Monday, October 15, 2007

Loving Support

Just a photo from my archive, one I took while thinking of my darling wife.

I've posted an earlier version of this story; this one is new and improved. Unfortunately it didn't make it into the book. I'm posting it again because I think it is a sweet story and so representative of the everyday, low-profile things a loving dad does for his child:

A dad’s gentle hand gives his daughter confidence and strength.

Each morning Linda eats the top half of a chocolate chip muffin, the only part of the pastry she really likes, and saves the bottom half for her dad to eat later. What began on her part as an effort to eat light and on dad’s part as an attempt to rescue Linda from mom’s displeasure about wasting food, the muffin sharing scenario has become a ritual in their household. Not only is the ritual an easy way to share a quick breakfast, it is, at least for Linda, an important symbol of their dad-daughter relationship.

In her way of thinking, the bottom half of the muffin represents her dad; she is the upper half. She rises and flourishes, stabilized and supported, standing on the shoulders of her dad, Mike.

Throughout her life, Mike has been devoted to his daughter. When she was five years old and told him of her plans to have eighty children when she grew up, he promised to be a helpful grandfather. Both competitive types, they played tennis together as often as they could, Mike helping Linda to become a good tennis player and eventually captain of her high school team. He also became the coach of her softball All-Star team and practiced with her as often as she wanted.

While they loved spending time together playing sports, academics always came first. Mike spent as much time editing papers, listening to speeches and reviewing and quizzing vocabulary words as he did on the tennis court or softball field. He was there to help Linda succeed, urging her along but never pushing her more than he should. She began to excel in school just as she had in other aspects of her life.

Equally concerned for Linda’s moral aptitude, Mike sought out opportunities to be good example for his daughter. He was known among friends as the cookie guy. Beginning after Thanksgiving, their family baked cookies and delivered them to the public servants in the area. Since the age of six, Linda has helped her dad find decorative cookie tins at yard sales and then bake hundreds of chocolate chip and old fashioned sugar cookies. She carefully packed them in the tins along with a Thank You note they had written.

Just before Christmas, the pair spends most of a day driving through town to deliver the cookies to the fire, police, and emergency departments, as well as a few of their lucky neighbors and relatives. They have been doing this now for fifteen years, and Linda plans to continue the tradition with her own family one day.

She is about to graduate from college and begin her career. A capable and confident young woman, she has accomplished much because of the support her dad has given her. And yes, he still eats the bottom half of her chocolate chip muffins, even though blueberry is his favorite kind.

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