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!

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