Ten writers for children. All with something to say.



My holidays this year we're colored by being the first ones in my life without my mother present. My entire family rose to the occasion and we had a beautiful Christmas Eve here with sixteen around the table ranging in age from seventy seven to four.

For Boxing Day, we had a a gathering of my mother's friends in her house and we celebrated my sister's tribute to my mother in the New York Times magazine. At both events we felt a strong sense of my mom, but after the festivities, more of the sadness of her loss crept in.

The holiday season continues for me as my brother and his family are still around and don't return to their home in East Timor until Saturday. Today I met them at IKEA, one of my favorite unusual lunch places, and that is my nephew Liam pictured among the balls.

My next book, TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT, is dedicated to him and he's pretty excited about that.


Mark said...

Holidays are especially tough times when we have recently lost people close to us. I feel for you, John. It sounds like the rest of your family members are supporting each other in these difficult times, which is one of the blessings of family. I'll bet Liam can't wait to see his name on the dedication page! What a cool gesture on your part.

Edie Hemingway said...


I'm sure this has been a difficult, bittersweet holiday for you, but am glad to know you had so many family members celebrating with you and honoring your mother!

And hurray for Liam--pretty lucky to have a book dedicated to him!

Library Jewel said...

It is so hard to move through holidays without someone dear. I'm glad you have celebrated with those you love, and I hope you all continue to find ways to honor your mom and the memories of her you cherish.

We're waiting for the book at school. Love of the Game just arrived in hardbound editions for the library :)

Christy said...

That first sentence says it all, John. It does seem inconceivable to lose the one who ushered in your life and has always been there for you.

My older brother died of melanoma right before Christmas many years ago. That was a somber year. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries continued to be hard times, but being with other family and friends of my brothers provided some comfort in sharing the loss. Your post echoes this.

Now that the festivities and official celebrations of your mother's life have passed, I hope you will find ways to connect individually with people from her life, and to ponder your mother more in your own writing.

Lauren said...

For the past seven years I have missed my mom at Christmas the most-- and the first year was the hardest. It sounds like you surrounded yourself with loving and supportive family and friends~ wonderful!
And Liam amongst the balls at IKEA looks like a happy kid~ and wonderful to have a book dedicated to him!

Diane Adams said...

The world seems a different place after someone you love dies. I remember not being able to understand how the world could or why it should go on without my beloved father-in-law who died when my son was just six. We still talk about him so our son knows just how much his grandpa loved him, and my usually non-religious husband swears that his dad is watching down on our son. I'm still teary, but I guess it means that I loved him deeply. How fortunate we all are to love like that.

David LaRochelle said...

The first year of anniversaries without a parent or loved one are especially hard. And it's especially hard when you can't share with them the joys in your life, like the release of a new book.

May good memories and the love of your family and friends help you through the grieving process, John.