Monday, January 11, 2016

Wow. (That was All She Could Say. WOW.)

Well, we've had rather a good Monday morning here at the Bradley household. I just finished watching my book, my very own book, the one I wrote and rewrote (and rewrote and rewrote) and love, get all the love at the American Library Association's youth media awards press conference. The War That Saved My Life is now a Newbery Honor book and co-winner of the Schneider Award; the audio version won the Odyssey.

It's pretty amazing. I haven't even begun to process it, but meanwhile my phone is going off like the smoke alarm on Thanksgiving Day. I love the other winners: Last Stop on Market Street (though seriously--who saw that coming???), Echo, Roller Girl, and Fish in a Tree. I'm really chuffed right now.

But I'll tell you a secret: we had our big celebration last night. NOT because I knew what was coming--I did find out about the Schneider Award yesterday, to my amazement, but got the call from the Newbery committee at 6:30 this morning and learned about the Odyssey award by watching the press conference.

Last night my husband cooked me and our daughter a wonderful dinner. We ate it in front of a fire in the fireplace, with the sort of wine he cellars for special occasions. My food was served on the CONGRATULATIONS plate that our family pulls out when congratulations are due. And it wasn't for the Schneider, although I'm massively thrilled about that.

It was because my family celebrates journeys instead of destinations.

I don't want to get all mushy here. This day is really important to me, but I've always known that awards are way outside my control. All I can ever do is write as well as I can, and this year, as the buzz increased, it was pretty clear that a lot of people thought my book deserved a seat at the table. So we gave it one at our house, too, toasted the book and the trip, not the award.

My husband is a very talented surgeon. He's awesome about spending time with our family, both by working reasonable hours and by taking lots of vacation, but his days fill up really far in advance and he can't just decide to skip one. Rescheduling patients is reserved for family funerals, the birth of a child--even when he ruptured his Achilles tendon and had to have emergency surgery, the man only missed two days of work.

So you can imagine my surprise last Thursday night, when Bart said, "I'm going to tell you now. I took Monday off work. I'm going to stay and watch the awards with you." He grinned. "If you win we'll cheer, and if you don't we'll say, "Boooooo."

"You took Monday off?" I'm flabbergasted.

"I wanted to be with you."

"Yes, but--when did you do that?" I know he's scheduling surgeries six months in advance.

He smiled even bigger. "Months ago."

Geez, the love I have behind me. Geez, the party I have in front of me. We're over the moon, here--and we were before the announcements began.