I didn’t do much writing today.
I got up, as I always do, at 5am, made myself a bowl of gluten free cereal and a cup of tea and, for the next hour and a half, I did write, a did edit, I did pull apart the first chapter of my WIP, and then put it back together again.
But then, at 6:30, as I do every day, I downed tools and went to the shower (murmuring to myself, as I always do – “Stop. Shower time”. Please tell me you all do this too???).
After my shower, after I was dressed, had put on the dishwasher and the washing machine and emptied the bins, my heart started to beat a little bit faster. I felt a smile creep on to my lips. My belly, as it always does at this exact time every day, began burbling and buzzing with excitement, because …
I could hear her.
My little Tiger baby. I could hear her muttering and chirping and sighing contentedly, chortling at some funny shadow, or her own hands, or pixies and elves (imagined or real).
And then I opened the bedroom door.
And, at that moment, as I do every day, I crossed the threshold from Author World into Tiger World. And yes, sometimes, it is a difficult journey to make – particularly when I’m in a particularly deep and wondrous writing rabbit hole – but it’s never a sad one.
Turning on that bedroom light every morning and seeing her grinning, blinking, joyous little face …
It’s why I still get up at 5am every day. Because that little face makes me want to be the best person I can be, and for me that is being a professional author. I want, one day, for her to read something I’ve written, and be proud. I want her to see my books in her school library and say, with a puffed-up chest, “My mum wrote that.”
I wish I had more time to write. But I never wish I had less time with Tiger. And I am also incredibly lucky that Tiger has a super supportive Daddy Bear who gives me extra writing time by hanging with our girl when I have deadlines.
It’s working well. It means I have less sleep than I might otherwise, and less of a social life, but we’ve found a good balance.
And, yes, today I didn’t write as much as I would have been able to, two years ago.
But you know what else I did, when I wasn’t writing?
I made block towers. I walked in the grey-but-warmish light with my sweetheart, touched tree bark, whispered secrets in her little ear. I was, for a time, Tyron The (hand puppet) Tiger, who loves kissing Tiger’s neck and hiding behind Mummy’s back. I clapped. I blew raspberries. I poked my tongue out. I said “bay bay bay” and “dad dad dad” and, yes, the best sound of all, “mum mum mum”. I baked her date loaf, mashed her pumpkin and carrots and tuna. We had sandwiches together for lunch. We danced to Paddy Casey and Josh Ritter.
I held her while she slept.
And all of that is going in the memory bank. And, yes, all of it inspires me to write. But it also inspires me to live, and live well. Because I want her to. And even though it is she writing the novel of her own little life; even though I’m only an observer, I know she needs me beside her as she makes her story.
I didn’t do much writing today. But I spent a day with a tiny, fiery, rambunctious, exuberant, noisy, gleeful tiger child. And that’s the stuff of the best stories, right there. That’s the stuff of life, and I am so utterly grateful to be living this one, with her.