Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

I’m Actually Starting To Like This

There is not a parent in the world, who does not wish that their children never got old. The innocence of laughter, finding security in knowing the parent is going to be there for them, Little Einsteins.

I am one of those parents who has left three-inch divot skid marks, being dragged into the later years of my daughters childhood, one now actually of adult age. I most certainly miss the days of teaching to ride bikes, riding kiddie rides at amusement parks, watching performances, and of course, helping with homework that I could understand (at least in the first half of their elementary school).

All this is good. I know my responsibility as a parent is to teach them, to be a role model for them, to prepare them for that day that they eventually are out on their own. But I was having so much fun. Now, it is getting serious. They have actually mentioned boys. There are conversations about after high school. The things that I say and do now, are the things that they will remember, not necessarily follow my advice, but I will be in their ears at least.

I have emphasized to my older daughter, the need to register to vote. Of all things that she does as an adult, this is the one thing that will have an impact on her, each year of her life. She was upset that she missed the last presidential race, but looks forward to the next one. But having a father who spend a short period in local politics, this was an opportunity to teach her the importance of local political elections.

While it is hard to conceive that one vote could make a difference in a national election, that one vote can make a difference for sure in a local election. And where my daughters live, there is a very important election this year. And I have told my daughter, her vote will definitely make a difference.

This was also an opportunity for me to teach her, that elections are not just about showing up and casting a vote. As she prepares to register to vote, she already has an idea of where she stands politically, and proudly, the acorn does not fall far from the tree. Anyone who has followed politics over recent years, has likely heard the phrase “disenfranchised voters.” My daughter understands that.

I do not know if she will register with a party or as a non-party, and that is her choice. I will always respect that. But the one thing that I have heard from her that is encouraging, is that she will not tow a party line if there is an issue that she does not support. Good for her, in more ways than one. This means, she is actually going to look at the candidates that she will vote for. She will want to make sure the candidate best meets her values and interests.

Her sister is not far behind, but is still trying to figure out her direction. There is concern on her part, that she does not have a “focused” interest, like many of her friends. Both of my daughters have had their share of participation in recreational activities, as I tried to find their interest and keep it. And it is a parent’s choice, which direction is taken, whether to push forward, in spite of apathy or disinterest, or to allow the child to look into something else. And that is the path that I had taken.

I explained to my daughter, that she should not be discouraged because she has not “found” her interest yet. I explained to her, that it is all about finding the right one. She has no problem with application, she gives 100% whatever she does. But it is about keeping her interest. And then I threw this curve ball at her. That I was the same way, tried all kinds of things, not having one main hobby or interest. It was not until I got into adulthood, that I discovered two things that I truly am passionate about, and one of those came about by fate. Music is 100% in my blood. I have always enjoyed writing and public speaking. And it is since my diagnosis with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that I soon realized this was what was meant to be.

In the meantime, I will keep encouraging her to keep trying anything that has her curiosity. It would not surprise me one bit, ten years from now, she has returned to something she enjoyed in her childhood, and will make it what she wants to enjoy out of life.

I do not have many memories of my childhood to compare them with the adult conversations that I have had with my parents. But you know what? I am really starting to enjoy the more grown up chats with my daughters too. Now if I could just get the one to stop making me squirm with some of the topics (an intentional act on her part).

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