Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Sample Story

I am searching for inspirational stories and anecdotes about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

For those who would like to submit a story but don’t want to write one, I am happy to conduct telephone interviews.

I’m also collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

I have been asked to provide a sample of what a dad might write. Keep in mind you do not need to write a complete short story, just the details will do. I’ll ask questions of you if I need other info to complete the story for the book. Please write in your own style; no need to worry that you aren’t an author. I will “doctor” your story to make sure the book reads consistently, as well as incorporate your story into others of a similar theme. But for the sake of an example, this is what I wrote yesterday:

“I remember attending an awards program one evening at Meagan’s daycare when she was four years old. I can still see her, all of 40 inches tall and wearing a white cap and gown with white sandals, her little finger and toes nails painted pale pink. She stood in line with her friends, rising up on her tiptoes several times in an attempt to find me in the crowd. I jockeyed for position with the other parents who were also trying to get in the right spot for a perfect picture of their child. She spied me, waved, and pointed me out to the girl standing next to her. I grinned, waved back to her and quickly took several photos.

The moment for giving out the awards arrived. The daycare director gave a brief speech about cherishing the memories of these formative years, and then proceeded to offer each child a piece of paper rolled like a diploma. When Meagan’s turn came, she received a certificate for being the most talkative (it was well deserved). Everyone laughed, she blushed, and soon the ceremony was over. Afterward we were served Kool-Aid and Oreos, and I took more photos of Meagan, this time while hamming it up with her friends.

I was known to her friends back then as “Meagan’s dad.” I loved that name because it was such a pure and simple description of who I was. The kids don't know my past or care about my future. They don't know what I did for a living nor frown about how many mistakes I had made by then. I was just Meagan’s dad, the silly guy who made them laugh in the afternoons and who occasionally got down on the floor during nap time before leaving town on a business trip.

One of the things I enjoyed most in those years was the innocence of these children’s young age; judgment, embarrassment, expectation and heartache had not yet entered their lives. In Meagan’s eyes I was who I was standing there at that moment, the guy who was going to let her ride on my shoulders, the man who would let her eat spaghetti with her fingers, the father who would help her get ready for bed, and the daddy who would read a nighttime story to her in a different voice for each character. If I disappointed her back then, she’s forgotten about it; thankfully her memories of childhood bring forth only laughter.

I know I’ve disappointed Meagan many times since then, and I worry all the time that I’ve done some things she now won’t forget. I worry all the time that I’ve had all the days I’ll ever get of my little girl looking at me with proud, adoring eyes. I honestly know that this is not going to be the case, but sometimes after my teenager and I have had an argument or simply just can’t seem to get along, my heart sinks as I try to convince myself I’m not a failure as a parent.

The only thing that seems to soothe me until we’ve made up is to pull a photo out of my wallet, one taken the evening of that awards ceremony long ago. I’ve carried it with me everyday in the last dozen years. The look in her eyes still stirs me. The smile on her face reminds me of a promise I made in the first moment I held her after she was born - to be the best father I could be. I kiss it before returning it to its place and then move on, hoping that in the end I will have given her more good memories that stir laughter than bad ones that bring forth tears.”

I hope this helps. Happy writing; I look forward to hearing from you!

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

1 comment:

Linda said...

You sound like the dream dad for so many girls. We all want to feel this special in his eyes. At my husband's and my stage of life (44) we are facing some regrets--not large, horrible ones, just the thoughtless comment, the flippant response to something, things like that. Preparing the high school graduation video for open house really made us reflect on those things because we could actually see our responses to our children, not just remember them a certain way.