Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

The Top Story Today…

Newspapers and newscasts all have top stories followed by lesser significant stories. I am treating this post in similar fashion.

The top story…

My youngest turned 18 years old. When I look back at the hundreds, ummm… likely thousands of photos I have taken not just of her, but of her sister as well, I consider myself blessed to have watched and witness the growth and development from someone so tiny when she was first placed in my arms. Her wit, her personality, her intelligence, and her ability to smell through bullshit, she definitely is my daughter. Every photo I look at, I can remember where, when, and what was happening.

I encouraged her to stay a child as long as she could, and I believe she did just that, with her foot in the door to the next stage of her life, adulthood. Her childhood years behind her, she now heads in to the next phase of her life. I see only good things for her.

Another milestone reached…

It seems as of late, I have been doing a lot of talking about milestones. Back in 2008, when I had my first heart surgery, tied to my cancer survivorship of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, my doctors and I agreed, I wanted to live. I had a lot to look forward to, and I wanted to be around to see these things, these milestones. I went from a certain fatal event, to seeing each of my daughters turn 18, one having graduated, now completing her first year of college, to my younger daughter now graduating, heading off to college in the Fall, another milestone reached. And it will be a tense three years, dealing with my health issues as I await the next milestone, a college graduation. But for now, I have seen both my daughters turn 18 years of age, something that has never been a guarantee.

A chapter closed…

Also, with my final child turning 18, brings an end to my divorce case. This does not mean an end to me supporting my daughters, emotionally, or financially. But what it does mean, is that the relationship between my daughters and I, will now be, between my daughters and I.

As an adult child of divorce myself, I am still haunted by my parents’ decisions with their divorce. But it was my feelings, that drove me to protect my daughters from being exposed to the hurt I have carried with me my entire life. Most importantly, I feel it played a vital role to make sure, what happened with me, did not happen with them. Granted, I had better means to accomplish this effort, namely in the form of video messaging services, which allowed this non-custodial parent to have nearly daily visual contact with each of my daughters. Of course there was also the drive, never to leave my daughters’ lives.

Through it all, I hope that I was still able to convey to them, that there is good in relationships, and that marriage can be a good thing, but also takes work, respect, and communication. I tried to set examples for them, of how they should want to be treated, all the while, teaching them other life lessons, even if from afar.

And here we are, both my daughters, now going full speed ahead into adulthood. My role as teacher and comforter, turns to advisor and support. Of course, they will also become more familiar with my health issues, as it is likely, they will need to know everything I have gone through.

And finally…

Today was about my daughter. This will not become another “anniversary date” that I recognize. This will always be about her big milestone. The other two things just happened to occur on the same day.

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