Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

A Familiar Conversation

I am pretty sure, that had I recorded the conversation, all I would have had to do was press “rewind,” and then “play,” and the exact conversation would have been heard.

With my older daughter’s 1st semester officially in the books this week, my younger daughter is in the middle of her second semester of her senior year. As I always do, I am busy planning the next visits so that they can be booked following their Christmas visit with me.

The conversation is the same, turning adult age, aging out of the custody agreement, I leave it up to my daughters to decide if they want to make a particular visit or not. I know, and respect that they may have plans, especially in that senior year of high school. While I have the conversation with my younger daughter, there is a slight twist to the next several visits. They will likely be without her older sister joining her, as not only do they have different social priorities, they obviously have different school schedules.

I had my “Cats In The Cradle” conversation with my older daughter, familiar to the Harry Chapin song:

“Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
‘Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while’
He shook his head and then said with a smile
‘What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please’

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

She must budget her time off between myself, visiting her mother, her friends, and her boyfriend. Through her college years, this means I am likely to see her, twice a year, along with any Facetime conversations. I am actually handling this pretty well.

My attention turns to my younger daughter. We are all anxiously awaiting to hear from the colleges that she applied to, and scholarships she has already applied for. That hard part is done. And then came the speech.

“The time is going to fly by now. After Christmas break, you have five months left of your secondary education. And the time is really going to go fast. You cannot afford to put anything off, because you are going to be getting communications from the college that you decide to go to, as well as tasks that need to be completed before you graduate. And then there are things that you and I still need to get done. There will be little time.”

I encouraged her, “if you don’t believe me, ask your sister if what I told her, the same exact thing, if what I said was true.” Of course it was.

The difference between the ending of the song, and where the chapter with my daughters and I end, is this is yet another chapter in my cancer survival that I did not expect the chance to see. And the milestone of seeing both of my daughters having graduated from high school will be realized. I could not be more proud of both of my daughters. And sweeter than the longevity of my survivorship of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, is having gotten to watch both of my daughters become the women that they are.

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