Friday, June 29, 2007

Book Report

I am searching for inspirational stories 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.

I’m also collecting photos of dads and daughters 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…

Today’s photo was given to me by Pastor Ron from Illinois. It is of him and his 26 year old daughter, Kelli. I enjoy dancing, but I sure hope this particular daddy-daughter dance is well, well down the road for Meagan and me. Ron’s son is also getting married soon. I dread the day the nest begins to empty…

I promised an update today. Here goes:

My editor and I have talked and now have a singular vision for how this book will materialize. I think it is going to be a great product; I’m excited about the direction we are taking. I don’t know why so many authors complain about their editors; I’ve never seen the justification.

I tend to write “fat” in the first draft and then put my book on a diet as I edit viciously in the second draft. Thusly, the draft that was once over 44,000 words is now down to 38,000 words. Please keep those stories coming.

If you are still considering sending your first story, or maybe thinking about sending a second one, please keep this in mind: I am looking for stories that tell an inspirational lesson, one that others can learn from. This kind of story does not include tributes. While I have enjoyed reading tributes, I cannot use it unless it includes an obvious “and the moral of the story is…” component.

Dads are finally sending in stories. Although daughters still lead, it is by a much smaller margin. Go dads!

Some of you have sent your stories by email rather than through the website. That’s okay, but if you choose to use that method, please remember to include your name in the email or document. Otherwise, if your email isn’t your name, I will only know you as “chocoholic835” or “boogerdaddy.”

If you have a common name like “Bob: or “Lisa,” please also tell me your middle name. At the moment I have several different Anns, Heathers, Marys, etc., and am not yet sure how to discriminate them one from another.

Thanks to those of you who have dealt with finding a dozen emails from me, each with a list of questions. I appreciate your answers and the help you have extended to clarify your stories.

I will be taking the interior photographs for this book. If you live near Atlanta and would like to pose for a daddy-daughter photo, please contact me. I’ll travel to you and we’ll work together to get the perfect picture of your relationship.

While I still encourage you to send your own photos for inclusion on this blog, please understand that I cannot use your photos in the book itself. It is a copyright issue that just is.

Finally, I realized my chair was not set to its optimum ergo-dynamic height and tilt. I can now write 6 hours a day without thinking I have an alien bursting from between my shoulder blades.

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

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Boa and a Chihuahua

Here's a photo I took earlier this summer at a prom event. Pretty, isn't she. I'm sure her dad doesn't sleep well; probably can't get a wink of rest until she comes home.

I'm posting a book update tomorrow, along with a sweet daddy-daughter dance from a wedding. Please tune in!

Today's story is about hobbies:

I have a few hobbies: photography, cooking, collecting books and writing. The girls either tease me mercilessly or glare furiously when having to deal with me when I’m in one of my hobby modes. If they see me holding a camera they might run to their rooms or break out in their best Paris Hilton parody poses. They roll their eyes if I should suggest stopping by the kitchen gadget store and have been know to throw grapes at me while I stand in the produce section trying to select the perfect stalk of lemongrass or handful of morel mushrooms.

It drives them both crazy when I detain them while I browse in bookstores or get in their way of the television as I rearrange the bookshelves to make room for my latest book; the one I might not have the chance to read for years. As an author of books, a blog, the occasional magazine article and now and then a poem for Jill, I take lots of notes about what I see and hear. To that end, I carry a small pocket-sized spiral notebook with me everywhere I go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard them groan, “Here he goes again,” as I’ve reached for that notebook in the middle of dinner, at church or even while driving down the road. You just can’t control when genius strikes.

One day I opened my notebook only to find Linley’s handwriting. Thinking she had written me a note, I smiled. Then I read it. “Hi, I’m Gregory Eugene Lang. I can be cool sometimes but mostly I’m a boring guy. I need 2 add some excitement n2 my life!”

They are convinced I have too many hobbies. I received a letter from a daughter that decidedly tells me otherwise:

“My father's hobby is having hobbies. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. In fact, I think I would say that my father's hobby has mutated in the last few years into buying things on e-bay for his hobbies.

Lest you think I'm criticizing, I want to say that all of this was quite fun for us as children. Not everyone gets to use beaver skins to cover their playhouse on rainy days. I remember many happy times with Dad, learning about black powder rifles, fishing, camping, doing beadwork, and playing with the lumber he bought for projects that never materialized. He was a boy scout as a youth, and those man-of-the-woods hobbies have always interested him. When he became a preacher he also worked with our churches' boy's program, which involved many camp-outs and Frontier-man type events. When I was little we shot bow and arrows, threw tomahawks and knives, and even helped him tan hides; all in our backyard. Yes, the neighbors thought we were loony. We had one neighbor who rushed his kids inside when we started throwing tomahawks. We were dangerous people, apparently. When Dad was in his archery phase, the house was littered with bowstrings, shooting gloves, extra strings, whatever. He even made his own arrows once, which means feathers, sticks, metal for arrowheads, and a fletching kit. He also made his own outfit for the Buck skinner stuff he did, so we had bead looms, beads, leather, and a tackle-box full of leather-working tools.

There was also all the black powder rifle paraphernalia. I knew how to load and shoot a black powder rifle before I had the slightest clue what to do with a basketball. Dad even had a gunpowder bag made of deer skin and a real powder horn. I thought all of this was normal as a child. As some might say about me, it explains a lot.And of course there was fishing. My father had over a dozen fishing poles and tackle boxes full of spinners, bait, flies, and lures. He's really into fly-fishing right now, so I'm surprised he doesn't have tie flying kits out on the table. He probably does. It's not that he goes out to buy all these things either. It's just that when something is on clearance, he gets it.There's also back-packing and camping, and all the gear that would go with that. Whenever I or my friends want to go camping, we know who to ask for a stove, lantern, water purifier, or a survival kit. This stuff fills a set of shelves in the basement.When Dad finds a new food he likes, he does it right. Take Turkish coffee for instance. My mother now has an entire shelf in her kitchen full of tiny Turkish coffee makers, little cups and all the other things required for this tiny, yet apparently very complicated, drink.

Let’s talk about rice. There's a bamboo rice steamer up in the cabinet, an automatic rice cooker and the coolest little chopstick sets with special rests and dipping bowls.Have I mentioned the books? Oh my, the books. My father cannot pass up a library sale, and his books reflect his various interests. When we were teenagers and had begun to realize how unique my father was, we would read through the titles on the shelves and stand in awe at the variety. His office is full of all sorts of reference books and such, and he shops for antique books on e-bay.I haven't listed all of Dad's interests. Not by a long shot. There are houseboat plans, lighthouses, airplanes, and the list could go on and on.It’s only fair to add, though, that Dad has passed his hobby jumping and mini-obsessions on to me. When I'm interested in something, I head to a bookstore and get books about it; I go to the library and research it; I go to a store and buy the gear. I get those looks from my husband, the kind Mom gave Dad. Oh well; everybody's got to have a hobby.”

I’ve given both girls cameras which they carry with them everywhere they go. If the truth be told, they probably take more photographs than I do, albeit usually of themselves or each other posing like Paris. They might have gotten the photography hobby from me, but I swear they’ve never seen me with a boa and a Chihuahua.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

You gonna wear that?

This is Petter, Lucy and Sadie, our friends and neighbors. I asked Peter what it was like living with three girls (including his wife) and he said every day he is asked, "Are you going to wear that?" by each of them, one after the other. I was quite sympathetic.
I’ve been asked more than once what it’s like living in a house full of girls; even the dog is a female. Let me give you a taste of what I go through:

“How does deja-vu work?” Meagan asked.
“It’s a neurological glitch, when the right and left hemispheres are not synchronized when encoding a memory,” I explained.
“What?” Linley asked as Meagan rolled her eyes at me.
“Memories are stored on both sides of your brain. Do you know what the part of the brain that connects the hemispheres is called?”
“Juicy stuff!” Meagan said.
The badulla,” Jill interjected.
I rolled my eyes. “No, it’s the corpus callosum. It connects the hemispheres and coordinates the transfer of….”
“I prefer to think it’s magical,” Jill said.
“Yes, it’s magical!” Linley shrieked.
“You’re such a freak, Dad,” Meagan said, shaking her head.

I took the family to Statesboro, Georgia one weekend to visit the campus of Georgia Southern University, one of the candidate colleges on Meagan’s list. I really don’t want her to be four hours away from home but wasn’t sure how to say that without being the overbearing dad she sometimes accuses me of. As I was pondering a mini-speech, she was looking out the window as we drove though the sleepy little southern town that offered little to a metropolitan kind of girl.

“Where in the world would I get my nails done,” she asked. I knew then I no longer needed to worry.

Linley had a minor medical emergency that required a visit to the ER. During the check-in process she was asked if she had any allergies. She does, to horse and cat hair. They actually put that information on a wrist band and made her wear it. We marched down the hall reassured they would not accidentally bring a horse into the room.

As we were led into the only available room we discovered it was a psychiatric emergency holding room, one with almost nothing on the walls, restraints on the bed, a locking door that could not be opened from inside the room, and a surveillance camera. As she sat on the bed and looked out into the ER she asked me why everyone stared at her.

It was field day at school that day and the kids are encouraged to wear weird outfits; today she looked like a homeless Pippi Longstockings – make-up, hair, torn stockings and all. I reached down and pulled the sheets up over her legs, but the pigtails, uber-rosy checks and fake freckles still gave away the severity of her current manic episode.

Soon we learned she needed to have blood drawn. Linley hates needles, so I tried to distract her by restraining myself to the bed. Just then the fire alarm went off – no not really but I’m an author with my eyes open for inspiration for my next great scene and for a moment I imagined myself running down the hallway with a bed attached to my leg, chasing after Pippi Longstockings, both of us followed closely by a Himalayan cat riding a horse.

But Jill did turn the corner just then and asked me what in the heck I was doing. For some reason she didn’t accept my answer, “Nothing.”

Meagan called me one morning just before school was to begin to tell me she had forgotten to take her medicine. I reassured her it was noting to worry about, but to no avail; she was nearly frantic. Finally she whimpered, “I don’t want to die.”
“No, honey, I don’t want you to, either,” I said, “but they are just vitamins.

Linley damaged her cell phone so badly it no longer worked, so we replaced it. She’s a bit forgetful and promptly lost it within a week. She searched for it for days but could not find it. Jill and I decided not to replace it a second time, thinking a lesson needed to be taught. Last night I dropped myself onto the couch for a bit of relaxation watching television. I landed between the cushions, my butt pushing them apart somewhat. A shooting pain went through my spine. Guess what I found.

On another day Meagan was pestering me to get her oil changed even though she has hardly driven her car 1500 miles since the last change. “The sticker says to change it by 6/6/06,” she explained.

“That’s just a marketing ploy,” I said, “ignore it.”
“I can’t ignore,” she pushed back; “it’s the mark of the beast.”

We had a bit of a lecture around the dinner table one night about which hip-hop songs Jill and I wanted the girls to erase from their iPODs. Of course they protested loudly and Linley kept insisting I used to listen to suggestive and corrupt songs when I was a teenager. I challenged her to give me an example.
“Wasting Away in Margaritaville,” she said without a moment of hesitation.

Meagan’s computer died and I had a new one made for her specific needs. As I told her of its disk space and RAM, processing speed, bundled software and the automated backup and recovery feature, she had only one question for me: “Is it pretty?”

I’m serious about eating right and I hate sugar for breakfast. One morning as I was taking Linley, who has been quite sick with a cold, to school, she asked me to stop at a fast-food joint for breakfast. I suggested she get an egg biscuit but she wanted two cinnamon buns instead. Wanting to cheer her up, I agreed. As she gobbled them down she managed to tell me, “When I am a parent, I won’t dare let my kids eat like this.”

One week when Meagan was with her mom I called her several time only to get her voicemail. She didn’t return my calls. Wanting badly to talk with her I decided to send a text message that I thought would surely get her attention. I hit send and in less than five minutes she was on the line with me. My message? “What size shoes do you wear?”

Girls; gotta love 'em.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gopher Guts

Today's photo is from my book, Thank You, Dad. This Dad is giving his little girls driving lessons at an early age!

Here's a little story I completed recently, one that I hope will ring familiar to the ears of daughters who have fun but mischevious memories of dad:

I used to take Meagan to work with me on occasion when she wasn’t in school. I’ve had a number of jobs in the healthcare industry, each offering a significant change of scenery for both us. One job was at a rehabilitation facility where she entertained patients in the physical therapy gym with her weird dance moves when she wasn’t riding the hallways in the laps of people who used motorized wheelchairs. In another she was my summer travel partner, boarding airplanes like a seasoned pro, jumping on the hotel beds and somehow always managing to convince me we needed to order breakfast from room service.

Meagan carried her own briefcase with her when we went to work, one filled with crayons, stickers, rubber stamps and ink pads, Post-it Notes and more messy stuff. You could always tell where she’d been; she left tracks everywhere.

I know of other young daughters who would accompany their dads to work. They could sit all day by daddy’s office phone trying to leave the perfect voicemail message, or type memos for him, the kind that would bring a smile to the face of whomever it was eventually delivered to. Going to work with dad was a time to draw pictures with magic markers on white boards instead of with crayons on plain white paper, perhaps even attend a meeting, and a chance to drink a little bit of coffee. I know one woman who kept a secret candy stash in her dad’s desk, a stash her mom didn’t know about.

This woman with the secret candy stash rode the train with her father to get to his place of work. To pass the time waiting for the train to arrive they entertained themselves by singing silly songs they made up on the spot. One went something like this: “Oh what a feeling, to be sun burnt and start peeling,” sung to the tune of Lionel Richie’s song, “Dancing on the Ceiling.”

They also played the “Name Game.”

The name game was one where you took a name and restated it as many times as you could in random rhyming sing-song words, as in “Stefanee, Stefanee, bo befanee, banana danna fo fefanee, me my oh mefanee, yo Stefanee.”

Apparently one morning her dad wanted to play the Name Game and told her to use the name “Chuck.”

She promptly began singing. “Chuck, Chuck bo buck, banana danna fo…” You get the picture.

Realizing what she had said, she started to cry. She looked over at her dad and found him rocking in his seat, laughing so hard he was shaking. When he could talk again he assured her it was okay that she had said that word, and he then encouraged her sing it one more time, making sure she promised not to tell her mom.

She told me she understood at that moment that it was okay to mess up and to make mistakes; it was okay to laugh at yourself and your silly screw ups. Most importantly, she learned her dad wouldn’t punish her for something she didn’t mean to do.

This story reminded me of a game Meagan and I used to play on the way to work or anytime we were stuck sitting in the car. We called it the “Bucket Game.” The idea was to try to gross each other out by calling one another the vilest description of whatever putrid and disgusting matter we could think of, in a bucket. As in “You’re a bucket of greasy, grimy, rotten gopher guts crawling with maggots and stinking like pig poop on a hot summer day.” We could go on and on like this for miles; we meant it in the most affectionate way.

I had a bad habit at the time of using a few choice words, usually describing body parts in unflattering ways, to share my thoughts about other people’s driving skills during rush hour traffic. It did not occur to me, although it should have, that my young and impressionable passenger was listening carefully and adding these words to her Bucket Game vocabulary.

One day while attending a meeting with my employees, I looked over at Meagan who was playing with the magnets on the staff scheduling board. “Stop that, you little booger,” I said.

Without missing a beat she looked at me and said, “If I’m a booger, you’re a bucket of….” I was unable to restore order in the meeting after that.

I’m not sure if Meagan learned anything from this event, and of course she didn’t get in trouble for it because like my friend, she didn’t know any better. I, on the other hand, learned a lot - to be careful with what words I spoke in front of my child. After all, if I could say it, why shouldn’t she?

A woman told me once of how her dad and his twin brother learned to play cribbage while serving in the Army during the Second World War. The brothers in turn taught their children how to play the Army way, which meant cussing at crucial moments during the game.

This father and daughter would settle down to play cribbage after dinner, knowing full well the mom in the house would not approve of the course language coming from her daughter’s mouth. It was a bonding experience between her and her dad, one she enjoyed immensely.

Years after her dad died her mother asked if there was anything she wanted to take as a remembrance of her father. She chose his cribbage board.

Later she herself had children and when he was old enough, taught her son to play cribbage. During one lesson she gave him a piece of advice she had learned at her daddy’s knee. As her son debating what to discard, she told him what her dad had told her and that was, “Never give the other bastard anything.”

Her son now uses that phrase in his daily conversations, much to the delight of his mother.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ella Shoe


Great, smile, huh? This is Trinity, a little girl who used to live next door.

The following story was sent to me by a Daddy's Girl:

“It was a winter in 1975. We were probably riding in the Oldsmobile that, unbeknownst to me, dad will end up driving for the next twenty years. We’re on our way to visit a close friend of my dad’s, Miss Ella Shoe. Although I’ve never met her, I know she has a huge house; she is always inviting people to come over for a visit. My dad and I have taken her up on numerous invitations; even though I was barely five years old, the trip to Ella’s is a familiar event for me.

After a stop at a coffee shop for beignets and cafĂ© au lait, Daddy and I head over to Miss Shoe’s house herself. It was the coolest house I’d ever seen in my short life. It was round and had curved concrete ramps that lead to the many doors to her house. Daddy holds my hand as we walk up the ramp, hand our tickets to her doorman, and enter the house.

The place smelled like popcorn, roasted peanuts, and chewed-up bubble-gum. Everyone is dressed in purple and gold, and I see other little girls my age dressed like cheerleaders, complete with purple-and-gold pom-poms. Even Daddy is wearing a gold jacket.

I feel a little overwhelmed by all of the people but safe with my Daddy, who, I imagined then, was taller than everyone else. He buys a program, we enter Portal M to find our seats — Section M19, Row L — and then the real fun begins.

Perhaps I’m too easily amused, but I was fascinated by the bright colors, the constant activity, the noise and the buoyant spirit of Ella Shoe’s house. It was like a circus, complete with a friendly two-legged tiger that once shook Daddy’s hand.

The energy of the place always multiplied when the Shoe children burst out onto the court far below. I never thought it strange that Ella’s children were of several races; the only colors I saw were the purple, gold, and white of the uniforms. Ella’s kids wear those colors and they were who we cheered for.

After the game (we always stayed until the end), I would be tired, Daddy would pick me up and carry me back outside. I never knew if we won or lost; I really didn’t watch the game. Daddy may have watched it, but I looked through borrowed binoculars for my aunt and uncle. Daddy didn’t care that I wasn’t that interested in the game back then, he was just glad I always wanted to go with him to see a game at LSU.”

Friday, June 22, 2007

This is a very rough draft; enjoy


Today's photo is a great friend of mine, Jenifer and her dad taken in her home last December. It appears in my new book, Thank You, Dad.

I've decided to post a complete, although still a rough draft, chapter so you can get an idea about how I'm using your stories. Writing a book is a very organic process, so changes to this specific chapter are certain, and the design of the book itself might change as well. In the end, we all want the best book, whatever that might look like in September. Enjoy:

Superman

A daughter once told me, “I believe every girl has at least one time in her life when she believes her daddy is Superman, no matter how weird he might actually be. I once did. In time I realized my father was a flawed man. I could go on and on about his shortcomings, yet why would I want to? I couldn’t love him any more even if he were perfect.

Daddy had a stroke in December of 2004. From then on, I took on the role of his protector. The tough love that he had demonstrated while I was growing up was something he was going have to live through himself. No more late nights out, no more unhealthy eating habits and no more flaring tempers. I thought to myself, even Superman once had someone taking care of him.”

Similarly, I believe all dads hold on to those memories of when his little girl thought he was a hero who could carry the world on his shoulders and do anything but fly.

Early one spring a few years ago I found myself taking family photographs on a farm in Ohio. A young teen daughter loved riding on her dad’s back even though she was almost too big for him to carry easily. Watching the dad try to hold her still for the photo reminded me of Meagan when she was young and loved to cling to me.

In the beginning I would kneel to the floor and hold her sitting in the palm of my hand, balancing her as she kicked and squealed above a blanket just in case I dropped her. A few pounds later she sat on my foot, wrapped her arms around my leg, and ride along as I walked through the house. When she became too heavy for that she graduated to my shoulders, and then eventually my back.

I remember one afternoon when she was four I carried her on my back as I climbed up the steep incline of Stone Mountain, just over a one-mile trek. Back then I was glad she was once more getting too big for this back ride up the mountain to become a habit. Now, a dozen years later, I wish I could still do it.

Actually, I sort of did repeat this feat a few months ago. I was in a pool with Meagan and Linley when both dared me to pick them up on my shoulders. After squatting down underwater for so long my eyes budged for need to breath, the girls finally got positioned, one on each shoulder. My feet planted firmly on the pool tiles and while holding them by the ankles, I rose up, lifting them into the air. It lasted only a moment, just long enough for Jill to get a photo of the girls ripping my hair out as they fell back into the water. But I did it.

There are many ways in which a dad can be a hero to his daughter. Some involve strength of muscle, others, strength of character. Some dads are heroes because of a single act of selflessness he may have committed, others, because he has always been there doing for her what his daughter needed, without waiting to be asked to lend help. It doesn’t matter, really, how a daughter determines when her dad is a hero. He is, after all, her hero.

One morning while on a weekend getaway at an inn, Jill and I were having breakfast with another couple. As we chatted it eventually came out that I was working on this book. I asked the father if he had a close relationship with his daughter, and he politely replied that he did, but he didn’t elaborate.

His wife, eager to give him more credit than he gave himself, told me of a phone call about his daughter they received late one evening. The young woman was in trouble and needed immediate help. Dad jumped into the car and drove fourteen hours to reach his daughter, to rescue her.

The dad gave his wife that look that implied he didn’t want the attention, so she concluded her story abruptly, ending it with, “They are very close; he’s her hero.”

While visiting Montana's Glacier National Park on August, 2005, Johan Otter survived a vicious life-and-death battle with a bear. He stepped between an angry grizzly and his daughter as they crossed paths with the bear on a remote trail. He and his daughter are doing well and he, most certainly, is her hero.

Not every dad gets the chance to be Superman in the way Johan Otter did, but sooner or later every dad gets the chance to be his daughter’s hero. Even dads who so often seem nonchalant about everything get animated when necessary and come to the rescue in impressive ways:

“It was tough for us at first because we had only one car in Northwest Indiana where public transportation is virtually non-existent. We had no phones of any kind, and no cable, antennae or satellite for our television. Dad taped my favorite shows each week and sent them to me. He sent me tapes of the family, even movies. His care packages included pre-paid calling cards and my favorite goodies. I would not have made it my first year on my own if not for my dad.”

“When I was in elementary school, I slipped on some ice one morning when getting off the school bus and broke my wrist. I was sent to the school nurse and told to wait until someone could come to take me to the hospital. The nurse called my parents, who were both blind and could not drive. My dad promptly walked all the way to the school just to be with me while my mom called around to find a neighbor who could drive me to the hospital. When my dad walked through the door of the nurse’s office, I burst into tears. He sat down with me and comforted me until our ride showed up.”

“When I was seventeen, I had major jaw surgery at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. I spent nearly two weeks in the hospital with my mouth wired shut. I was sleeping most of the time, but whenever I woke up, my daddy was there sitting in the chair next to my bed. At my age then most girls like to think they are completely independent and afraid of nothing. I was very afraid, even though I never admitted it to anyone. Having him there, even if it was for the a few minutes before I fell sleep again, meant the world to me.”

I know of another dad who took time off from work to drive his daughter to a job interview. It was over a six-hundred-mile roundtrip route and he didn’t want her to make the trip alone. I would do that for my seventeen-year-old, maybe even my twenty-year-old daughter when she reaches that age. But I have my doubts that a twenty-eight-year-old Meagan would allow me to take the wheel for her. This dad’s daughter admitted to being a bit annoyed by her dad’s insistence that he drive, but in the next breath she said that's the way he is and she dearly loves him for it.

With age comes perspective. Sometimes the heroic things dads do don’t seem so significant at the time, but years later, when wiser daughters look back, they see that their dad did indeed wear a red cape:

“My father grew up poor and wanted better for his children. Every year of my life that I lived at home, my father worked six days a week so we could afford to take vacations, vacations he often missed because he had to go to work to earn enough money to give us a college education. If we bought him birthday presents, he would return them and give us the money back so we could spend it on ourselves. I missed him growing up and I know he missed us, but he was committed to giving us a life better than the one he had had.”

“I am a 2nd grade teacher but would not be if not for the sacrifices my dad made so that I could go to college. I wanted to attend a certain private college that was quite expensive, but had the best education program in the state. Dad said he would make things work out if that was where I really wanted to go to school. I found out later he lived off of Ramen noodles and Kool-Aid so that he could afford to pay the tuition.”

As I read through the tributes women have written about their dads, I always come upon one or two that make me wish I had done something similar for Meagan or Linley. For example, there is the dad who stopped at the mail box each day after work and pulled out letters to his daughter, all sent to her from the animals in the local zoo. And then there is the dad who, as soon as he and his daughters got in the pool, would proceed to do handstands underwater and make funny gestures in the air with his feet.

I think the next time the girls and I are in a pool together, I’m going to take a deferment on the strength demonstrations and just entertain them with handstands. It should keep me out of the chiropractor’s office.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hung the Moon

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.

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…

A great quote from Jodi Picoult:

“Without [failure], you’d never know how delicious success tastes.”

Today’s photo comes from a new friend of mine. She sent it along to me in the following email:

“I just recently purchased a copy of your book, Why A Daughter Needs A Dad. I actually bought it for a friend of mine for Father's Day, but I, being a lover of books, had to flip through it before giving it to him. It is simply fabulous and so very true.

I am my daddy's doll baby, and have been since birth. I am the only girl out of three children, and my brothers have treated me as such! Even at the age of 34 years old, I am still able to crawl up in my dad's lap and find peace and comfort. He is my protector, my advisor, my mechanic (smile)...everything!

The gentleman who I bought the book for has a daughter, and he is such a great dad. I share with him all the time that he sets the standard for her. He is her first "boyfriend!" Daddies can make or break a little girl.

It is true; I needed my dad and cannot imagine my life without him. He is a minister and I have followed in his footsteps. The relationship that we have is unbelievable. Thank you for writing such a true book. Daddies often get a bad "rep". Thank you for letting the world know that little girls do NEED their dads.”

Is he standing under a full moon? I’m sure he placed it there!

I’ve been asked what are the six questions I mentioned in the post yesterday. They are:

1. How are you doing in school?
2. Do you have a job?
3. What do you want to do after graduating college?
4. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?
5. Do you use drugs and/or drink?
6. Are you sexually active?

I wrote over 3,000 words yesterday, my eyes are very tired. Please allow me to take a day off today; I’ll offer more tomorrow.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Correctional Instruments

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.

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…

Today’s photo is of my friend Phil Collins (really) and his daughters, taken in the old playhouse he had installed in their backyard. Like me, he’s the only male in the house and we share many of the same life stressors! And the joys and rewards, too, I should say.

Here’s a short excerpt from a chapter I wrote yesterday about daughters and dating:

“As you might guess, I’ve already ruled out eight out of ten boys having a future as my son-in-law by the third question. The remaining few are sweating bullets by then, and if anyone makes it to question number six, everyone in my house knows to stand clear of the door should I not like or be convinced of the answer I receive. Honestly, I’m always surprised when other dads are surprised I ask that question.

He (Ray DeStefano) then told me of a large wooden spoon that hangs on the wall in his daughter’s bedroom.

Of an Italian heritage, he told me his grandmother, and later, his mother, used a large wooden spoon for stirring their carefully prepared sauces that simmered in a large pot on the stove. When his conduct merited it, the spoon also conveniently served a secondary purpose as a 'correctional instrument.'

Years later after his daughter was born, he happened into an old kitchenware store and spied on a shelf, a dusty wooden spoon similar to the one that had effectively kept him in line as a young boy. He bought it, cleaned it up and hung it on the wall. When his daughter inquired why, he explained, 'When you start dating, I’m going to have a chat with every boy that comes into this house. If I don’t like his answer to any of my questions, I’m going to whack him with that spoon.'”

I wonder if Phil has such a spoon, too.

I crossed the 36,000 word milestone yesterday, and thought I’d give you a little insight into the news, problems, habits, and obsessions I’ve developed along the way:

1. I’ve increased my coffee consumption by two cups a day.
2. Sitting six hours at a time before the keyboard has made my butt flatten.
3. At the end of the day, I have a cramp between my shoulder blades; I’m an awkward typist.
4. I edit myself in my dreams.
5. I’m so worried about a computer crash, even though I have data recovery software installed, I make a backup copy of the book each evening and store it in a secure place.
6. The girls censor me to make sure I leave out details they have deemed to be life-threatening in their embarrassment potential.
7. Jill is angry that I refuse to include a chapter in the book about Princess.
8. I’ve lost five pounds this week, not because typing is an exercise but because I get so focused I forget to eat lunch.
9. My agent is happy with the sample I sent out on Monday; no word yet from my editor.
10. When I get stuck and can’t get another word out, I just hang out with the kids. They are, after all, my source material.

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Quotables


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.

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…

Today’s photos: The one with the snake is my family, taken on the pier on Miami while we were on vacation two weeks ago. As you can tell, Linley is a bit timid around snakes. The second was sent to me by a young woman in Malaysia; that’s her there with her dad. I think it a bonus how I’m receiving stories from around the world for Daddy’s Little Girl. Yes, the loving father-daughter relationship is an international phenomenon.

I posed this question to my readers a few weeks ago: What do you consider to be the most important life lesson your dad taught you? One daughter answered:

“My dad has taught me so many life lessons, however one that most important to me, that no matter what cards you are dealt in life you can overcome them and do something with yourself. If you are a single parent you can still go to school to make something of yourself to better your family. Your dreams and goals don’t have to stop the minute you become a parent, you just have to work much harder to achieve them, and it’s not easy.

My dad is a perfect example of what I mean. He raised my sisters for quite a number of years before meeting and marrying my mom, however, during that time he worked really hard sometimes holding several jobs just to support his two girls. They went through many trials together and it’s made him a better dad. No matter how hard he worked, they always knew how much they were loved by their father. They didn’t have name brand clothing or many things that they wanted, but he provided food on the table, a roof over their heads, and more importantly they were loved without a doubt.”

I’ve collected quotes from much of the correspondence I’ve received; here’s a few that make me laugh and smile:

“I am his almost 30-something year old daughter and I bet he would still let me sit on his knee and cry in his arms.”

“He snuck a hu-u-uge friggin’ cupcake into my room on the one night ever that Mom sent to bed without dinner.”

“At times you’d love to strangle him, but then it’s difficult when you realize just how soft and loving his soul really is.”

“There are so many questions I have and I always say to myself, dang, my dad would know that.”

“My daddy is a cool dude. He surfed the net on his phone long before I did.”

“My dad’s birthday is on the 19th. My birthday is on the 19th. I like the number 19.”

“He makes sure my eyeballs don’t turn square from watching too much television.”


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


Monday, June 18, 2007

Fathers and Football

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.

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…

Today’s photo was taken for my book about adoption, Why I Chose You. I love the expression on that little angel’s face.

I’m sending my first sample chapters to my editor today, hoping for a green light to continue writing Daddy’s Little Girl in the current style and voice I’m using. I’ve really enjoyed weaving your stories with mine; I’ve found there is a lot of a similarity between dads and the things we do and worry about.

So yesterday was Father’s Day. I hope all Daddy’s Girls spent time with dad or did something special in his honor. I called my dad, Jill and I had breakfast with her dad, and Meagan and I spent the afternoon together in an activity that once occupied a lot of our time. She loved painting pottery; I have dozens of dishes she decorated back when $20 would keep her busy for 4 hours. We are working on a matching pair of coffee mugs; she will carry hers to college and think of me as she downs the caffeine during exams. I’ll post a photo once we’ve completed them and they have been fired.

My neighbor told me a sweet story of her husband and four-year-old daughter, Lily. It seems that when she first became aware Daddy left the house each morning to go to work and would then be out of sight for nine hours, she became quite distressed if she did not wave good-bye to him. Waking Lily in time to stand in her window to wave goodbye to dad as he pulled out of the garage was added to mom’s morning routine. She did it for two years, as long as it took for Lily to believe her dad was indeed coming home at the end of each day.

Jill and I knew yesterday would be bittersweet for another neighbor, our dear friend Laura. It would be the first Father’s Day she would spend without her dad, who she lost last fall. We invited her to come over and sit on the front porch for a bit of wine and cheese. She showed up wearing one of her father’s favorite shirts. We had one for you, Gib. We miss you old friend.

I found this mention of my second book in the sports section of the USA Today yesterday:

“Sunday will be special for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chris Chambers and rookie quarterback John Beck, too. Chambers' son was born March 31, while Beck and his wife had their first child on April 8.

Becoming a father has made Chambers more focused.

‘It's just changed my perspective on life a lot,’ he said. ‘It's going to be good in the long run.’
Some players may have muscle, car or even girlie magazines like "Maxim" mixed in with family photos in their lockers. Chambers has a book — ‘Why a Son Needs a Dad.’”

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

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tooth Fairy

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, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

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…

Today’s photo is one I took of a couple of kids in our neighborhood. They’ve been pestering me about when I was going to post it. Well here it is darlin’s.

Here’s a short story I wrote yesterday for Daddy’s Little Girl. I’m now up to 34,000 words (184 pages) in my first draft, so many thanks to all of you who have sent me stories. I’m sending a sample to my editor next week to make sure she likes what I’m doing; cross your fingers for me please!

“A father wrote to tell me of when his young daughter had come home from ballet class and began bounding about with excitement. It seems a bottom front tooth that had been wiggly for the past few weeks had finally flopped forward and was now barely hanging on.

After much prompting to halt her hopping and squirming, he tried to pull it the rest of the way out but his fingers were too big to grasp just the one tooth. Mom reached in and quickly plucked it out, relieving the ballerina from what she had by then become convinced was somehow going to be the most excruciating experience of her life.

Mommy got teary-eyed and dad admitted he felt a twitch in his eyes, but it didn't last more than a moment. No melancholy could have withstood the joy of watching his daughter dancing and singing about the brand new gap in her smile. She ran from mirror to mirror to study the dark red hole in her gum from every possible angle.

He told me of how he had helped his daughter rinse her mouth out with warm salt water, just as his dad had him do when he lost his first tooth. He took a few seconds of video to commemorate the occasion and then tucked her into bed. A few hours later, the Tooth Fairy made a visit, slipped a five dollar bill under the little girl's pillow, and kissed her gently on the forehead.

He then told me of how later that evening he had to reassure his wife that nothing fundamentally had changed in the world, while all the while wrestling with his own mix of joy and fear after witnessing this sign that to him meant his little girl was growing up.

I remember well such signs.

Years ago when Meagan was still in lower school and I was not yet remarried, she would sleep with me during our visitation weeks each month. Many mornings I woke up with a little foot in my mouth or the tail of some stuffed animal uncomfortably close to my nose (placed there intentionally, I still think), while other mornings I found a little hand with chipped nail polish covered fingertips draped over my chest. I loved it. Puberty struck and she called an end to our sleeping habit. I hated it.

But not as much as the sign I encountered one day a year later while doing laundry. As I reached into the washer to pull out the clothes she had started but then left behind unfinished, I saw what I thought was the leg of a stuffed animal, a leopard in fact, peeking out from the knot of clothes that was twisted around the agitator. As I grabbed it to pull it out, it occurred to me that she didn’t have a stuffed leopard.

That was when I realized I was holding a thong, a piece of fabric not even big enough to blow my nose in. I nearly passed out. Meagan walked in, saw what I held in my hand and reached out and grabbed it. “Don’t say a word,” she warned, and shooed me away from the laundry room.

Some days I long for the return of the Tooth Fairy.”

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

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sports Fans

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.

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 took today’s photo of my neighbor with her sister and father for the Thank You, Dad book. As I looked at it yesterday I was inspired to write about daughters, dads and sports. Here is a glimpse of what I wrote for Daddy's Little Girl:

“A couple of my neighbors are fanatical Alabama football fans. Every weekend during the fall they are either on the road attending a game or have a few equally enthusiastic fans yelling along with them at the TV in their living room. On one such weekend my wife and I were invited over to meet a few visiting relatives. As I entered the living room I saw my neighbor, her sister and her dad huddled together on the sofa, pom-poms in hands, eyes glued to the screen.

I have to admit, I am not much of a college sports fan. I have nothing against sports but it escapes me why people will spend so much time and money watching a few bulked up young men who probably don’t know each other, and who I presume have no bones to pick with one another or revenge to seek, smash into one another time and time again, while occasionally finding reason to give one another a little pat on the fanny.

My friend suggested I not reveal this opinion of mine to her father, for if he knew, he might smash into me when I least expected it.”

Sometimes I get requests for advice. I received this email recently (identifiers deleted):

“I can barely remember any good times with my dad like the ones you write about. For some reason, I cling so hard to the bad times we experienced. How am I supposed to go about making things better with him? I wish he knew that I love him and have forgiven him. Any suggestions?”

I wrote back:

“Just hold his hand and tell him. I can't image a dad would turn away when his little girl is looking him in the eyes to say what you have to say. It takes courage to take the first step toward healing a relationship, but once you have taken that step, everything else will fall into place. Be brave; tell him how you feel.”

I hope that was the best advice to be given. What do you think?

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Daddy, the Beholder



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, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

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…

Today’s photo is of a long-time friend of our youngest, Linley. Her name is Jackie and she let me photograph her during a visit to our home. I think it is an obvious photo choice today, and I think you’ll agree. Read on…

I love this story so I thought I’d share it. It is a great example of what I’m looking for. If you have a similar memory, please write it down and share it with me.

“One day when I was about 4 years old, my mom looked at me and saw that my left eye turned inward. She marched me into an optometrist and a couple of hours later I had my first pair of glasses.

My glasses were neither sleek nor stylish; they were about as thick as coke bottles, and bifocals to boot. All the way home my mom tried to get me to think positively about the new addition to my face. I wanted to be positive, but I had a sense of dread about what the other kids would say about me wearing these massive pieces of glass on my face.

For as long as I live I will remember what happened that evening. My dad came home from work and I was worried about what he might say. I stood in the kitchen while he sat down and took a long look at me. Then, with the utmost authority, he said I was beautiful. "Go to the mirror and see for yourself,” he said, “you're a movie star."

I remember walking into the bathroom and gazing at myself in the mirror. My father's words sank deep into my heart and I remembering thinking happily to myself, "I do look like a movie star." My feelings of self-doubt and insecurity were swept away. At that moment, I was ready to deal with anything that anybody had to say about me. My dad thought I was beautiful and that was enough for me.

Looking back at pictures I can say unequivocally that I did not look like a movie star, but that isn't what matters. What matters is knowing that to my dad I was a movie star. I was important, worthwhile and beautiful, even with my new glasses. My father's words meant more to me at that moment than anything anyone else could have said.

I held his words in my heart and it got me through those tough teenage years when girls wonder if they're pretty, talented and struggle at times with self-esteem. A father's words do indeed have such a lasting impact on daughters.”

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

An Ocean-wide, a Moment Away

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.

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…

Today’s photo is of the Bradley dad and daughters; it appears in Thank You, Dad. Greg Bradley was a good sport; he let his girls cover him in leaves over and over again until I got the photo I liked.

Here is a little excerpt from a chapter I wrote yesterday for Daddy’s Little Girl:

“This past summer I took the family to vacation in Key West. One afternoon was devoted to snorkeling over the live coral reef a few miles off shore. It was a windy day with choppy seas, making it a bit difficult to float peacefully in place above the marine life that swam 20-feet below. The current kept pushing Meagan back toward the boat, she couldn’t get out to where the fish were. She was about to give up on the adventure and climb back on-board.

Seeing this I swam to her side, extended my hand, and taking hers into mine as I had so many times in years past when she wanted me to lead her into the unknown, I swam forward, pulling her along with me. Together we swam against the current, skirting between the fingers of the reef looking for fish. Shortly we were pointing out neon blue parrot fish, yellowtail snapper, grouper and pompanos. We were having fun again.

I looked toward my daughter to see if she wanted to go farther up the reef. It was hard to make out but I swear I could see a smile on her lips even as she clamped down on her snorkel.

My kid, the one who now too rarely sits on my lap or kisses me goodnight, was holding my hand. And me? I was comforted giving her comfort there in the middle of the ocean. And I was smiling, too.”

I have updated the Facts About Me section for your reading pleasure.

Now on to reader mail:

“The older I get, the more I appreciate my dad. It wasn't until I moved away from home that I realized, as a college freshman, how smart my dad is. Now he's on speed dial on my cell phone, and I call him for a wide range of advice: how to handle my taxes, whether to include my middle name on my master's diploma, etc. My dad is wired very differently than I am. He is simple and logical; my life is multi-tasked and daring. I appreciate that contrast and recognize it's the reason he can offer me much-needed wisdom such as, ‘Take your time.’"

…and…

“I thought I'd share this with you. I sent my wife (Lisa) a link to your blog and she responded with below comment:

From Lisa: "You are not going to believe this, but this is the guy who wrote the book that Amy picked up before she flew to Houston when dad was declining. When her and I met in Atlanta, we read through most of the book together and cried most of the time. Then after getting to dad's room and settling in, mom joined us and we read every page to dad, while we were sharing memories of each page."

Amy is Lisa's sister. Their dad died over a year ago and your book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, was pivotal to their time of loss. They got to their dad’s room just a couple hours before he died, and your book was healing for them all during those last moments. Isn’t it funny how small this world really is and how God brings us all together at just the right moments? Thank you! I am sure this is one of many story of help received from your gift and passion!”

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

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back from Va-Ka!




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, http://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…

The first three photos today were all shared with me by visitors to this blog; thanks to all for sending your favorite images to me. The fourth photo is of the work site of one of the greatest writers of our time – the actual desk, chair and typewriter of Earnest Hemingway. We stopped by his house to pay homage while in Key West last week. If you haven’t read “The Old Man and the Sea,” you should.

And if that book is too metaphorical for your taste, try “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris. You’ll laugh your head off and quite possible wet your pants in the process.

Speaking of last week, I’ll post some photos and tidbits from the family vacation later this week. For the moment just let me say I discovered the girls guessed I weigh somewhere between 195 and 600 pounds, Linley doesn’t know the difference between Jimmy Buffet and Willie Nelson (after all, they're both always either drunk or stoned), and Meagan kept saying I was taking a “hair vacation.”

I received the sweetest story last week about one father’s loving nature. Here is an excerpt:

“Presently we are saving everything we can spare to accomplish an important financial goal, so for Valentines Day I told my husband not to purchase anything for me. He followed my wished and did not send flowers and all that usual stuff to my job, but when I arrived to my daughter’s preschool to pick her up there sat a single rose and a balloon. He had come to her school and delivered her Valentine's Day gift to her. There she was, a two year old with flowers and a balloon for Valentine's Day. The sight of her happiness was the best gift I could have asked for. I asked my husband about it and he said ‘I want her to know from the very beginning how a man should treat her and that if the man trying to be in her life can't treat her as well or better than her daddy then she need not be bothered.’”

What a lesson for a young girl to learn and what better person to teach it than her Daddy.

One dad recently answered my question about what “girl mysteries” confound him. This is what he said: “The hardest moments are when she hurts herself, reaches out to be held, and only a moment after being held, is pushing away from me again. It seems like that may be the case as she continues to grow, too. I suppose learning to love is - learning to let go.” It is indeed.

While signing books yesterday at a Barnes and Noble store I meet a man in his late 20’s who told me he had a one-month-old daughter, born as the result of a brief post-divorce reconciliation his ex-wife. Unfortunately, during the reconciliation attempt, they remembered why they divorced in the first place. Now he is unable to see his daughter and wondered if it is best to fight for his parental rights, or let his ex and their daughter begin a new life without him. I urged him to pursue visitation rights, saying, “If you don’t make it clear you want to see her, one day she will know you didn’t try. She will then feel unworthy of your pursuit, and that will leave a hole in her heart that may never heal.” I hope it was the right thing to say to him.

I got this email yesterday: “My wife and daughters went to Boston to see some friends in late April and went to the ChristianBook.com warehouse sale. While there, my 16 year old daughter bought a book for me. It just happened to be your book ‘Why a Daughter Needs a Dad.’ She about flipped out when she saw your comment on my blog.” This dad has gone on to send me stories for Daddy’s Little Girl. It’s a small world, isn’t it?

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

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Have a great week!



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…

Today’s photo is of Mike, Elizabeth and Caroline, husband and daughter’s of my cousin Amy. This photo appeared in the Thank You, Dad book that was published this spring. I took that photo last November during our annual Thanksgiving family reunion. I though it was a fitting image of what this blog and pending book are all about; it will be up all this week while we are on vacation.

I’ve had the chance to read all the stories that have been sent to me, and while all of them are great, there are a few areas no one has addressed. Please consider submitting your thoughts on any of the following questions:

Daughters:
1. If your parents are divorced, how did you deal with your dad’s dating or remarriage?
2. Most daughter-dad relationships become strained during adolescence. If this applies to you, what did you and your dad have to deal with and how did you work through it?
3. What do you consider to be the most important life lesson your dad taught you?
4. What was the one event that stands out in your mind as the time you really understood just how much your dad loves you?
5. Does your relationship with your dad affect your expectations of your boyfriends or husband? If so, how?
6. What parenting advice would you give new fathers of daughters?

Dads:
1. What were the great “mysteries” for you in regard to understanding and raising a daughter?
2. Most daughter-dad relationships change as the little girl becomes a young woman. How were you affected when your daughter became less affectionate and more distant from you?
3. Often as teenage daughters enter young adulthood they begin to see their parents differently. Did your daughter experience this change? If so, please tell me about it.
4. What are the top three things would you want to give to or make happen for your daughter?
5. In your opinion, what is the evidence that you have done a good job parenting a daughter?
6. What is that one thing your daughter doesn’t understand about the responsibility or concerns of you as a father?

Well, I guess that’s enough for this week. Tune in again Monday, June 11th when we return from vacation and I’m back to writing a daily entry. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Angel and the Piglet

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…

Today’s photo is an “extra” I took while photographing a group of siblings for the Brothers and Sisters book. Little Miss was so excited about her Piglet she insisted over and over again I take her picture. I’m so glad she was so persistent.

Here is a poem my friend Bean wrote for her dad on his birthday:

Dad

You laugh you sing you take a chance
You stand for peace, integrity and romance

You always spoke the truth when asked
And showed us how to make good times last

A rare example of what I consider a “man”
Kisses his wife and still holds her hand

Walks beside her in good times and in bad
From 16 to 60 you prove love isn’t just a fad

Your daughters look up to you and your grandchildren too
Matter of fact so does everyone who knows you

You told me to jump one time from a tree
And promised that you would be there to catch me

After that day, the lesson stayed with me
Without faith and trust, nothing are we

I can’t be with you and celebrate today
But from the bottom of my heart I wish you a happy 60th birthday!

Love,
Bean

Wonderful, don't you think?

You know the stereotype of the dad who turns his back on his daughter when she “disgraces” him by becoming pregnant before she is married. I hope that is really myth, a character in old fashioned fiction. I’ve heard from several women since beginning this project who have told me a story like this one:

“My dad has never fallen short of supporting me in whatever I do. I got pregnant at the age of 19, and although he was disappointed in my actions he never quit loving me. He has loved my daughter unconditionally and been a positive male role model in her life, which is important to her and to I. He is not only my dad, but my best friend and confidant. He’s an amazing man, and I’m truly lucky to have my dad as a father.”

You are indeed.

This blog has set a new record; it had 1643 blog visits in May. So did my website; it had 1152 visits and 55,404 hits!

Please take a look at the questions I am going to post tomorrow. Now that I’ve read all the stories sent thus far, I see a few holes so I’m going to post questions that will help fill out the discussion about daddy-daughter relationships.

We are on our summer vacation next week and I’ve promised my girls I will recreate and not work, so you will not find another update post until Monday, June 11th.

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