The Year of Vivian

Vivian at Christmas

It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to see Vivian grow and change in the first year of her life. Watching her now, it’s remarkable to consider how different she was this time last year. Last year, she could fit and sleep inside a laundry basket. Her hair wasn’t nearly so thick. She couldn’t sit up and communicated only by crying, and yet we were constantly amazed by what Vivian was capable of. Now, she’s toddling, and starting to speak. There is so much intelligence in her eyes today. I can’t imagine what she’ll be like this time next year. She might even be waiting eagerly for Santa, or jumping on my bed to wake me up Christmas morning. I’m looking forward to all of it.

It’s been a good year, full of hard work. As a stay-at-home dad, I have found that Vivian requires lots of love, and the housework always needs doing, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. And I’m pleased that I’ve been able to get some writing done. I’ve kept up my freelance pace with Business Edge, wrote two articles for Spacing and an article and interview for The New Quarterly.

This was also the year we finally saw the release of The Unwritten Girl. Though highly overshadowed by Vivian, it was still a delightful time. I thought the book had a great buzz, and I was fortunate enough to land some school and library readings as a result. Reading to a gymnasium full of grade 7 or 8 students is intimidating, but it is also an incredible rush. There are few things better than earning a living doing what one loves, and while I’ve got a long way to go before I actually earn a living on this, I still feel incredibly lucky. At long last I know what it is I want to be now that I’ve grown up, and the hard work that’s to come doesn’t feel that hard to me.

Doing what one loves was Wendy’s mantra. This year we observed the first anniversary of her death, and the successful fundraising of her memorial scholarship. We’ve missed her terribly on a number of occasions, especially in terms of watching Vivian grow. She would have been a perfect aunt. This year also marked the passing of Erin’s Grandma Pheiffer.

Life continues to surprise me. I had no idea how I was going to cope with raising Vivian; there was no manual, and now that a year has passed, I still have no idea how I managed, though I have managed. I expected Vivian to change everything about who I was and what I did, and she did do that, but I don’t feel different. In some ways, it feels as though Vivian has always been here. Our lives have shuffled around to accommodate the new priority one, but the other important things in our lives have managed to adjust to the new demands. It feels right, and for that I feel very fortunate.

So I am looking forward to 2007, hoping that the path we have started to follow continues to remain open to us. My second book, Fathom Five will be released this April. Erin’s third book, The Mongoose Diaries will be released about the same time. Erin and I also have writing projects; Erin will hopefully finish Plain Kate while I hope to make good progress on The Night Girl and perhaps get The Young City into publishable shape.

We will start looking towards preschool for Vivian, for more writing assignments for myself and Erin, and further progress for Erin’s career at the university. It’s a slightly more jaded, cautious view of the future. With Vivian around, I feel there is more to lose, but we have gained so much and I feel we have a lot to look forward to. Only time will tell.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Favourite Posts for 2006

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