It’s 8:45pm, my daughter is asleep, and I’m staring at my laptop screen wondering if I can muster the courage to type some words into a scene. My current WIP (work in progress for the uninitiated) needs “more”, and I’m sitting here wondering if I will fall asleep before I can make something of a scene that I had a hard first run-through.
I am a father, and, like most of you know, that is NOT a babysitting gig. I’m not a babysitter. I don’t work a shift while mommy is resting. I’m not working off permission slips to handle this fragile package.
She’s my daughter, and I am her dada. And you can think whatever you want about my place in society. But this is the most fulfilled I’ve felt in a decade.
I am also working full-time for a nonprofit, doing video work and team leadership for a church. I am also freelancing as a graphic designer, illustrator, and video editor for whoever asks for it and can help me pay some bills.
I also write. And it all comes exactly in that order. Family, Career, Talent, then writing. And, yes, I listed writing outside of talent. Call it humility. Call it realism. As Popeye would say, “I (y)am what I (y)am,” and what I am is a juggler. And I am juggling all of these responsibilities. And since writing doesn’t pay bills, it is dead last. And that’s why my eyes are drooping after a long day and a long evening doing other things. And perhaps what fills me up right now is not what fulfills my responsibility.
But I do know that ultimately, I feel most enriched when I look at my daughter and see the abundant curiosity she has for the “new”. So we stare into an aquarium together, surveying the bounty of wonderful, sumptuous colors. And I don’t consider myself unlucky, and I don’t quite care about my writing in those moments. Those can be saved for bedtime, thinking about my unwritten meanderings, while my days are spent discovering Thea as a character in a story I have no ability to control myself.
For my wife and my daughter. You are my story. The rest is just for amusement.