Today I am pleased to have Caroline Bock, author of Lie here. She will be talking to us about Reflections on the Holiday Season. Take it away!
From the author of LIE --Caroline Bock
I love the holidays: the lights, the music, the food, the gathering of family. And I hate holidays: too many lights, too much canned holiday music, too much food, but no, not too much family. I can never say that.
I am full of contradictions about the holidays. I love the holidays because of my family. Yet, when I was young, the holidays were always about absence, the lack of, specifically, the absence and the lack of my mother. The holidays were always about the fact that my mother wasn’t with us, that she couldn’t be with us, that she was in the hospital -- brain-damaged and paralyzed from a brain aneurysm. After age four, I never woke up to my mother on Christmas Day. Every holiday, especially Christmas, I mourned along with my younger brothers and sister, waking up to a house without a mother.
These days, as a mother myself, I gather my two children around me, my husband and his parents, not for Christmas, for we celebrate Hanukah and that is another story, and forge our own holiday. I feel like I have had to make it up as I go along.
We pick a day to gather during the eight days of Hanukkah. With the latkes smothered with apple sauce coming from my husband’s mother, my sister, the favorite and only aunt, arriving with too many gifts, each child having his or her own menorah to light, the absence, no not of me, I am ever-present, but of television and video games on the eight nights of Hanukah, our little family celebrates. I am nervous. Is everyone having a good time? Are the kids happy? I search their faces. I serve too much food. I wrap myself in my family and am grateful for every one of them. The best present is just being here, and books. I love books as presents, giving them and receiving them, reading to my little girl her ‘new favorite,’ which is whatever book is her present for the evening. With prayers said and the candles on the menorah lit, I pull my little girl on my lap. She smells of apples and chocolate. I breathe her in and read.
I miss my own mother during the holidays. She died, after over forty years of being incapacitated with her stroke, just two years ago during this time of year. In my debut novel, LIE, the main character, Skylar Thompson, is grieving the loss of her mother, and yes, I wrote my novel while I was grieving. I may not have many childhood memories of my own mother, though I cherish the few that I have of her, and work hard to fill in the old memories, the lacks, and absences with new ones. These days, I hope I am giving my own children happy memories of the holidays, of their family, of me, surrounding them in light and love.
May all your holidays be surrounded by family and love –- from the author of LIE.
What does your family take from traditions – and what traditions has your family started anew?
If you haven't read Lie yet please check it out. It's a really good book! To celebrate the holiday Caroline if offering 1 person a signed first edition of LIE. Fill out the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway will end on the 27th. Good luck!
Everybody knows, nobody's talking. That's what's being passed from friend-to-friend as
Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police in her nice suburban
Long Island town. Her boyfriend Jimmy, baseball and football star--a Scholar-Athlete -- stands accused of brutally assaulting two young
El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she's the prime witness along with Jimmy's best friend and accomplice Sean.
But when Skylar and Sean begin to appreciate the enormity of what has happened, especially when Carlos Cortez, the victim's brother steps up to demand justice, they must figure out why they followed Jimmy--and if they will lie to protect him-- and themselves.
a Rafflecopter giveaway