking forward to the holiday season.
If I had to pick a holiday that I love the most, its this one. My family celebrates Christmas. Each year, I think back to when I was a child, and realize, I am incredibly lucky. The most important lesson I learned was that there was always room for one more person, or two (or a whole family) at our table. Whether it was a turkey dinner, or ice fishing, or just making s’mores in the wood stove. There is always room. I learned that no one should feel lonely or be turned away at this time of year. I learned that even those with little, still give and share, because giving is more important than receiving. As a parent, it’s my job to teach my children a lot of different things. Love, acceptance, generosity, how to be humble, tolerance and when the need presents itself (which is often)….patience. I am constantly amazed with what my children can say and do. Like recently, Bubbles (my oldest daughter, she is 9) got permission and organized a fundraiser, by selling bracelets that she and her classmates are making. We had no clue she had done any of this until a recent parent teacher conference, and I am so proud and speechless at the work she has put into this.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to fathom the idea that a parent won’t or has trouble showing unconditional love and understanding to their child. For in you, is so much potential, so much love. Please know, that I will not turn a cold shoulder to you. Not ever. You are who you are, you cannot change that, and I think you are perfectly imperfect. I love you just the way you are. No matter how you identify yourself or which orientation you have, no matter which pronouns you prefer to use, and no matter who you decide to love. No matter how messed up you feel you might be, there is nothing you can do or say that will make me love you any less. In fact, I will only love you more. My roll as your mother is to guide you, encourage you to strive for those life decisions that will make you the happiest, whatever those might be. Everyone needs someone in their corner, to cheer them on unconditionally.
Sometimes it’s not blood that makes a family, but the people around you that love, and accept you and want you in their lives. So let me open my arms when you come to my door. I want to give you (and your partner if you have one) the biggest, warmest, welcoming hug, and invite you inside. I will give you a cup of steaming hot chocolate decorated with marshmallows and crushed candy cane. My husband J.T., and our daughters, will welcome you. Bug (who is only 4) will ask your name and if you like to play with legos. Bubbles will be excited that you are coming, and both are going to show you all their toys and fun things, as this is their ritual, they even do this to their grandparents. You will be the most popular, funny, and huggable person of the holiday. We will sit and catch up on all the things you’ve been doing and where your goals are taking you. I will tell you how happy I am that you came, and you would see an excited and proud smile on my face when I listened to everything you have to say.
Our traditions usually begin when I break out the Christmas box. There are two things in the box that come out right away, the Count Down Blocks to the days until Christmas and the advent calendar. There are extra candies in the calendar so you can celebrate with us, however, you might have a wrestling match when it comes to the countdown blocks. Bug and Bubbles love to make sure that the count down is completely accurate. The stockings are hung, with extras for you (Bug and Bubbles will make sure of that). The candles are next. I love smells that give me nostalgia, Gingerbread cookies and peppermint especially. The tree, while artificial, is still beautiful when done. The star that will sit on top, is silver with ornate molding and embossing. You have the honor of putting it on top. Then we will turn off most of the lights and light the tree to see it finished. The gifts will be stacked and tucked in under the tree.
What’s next? Cookies! It’s not Christmas with cookies! This year is our family’s second year with a new tradition. Each year, we go out and find a unique cookie cutter, and we make gingerbread cookies. Last year, we made Zombie Gingerbread people! The whole house smells like warm ginger when we get the cookies into the oven. I guarantee, you will have flour from head to toe when we’re finished. We can sit and help the girls decorate. Perhaps you’ll even be presented with a version of ‘Jingle Bells, Batman Smells…’ as sang by Bug. We would make a double batch of cookies, so when you leave you have plenty to take with you.
In our home, we do not believe in a Santa Claus, they understand the legend and stories behind Santa Claus but they know he is not real. However, Bubbles and Bug know there is a Santa Secret and enjoy pretending. On Christmas Eve, we make s’mores, and watch Christmas movies. In the morning, wrapped gifts and a sparkling tree is what your sleepy eyes will find. We all open gifts and look through stockings, still in our pajamas with cups of hot chocolate. There would be wrapping paper everywhere after all the gifts were opened. I’m sure you’ll have bits of paper or tape stuck to those christmas socks on your feet. Funny how it takes thought into wrapping those boxes so the paper doesn’t rip, yet it’s still so fun to rip that paper when you finally get to. It’s almost like bubble wrap.
Turkey, Beef Brisket, or maybe Roasted Chicken. Depending on what sounds good, is what we will make. Most of all, I would love for you to be in my kitchen helping me. The best memories are when my family helps me in the kitchen. There will be Cranberry and Walnut Stuffing, lumpy mash potatoes, cornbread, dinner rolls, roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon, roasted asparagus, peas, and broccoli salad. We will be sitting at a little table built for 7. Egg nog, hot chocolate, and board games will take up our evening. Perhaps a game of Munchkin, or Fluxx, or Pirates Vs. Ninjas. Then we will have desserts, Apple Crumble, ice cream, and fresh fruits.
I will be so happy that you came to spend the holiday with us and I will be sad that you have to go. Bug will not want to see you go, and she will ask you to stay just one more day. Bubbles will ask you to play one more game before you have to go. I told you, you’d be popular, did I not?
So you must promise me, that you’ll look after yourself. Keep your chin up, and keep that beautiful smile on your face. I want you to try your best to tackle the obstacles in your way, and conquer every mountain that you need to climb. Know that I am sending you love and thinking of you every day, and every holiday you are not at home with us.
Much Love Always, Lily
PS. Don’t forget your cookies!