‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 With Lindsay Eagar

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Lindsay Eagar

Lindsay Eagar is the author of critically acclaimed Hour Of The Bees (Candlewick, 2016) and the forthcoming Race To The Bottom of The Sea (Candlewick, 2017). A classically trained pianist and an unclassically trained rock guitarist, she lives with her husband and two daughters in the mountains of Utah Valley.

Author Links: TwitterTumblrGoodreads

Christmas is lights. A live tree planted in your living room, the piney scent of the outdoors inside your home. Christmas is music. It’s a stage of whirling tutus and a sugar plum fairy. A plate of cookies, thick white icing, brought by your neighbor, who also shoveled your driveway in the name of good will towards men. Christmas is ribbons and Dickens, holly berries and snowmen…

A season of peace. A season of joy.

Then why is Christmas also a season of melancholy?

I’m not a child of divorce, but I am an adult of one.

A year and a half ago, my dad waited until the house was empty, then packed his belongings and left my then thirteen-year-old sister and my mother, who he had been married to for almost thirty years.

No warning. No apologies. No explanation.

We had our first Christmas without him last year, and even though it was all the same decorations, the same ornaments, the same nativity set…it was different. We kept his stocking packed in a box. We took turns sitting in his spot on the stairs, so nobody had to notice that it was empty and cold. We kept the Christmas movies playing nonstop, so there were no obvious silences begging to be filled.

And then someone pulled out the photos.

And the tears started.

There I am, five years old, unwrapping my Barbie dream house, with both parents watching, smiling with tired eyes.

There I am, twelve years old, nose already buried in my new Harry Potter hardback, with both parents trying to hand me more presents to unwrap.

There I am, sixteen years old, pretending to be too cool for Christmas but secretly thrilled at the offerings under the tree, with both parents exchanging a snicker at their surly teen.

There we are, my siblings and I tearing away wrapping paper without a care, a family undivided, merry and bright and clueless as to the heartbreak that awaited us in the coming years.

And now, here I am, about to embark on my second holiday weekend with my new family dynamic, and it still hurts.

I’m not a child, but still feel abandoned by a parent. I feel rejected. I feel confused. I feel frustrated — I channel my inner kid and growl at the adults, and their inability to communicate, to just fix it.

But this year, I have rules.

My rules for dealing with change.

First, I am going to relish the memories. I won’t cringe when someone suggests getting out the home videos. I’m not going to cough loudly whenever my dad speaks on camera, trying to mask his voice to curb our pain. I won’t censor him from the stories — I’ll laugh the loudest when we remember the time he wore the Santa suit but could only find a long black Cher wig and went for it anyway.

Second, I will let myself weep for the loss. My family is happier now. Both my parents are happier. My mother is a rock, an anchor — she has thrived, even after experiencing the unthinkable tragedy of having your spouse up and leave without a word. But it is absolutely different. When I think of the tight family unit I thought I had as a teenager, the six of us posed for Christmas cards in matching plaids, of course I wish I could return there. Live in the safety of photos like that, the sweet peace. When I miss my dad this weekend, I’ll miss him. When I look at my mom and catch the glimpse of sadness in her eye, the one she tries to hide from us, I’ll let myself feel the heartache.

Finally, I’ll enjoy the now. My family is rebuilding. We are making new traditions. There’s an artificial tree, for the first time in my life, and all new ornaments, and other changes — things that would have once been branded sacrilege — but they’re not. They’re good changes. Different is scary. But different can be beautiful. Different can be healing.

This feeling — this aching nostalgia mixed with a hope for the future — is the spirit of Christmas. It’s the reason I write and read middle grade, because for many of us, those years are the first time we are able to look back at our early childhood and look ahead at our coming-of-age. It’s the feeling I have now, as 2016 comes to a crashing halt and skids around the corner into 2017, which I think will be better. I really do think it will be better.

And when it isn’t, I will try my hardest to make things different, and to find the joy in the changes, and to be inspired by happier times.

Here we are, as in olden days,

Happy golden days of yore…

Title Hour Of The Bees
Author Lindsay Eagar
Pages 368 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Magical Realism
Published March 8th, 2016 by Candlewick Press
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them…

While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots. Readers who dream that there’s something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.

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