Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mr. Mom

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 is from the book Thank You, Dad.

Here’s a segment of a nice email I received just the other day:

“I have taught my daughters many things over the years; I have made mistakes, and have been the "bad guy" for a period during their teen years. All the while I have kept their respect, love, and admiration as their dad.

The father-daughter relationship doesn't end when they turn eighteen, or leave home. It continues as they grow into adulthood and as they become parents. God willing, I will be around a long time and be a part of their life, someone who they can turn to when they need support and guidance.”

Here’s another chapter from the draft of Daddy’s Little Girl:

Jill leaves the house everyday around seven o’clock; she is a Special Education teacher for middle-school students and likes to arrive early to her classroom. I am the stay at home dad; I work everyday in an office over our garage, writing as much as I can between my daily chores. As the stay at home parent, I get the girls off to school, do the grocery shopping, cook the meals and take care of most of the household errands.

From time to time I chronicle on my blog my thrills and chills serving as Mr. Mom. I suppose one day one of my stories reminded Lynn of her own dad and she sent me this:

“My Dad and I were finally in charge; Mom had gone into the hospital to give birth to my youngest brother. She would be away for fourteen days.

It was the first and only time Mom would leave Dad and me in charge. There was pandemonium in our house during those two weeks.

Each morning I would wake Dad up, usually from the settee where he had sat down to read and fallen asleep the night before. He was a heavy sleeper and it would take quite a few hisses and shakes to get him into the land of the living. He drank the coffee I had made, took a shower and then we would try to make breakfast together.

Before that time my Dad, me nor my other brothers had been allowed in the kitchen; it was Mom's domain.

Dad and I quickly realized that while we were proficient in our own assigned household jobs, we knew nothing of Mom's jobs. We didn't know diddly squat, in fact. I had never cooked before and Dad couldn't boil water, much less fry an egg. My brothers discovered our ignorance when meal time came around. There were horrified shrieks and groans as they poked at the food we put in front of them. Breakfast would be fine as long as we could find cereal, milk and juice, but all other meals that required the application of heat were very stressful events for all concerned.

At dinner, we looked at one another across the table with disbelief about some of the disasters that occurred in the kitchen. We cooked up some ugly food. We tried really hard but always ended up with something either still raw or not worthy of calling it a burnt offering. Dad and I had cut or burned most of our fingers; we both just dropped dishes in the sink and the whole kitchen resembled a bomb site.

After we sent my brothers off to bed hungry, we mopped up the spills, threw stuff away, wiped down surfaces, and scrubbed the floor to the best of our abilities, all the while telling each other that we were doing a really good job. Mom wouldn't notice the little things, the broken plates, cracked mugs, burn marks on the hand towels, clothing that were no longer the same size or color, and the abundant selection of cereals in the cupboard.

On the day Mom was to come home, my brothers ran into the hospital like starving, unclean children that had been found in a small cabin in the backwoods. She looked at us and started to laugh, pointed out that we were all wearing the wrong clothes. My Dad had put on a shirt that he had taken out of a bag of clothes in the spare room; she informed him the bag held discarded cloth to be used for cleaning.

Why neither of us had noticed that both sleeves had been torn off at the shoulder, I don’t know.

That was the day my Dad took his wife and new son home from the hospital, wearing a dust cloth and dragging a scraggy, hungry bunch of kids along with him.”

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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