Happy New Year 2019 from Shamama!

Dear Holiday Child,

Well, there you have it – another season of letters where we got to LOVE on you! (Please thank Mom Yvonne and Marni for all the support they gave this year – they made this happen!) And to all the moms, thank you so much for writing. I know this season was a gift to you as well as our young folks (and older folks who still need a mom’s love – that need never runs out).

Now, Holiday Child, as we begin 2019, I’d love to encourage you (some call it nagging, but what are mothers for?!) to make some solid, deep, important resolutions. The kind that can change the whole trajectory of your life! Like being all of who you really are whenever it is safe to do so (and being wise about this). Like going out on a limb for others who need your support as much as you needed ours here. Like taking good care of your health and fighting off the urge to be self-destructive, no matter how bad some days might be. There are always good days to come, I promise you. Like reminding yourself, again and again, that you are worthy of love and oh-so-loveable. Because it is true. And remember, you can come back to this site any time of year for a good dose of mom love. We are here in spirit all year long.

Once you’ve made your resolutions, go out and live them. Live your best life. That is what we want for you the most. Thank you for making this year amazing for all of us!

With Love, Shamama

Your Holiday Mom: Mama Rebecca

To my sweet kiddo,

I can’t stop thinking about you today, and how proud I am to have you in my life. I know you think that Halloween is my favorite holiday – how much fun is it to pig out on candy, and to dress up and pretend to be whatever you want!! But really, these are my favorite holidays. I love Thanksgiving because it reminds me to be grateful for all the blessings in my life. You are at the very top of that list! You, just as you are, with your fantastic sense of humor and your unique perspectives, and every gorgeous wonderful molecule of YOU.

I love Christmas because it is a time for love and family and giving and sharing and days of just being together. I love teasing you when you sleep in late and stumble downstairs and pretend that you’re going to have cookie dough for breakfast. I love baking with you, and pretending I don’t see you and your sisters sneaking cookies fresh from the oven. I love teaching you about our Polish heritage, and I appreciate your help getting ready for Wigilia dinner on Christmas Eve. I love sending you outside with your sisters to watch for the first star in the night sky, and how you compete to see who can bang pots and pans the loudest as soon as that star is spotted! Most of all, I love breaking the oplatki with you, and having the chance to tell you how much you mean to me. I know we get so busy, and I don’t tell you nearly enough, but I love you so very very much. You are so special to me, my sweet kiddo, the light of my heart. You give so much and ask for so little. I hope you know how glad I am that you are mine. You will always have a place in my heart, and you will always have a place in this family. I don’t need Santa to bring me any other presents, because the best gift I ever received was YOU!

Finally, there’s New Year’s. I look forward to New Year’s Eve all year long, especially the big party we have every year! On New Year’s Eve, you spend a good part of the afternoon helping me fill the basement with balloons to pop at midnight. Everyone who is anyone in our lives comes to celebrate with us: you and your sisters, me and Dad, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles and cousins, all of our friends – our house is loud and fun and full and crazy! We sing and we dance and we tolerate Dad’s awful jokes. Your sisters are finally old enough to make it to midnight this year! I can’t wait to watch the ball drop on TV, and then watch you and your sisters run amok trying to see who can pop the most balloons! Your grandma and grandpa used to do the exact same when I was a kid – the party, the balloons, the hugs and kisses and wishes at midnight! I loved it then as much as you and your sisters love it now. You know I don’t make resolutions (who can think about silly things like starting a diet with all these leftover Christmas cookies to eat??), but I love New Years because it is a time for fresh starts. You can put aside everything that didn’t go your way and have a new beginning. I know that things haven’t always been easy for you, and I am so proud of your strength and bravery and perseverance. I hope that this next year is your very best yet, full of joy and abundance and love enough to last til forever. Your best days are ahead, but no matter where you go, you will always have a place to belong here at home with me and Dad and your sisters.

I love you to the moon and back, my sweet kiddo. Don’t roll your eyes when I hug you again. Have more cookies, I made an extra batch of your favorite. I love you!

Love always,

Your mama,

Rebecca

Your Holiday Mom: Mama T

Hi you!

I hope you don’t mind the greeting. “You” is a term of endearment in our family said with warmth and silliness and a whole lot of love. It’s something my dad always said and I guess I picked it up somewhere along the way. Anyway, “Hi, you!” We are so happy you’re here. We love YOU just as YOU are.

I’m not a hugger so it’s okay if you’re not as well. I’m more likely to show my love by putting a warm mug of coffee or tea in your hand and offering freshly baked banana bread or apple crisp. Food is our love language in this family! Do you like to cook or bake? I’ve planned an overly ambitious meal again. Would you like to help me? It’s okay if you’d rather watch the soccer game with J and the kids.

It doesn’t matter that Christmas has passed. I grew up in a family of blue collar workers who often had holiday schedules. Maybe you were working too? We learned that you can celebrate anytime. All that matters is that we are with people we love.

E is four and a half and would love to play with you. Do you like dolls? She’ll probably make you a meal of plastic food. Food is a love language even in the plastic form. Do you want to hold the baby? His name is K and he’s super chunky for a 4 month old. All you have to do is smile at him to get a huge open mouthed, gummy smile back. He’ll probably fall asleep on your chest soon.

Come sit. The food is ready. I’m sorry it’s later than planned. It was overly ambitious of me to make homemade pumpkin gnocci. We got a pumpkin from our CSA and I cooked it in the crockpot and puréed the pumpkin myself so I really wanted to do something fun with it.

J has some funny stories to share. Do you have things you want to tell us about? Have you found a new passion? What are your friends up to? Did anything crazy happen at work? Anything goes in this house. Just be prepared for 1,000 questions from the four year old.

It’s getting late. I’m going to go to bed. J is a night owl so you two can sit and chat or he can help you make up the sofa bed. It’s really comfortable and it’s dark in the basement. Sleep in as long as you can. We’ll try to keep the kiddos quiet. There will be warm coffee and banana bread in the morning. J will make eggs. Or there is an amazing donut place down the road. Again, food is out love language.

Hey, you….We’re so happy YOU came.

Mama T

 

Your Holiday Mom: Mom Sandi

My Dear,

It’s gotten to that point in the year when holiday chaos arrives, with a turkey in one hand and a pumpkin in the other.  If you’re my age (62), you’re supposed to know what to do with each of them, though I confess that while I’m fine with the bird, I don’t make pie with a squash.  I cannot make a pie crust to save my life, and so I depend on others to fill in that blank.  And that’s one of the best parts of the holidays for me.  I grew up in a small family, and some years it was just the four of us at the table for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  But other years we were absorbed into other families, eating pies we weren’t able to make for ourselves, and talking with people we’d never met before.  For the last few years, my sister and I have done some of the absorbing, hosting a meal for folks who aren’t going to be where they usually were.  I’m hoping that you’ll find something like that yourself this year, whether you’re a host or a guest, and that hearing other people’s stories and eating other people’s food will open some doors for you.

As a kid, I thought those evenings were exciting.  They were a chance to practice the person I thought I could be, if I wasn’t stuck in the suburbs.  And so one of the things I’m always grateful for at Thanksgiving is the chance for the unexpected opportunity.  I’m not offering this up as advice, per se – I’m sure you’ve had more than enough of that, and a big chunk of it unasked for.  But part of this letter is supposed to talk about holiday traditions, and that’s a big one of mine.

So know that, if you were here, there would be a place for you.  A chair, a plate, a share of whatever is on the table, and a voice in whatever we talk about.

But there are all kinds of ways to celebrate the holidays – with the closest of kin or a crowd full of strangers.  Another thing I do most years is to watch a local tradition unfold.  I live in Seattle, and so the water is a big part of our geography and our culture.  Many years ago, a group of local boat owners got together for a kind of boat parade, sailing around the lakes and stopping from time to time for people onshore to sing carols and stand by a bonfire.  It’s become a bit more organized over time – the boat parade is hosted by a local tour company, and the onshore bonfires are supervised by the fire department.  But there are carolers on the boats, and they sing to us, standing onshore in the dark.  Sometimes I stand with my own family, but sometimes I just stand with strangers, and watch people come together as a community.  It’s just after the midwinter solstice, and so there is the promise of more light in the coming days.  But for right now, all we have is faith in the dark.

You might be surrounded by family and friends right now, or you might be standing with strangers in the dark.  Either way, you are a part of the bigger community, you have a place to be your best and most honest self.  My hope for you, at the holidays and always, is that you know your own worth, and you share yourself with others.  The rest, as my grandmother used to say, is frosting.

Sandi, your holiday mom

Your Holiday Mom: Mamma Lauren

My Dearest Holiday Child,

Holiday child I am so glad you’re able to make it and celebrate this holiday with us. I made your favorite dish macaroni and cheese but if you think it needs extra cheese and want to spice it up I left all the ingredients out for you to adjust. I didn’t want to put it in the oven yet and dry it out for you, I know you look forward to it every year.

I am so happy you are coming home. I love being able to spend time with you and listen to your stories we have so much catching up to do. Your friend told me you are dating someone new? I can’t wait to hear all your stories you know I don’t care who you date as long as you are happy and they are nice to you. At the end of the day know that I love you no matter what and know that we will always save a seat at the dinner table for two for you and whoever your dating. I would be honored to meet the person your dating. I promise I will try not to embarrass you and talk about how much I love you or about the time when you told me you weren’t straight and I laughed and said we always knew and hugged you for hours and said it was okay.

You have grown so much as a person, I know it wasn’t easy going to school as an LGBTQ child. I love how you are now giving back to the community and helping the younger LGBTQ youth that are battling with depression. You are such an inspiration to the youth of the world and I want you know whenever your feeling down, people look up to you and you are needed on this earth and we love you more than anything.

I was thinking after dinner if you could read with Nowella (your holiday sister) and play with her. She’s been so excited knowing you were coming home for the Holidays. She has been counting down the days to spend time with you. There are a bunch of presents under the tree for you, don’t spoil it like you usually do and sneak and open up one or two =) I was thinking before opening presents we could watch National Lampoons Christmas I made sure I DVRD it for you.

I hope 2019 is the best year of your life and remember if anything is bringing you down at all that “this too shall pass” and I always support you no matter what.

Mamma Lauren

Your Holiday Mom: Mom Jamie

Welcome home! We are so happy you could make it to the holiday celebration this year! It’s the first holiday season in the new house, and we’re excited to show you around.

Your brother, TJ, will want to build Legos or play video games with you. Your sister, Auri, would love to draw pictures with you!

We have a big breakfast planned. Come help me in the kitchen. Go ahead and preheat the oven for me; we’re going to make cinnamon buns and banana bread. How do you like your hot chocolate? I hope you don’t mind that I have “It’s A Wonderful Life” playing on the TV. It’s my favorite. What’s your favorite Christmas movie? We’ll watch it next. It’s all just cozy family time today.

Your Holiday Grandparents are here, so we can open some presents! I just love the lights on the tree, don’t you? Grandma made you a quilt. I hope you like it! The kids and I picked out a sweater for you. We also have an ornament for you to hang on your tree at home.

Mmm, smell that? Breakfast is ready! The kids will want you to sit between them. Here’s your plate. We have scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits as well as the cinnamon buns and banana bread you helped me with. Grandpa wants to know if you want some eggnog? Before we eat, we like to hold hands and go around the table with what

everyone is thankful for this season and hopeful for in the new year. I am so thankful that you could make it here this year, and I am hopeful that knowing your Holiday Family loves you makes your new year bright.

After we eat, we’ll play games and listen to music and just enjoy each other’s company. I want to hear about what’s going on with you! If you need a nap, I understand. I’ve made up the guest bed, so you can relax in the quiet if you want.

Thank you so much for joining us for the holidays this year! We love you so much, and want you to know that you are always welcome here, as you are, any time.

Love,

Your Holiday Mom, Jamie

Your Holiday Mom: Mom Holly Joy

Hello my very special holiday child!

I am so blessed to have you sharing this magical season with me and our family. You are such a gift to this world. The day you were born, you were given to all of us as a present because you are someone who has much to offer, so much magic to bring.

Let’s take off your coat and sit down at the table. You have been missed, but now that we are together we can enjoy a long talk about how you are, what’s new in your life. If everything isn’t okay, that’s okay. We will still talk about it and I’ll give you a big Mom hug—the same one I will always give you.

It smells good in the warm house at this time of year. There is always something in the oven because I love my family with food. If I make something, say you love it (even if you don’t) and I will be happy the whole night. Would you like to hear some music? I’ll sing a carol or two. I don’t play the piano well, but I enjoy it. And I love to sing!

Do you know why I love this time of year so much? It makes me realize how there are so many people in the world who are sitting around a table just like we are right now, and how we are all connected. I think that’s what makes the magic we feel. The love that I offer you and the love that you offer others—

that is how we share our gifts. It’s always around us but at this time of year we can feel it, especially when we are together.

I’m so glad you’re here with us. My two sons are grown now, in their 20’s, and they are bringing their families tonight. My oldest and his wife will be here with the baby (isn’t that exciting!) and my youngest is bringing his boyfriend. We all love each other very much, and now we have you to add! There is no limit to the number of people we can love. In our house, family can be anyone who joins! So, thank you for coming and singing, eating cookies, having some hot chocolate, and enjoying an evening with us. You made it more special than a Mom could imagine.

My life is much brighter this holiday season with you in it! I will hold you close in my heart. I will think about you often, the way I do my other kids. You have so much to give, and I appreciate you! This is your year. You are going to shine your brightest.

Hugs & kisses from your Holiday Mom,

Holly Joy

Your Holiday Mom: Mama Mia

A Holiday Message from Me to You,

Happy Holidays, wonderful YOU! I wish I could tell you how much you matter, how important you are and what a difference it makes that you are in the world. You don’t it even know it, but your smile made someone’s day today ❤

Holidays at our house are frantic, frenzied and full of cheer. The house is dancing with laughter, the screams of children who’ve had far too many candy canes fill the air and smells of baking bread and turkeys roasting (sometimes burning!) cling to our sweaters and we all smell like roast dinner when we head outside.   I am a step-mom to two wonderful boys, and I think of them as my own. My wife and have created a home that is open and friendly – there is space for everyone and anyone who’d like to come over and our big, wooden table often has people squeezed in tight in higgledy-piggledy chairs. Usually someone knocks over the gravy and everything is always very sticky from the sugared gum drops the children sneak from the candy bowls when they think we aren’t looking. On Christmas Eve, we usually do a family activity around the table – play a game or do table karaoke – last year we made animals and monsters out of marzipan and this year we might make rice crispy sculptures. Usually, the kids protest going to bed, but after baths and stories and 15 tuck-ins, they are off to the land of nod and we tackle wrapping the last of the Christmas gifts and end up staying awake until the wee hours. Sometimes we have friends staying over and they help too. The morning brings home-made waffles and gift opening and everyone has a pajama party and eats way too much chocolate (last year I ate an entire box of Toffifee all by myself) Late in the day after we’ve tried to tidy up the torn wrapping paper and candy boxes, people start to pop over and trickle in for dinner. We always have the Christmas crackers (the most inexpensive ones with the too small hats that tear when you put them on your head) and make way too many smashed potatoes. It is perfect – and it’s not perfect because nothing goes wrong – usually a million things go wrong – someone has a tantrum – the dogs eats the turkey leg, we didn’t get the right batteries for a toy or there is a ninja fight in the living room and someone knocks over the tree. These are the things that make it perfect – knowing that the door is open, that we have a home that anyone can come to, that we try to see people for who they are and hope that they will see us too. That is perfect, to me.

It isn’t the family that I grew up with, the one that is biologically mine, but it is oh, so much my family – the one I have chosen and the one that has chosen me. It is a queer family (my mother would DIE at me using that word to describe myself) and it is a happy family. We do normal family things and live a somewhat normal life. I did not think I could find this when I was teenager but that’s the wonderful thing about the world – if you don’t have people in your life that accept you or understand you, you can find people who do – there are and will be people who see you and love you for who you are. Know that there are people out there, right now, as you are reading this, who would welcome you and look into your eyes and see you, and want to know you. I will imagine you are with us, sitting around the big, scratched up wooden table this Christmas. I hope you would try all of the food (even the weird dishes that didn’t turn out quite right) and eat until you are stuffed and laughing, and laughing some more as you join in the cookie eating contest even though you are SO full…… and I will pass you a Christmas cracker with a funny paper hat, a plastic whistle you will blow along with us and a fortune wishing you all of the love, understanding, goodness and joy that you so deserve.

Happy Christmas,

Mama Mia

Your Holiday Mom: Mama B

Dear Holiday Child of My Heart,

Welcome home!  Come on in, come on it!  Grandma B and I are so happy to see you!  Let me take your coat, and you come on in the kitchen and have a sit.

You got here just in time to help prep for dinner.  I say “dinner,” but it’s not really a dinner.  Some families have a Christmas eve dinner, but in this house, we have a Christmas eve “parade of appetizers and desserts.”  All the aunts, uncles, and cousins all make their favorite appetizers or dessert to share, and bring it over to the house on Christmas eve around dinner time.  The entire family just grazes on nibbles while we visit.  It’s so much more relaxing than sitting down to a formal dinner, and way less prep for me and Grandma B, but it does mean that we have to get out all the folding chairs and tables we can find.

Would you help us set up the cookie decorating table?  Thank you.  All the kids, including my son (who is the lone boy in the pack grandchildren), love decorating Christmas cookies.  To tell the truth, there’s not much decorating that goes on the cookies from all the sprinkles that end up on the floor and the icing that ends up on the clothing, but it’s still a good time.  There’s plenty of sugar cookies if you want to sprinkle a few yourself.  The kids would love to spend some time with you, if you don’t mind spending some time helping them.

Now, after we clean up after dinner, and everyone has settled down, it’s time for the fine B family tradition of gambling for presents.  You got my email about bringing a little grab bag gift?  Well, we all go into the living room and play “Left, Right, Center” and have a heck of a time gambling for those presents.  At the end of the night there is wrapping paper all over the floor, our sides are sore from laughing, and one person has accepted their fate as the recipient of a pair of scratch off lotto tickets in homage to Great Grandma B (who loved to scratch a ticket or two back in her day; scandalous!)  It is a hoot!

Then it’s time for the little ones to open their one Christmas eve present from Grandma B.  They know what it is already, since it’s a tradition: their Christmas themed pajamas!  Since we knew you would be traveling to be with us this year, I hope you don’t mind, but we got you a pair of pajamas as well.  They may be hideous looking, but they are a tradition, and they are really warm (just in case you didn’t pack a pair warm enough).

Holiday Child of My Heart, thank you for joining me, and Grandma B, and the B family this Christmas eve.  I call you the Child of My Heart, because I am writing to you from my heart.  Before we have to get up and get going with the dinner prep, I want to share with you the words I say to my son as I get him down to sleep every night:

“I love you.  I will always love you.  Thank you for loving me.”

Those words are my truth to the child of my body.

Child of My Heart, here is my truth that I want to share with you this Christmas eve: I love you.  I love you for who you are.  Thank you for being who you are.

Please know that I, and Grandma B, and the whole B family welcome you home this Christmas eve.  Know that we are glad you are here.  Know that for the time you choose to spend with us this holiday, you can just relax and be.

Know that you are safe here, because Grandma B loves and accepts me for who I am, and she’s loved and accepted me through almost three decades of me trying to figure that out.

Know that you are safe here, because I love and accept my son for who he is now, and when my son grows up, I will love and accept him for who he will be.

And know that when you choose to pack up and journey back, I’ll be sending you on your way with my truth, my love, and lots of leftover appetizers to tide you over!

I love you,

Mama B

Your Holiday Mom: Momma Sarah

My sweet child,

It’s been another whirlwind of a year and the holidays are upon us! Every year it feels like they sneak up on us! I’m excited to spend the holidays with our friends and families. You always bring a certain amount of energy anywhere you go and I’m always excited to have you part of our family traditions.

Snow has already started to fall, and I hope that we’ll have a beautiful, snow covered Christmas. I love sitting in the house with you as the snow quietly falls, blanketing the grass and tree branches while we fill the house with laughter and love as the scent of dinner and dessert baking swirls around the kitchen. There’s so many sounds, voicing through the house when everyone is here. The classic Christmas music Grandpa insists on playing at a deafening volume, the kids laughing and shrieking as they chase each other from room to room occasionally pausing to snag a cookie from the counter, that dancing Santa that has a motion sensor someone keeps turning back on! The house practically bursts at the seams during the holidays, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The time seems to move so quickly when you’re here and I wish I could make the time you’re here last forever – I take mental pictures of your smile, the sound of your contagious laugh, the passion in your stories, and the love in your heart as you speak about your friends. You capture the whole family with your beautiful energy. We’re so lucky to have you in our family. I hope you never grow tired of visiting us during this time of year. You are my sweet, sweet child and I love you very much.

Love you to the moon and back,

Momma Sarah & Papa Jason