Their 8-year-old jaws would drop.
"Your dad's famous?"
"Yep," I'd answer, glowing with pride and bragging rights. "And he also makes toys, so he's kinda like Santa."
I wasn't lying. My dad worked at a toy company for as long as I can remember. So in my mind, he was Santa. Or at least one of his lead elves. He was also my softball coach, assistant basketball coach, and life coach when it came to those shithead playground bullies.
Yes, I was bullied. Not half as badly as hundreds and thousands of other kids, but as the chunky kid with braces, glasses and a seriously unfortunate case of psoriasis, I was an easy target. I was also a large target, which is probably why I only remember one bully in particular. The rest of them were probably afraid I'd sit on them. Rightfully so.
Anyway, back to the reason I'm writing this. My dad wrote Elphland about 15 years ago, and although hundreds of students at Woerther and Ridge Meadows Elementary heard and loved the story every year, he never got around to getting it published. Elphland tells the backstory of Santa's Elves--who they are, where they came from, why they work so hard to put smiles on so many kids' faces every year--and in doing so, Elphland speaks to the bigger issues children face today like bullying and prejudice.
Last year, my dad finally decided to self-publish a spiral-bound soft-copy and send it out to family friends and mommy bloggers. Babble.com, an influential parenting magazine, ranked Elphland among the Top 10 Totally Awesome Christmas Books of 2011. Yes, this is me glowing with pride and bragging rights again at the age of 26.
"Whitney, why the hell are you telling us about your awkward years and the fact that your dad may or may not be an elf?"
I have a point, I swear.
In my family, we like to go big or go home. (Actually, we all like to go big and then go home for a big Cuban meal.) So dad isn't stopping at a few flimsy spiral-bound soft covers. He has dreams to publish the fully illustrated storybook complete with an audio book with music, a musical soundtrack with songbook, a coloring book and plush dolls and animals based on the storybook characters. His ultimate vision is to produce an animated Elphland movie that will air on TV every Christmas season, because let's face it, those old Rudolf and Abominable Snowman claymations from the 50s are getting old.
Being that it doesn't look like any of us will be winning the lottery any time soon (trust me, I've been trying), he created a Kickstarter project to help raise the necessary funds. The video he created for the site gave me chills and made me cry. I blame the music.
If you're feeling generous, head on over to his Kickstarter page and donate as little as $1 to help him reach his goal. No pressure, though. I promise I won't sit on you if you don't.