Today is Kaity's Birthday. At 23, she's on her way to conquering the world. She's smart––a 2-time All-Academic All Conference in college, All-Academic All Region in high school in two sports. Beautiful inside and out––she's a Special Ed teacher––and very confident. (With 3 older Brothers, you can't be insecure and shy and have survived life in our house). She's an athlete––3 sports in high school, 2 in which she was All-District and 4 years of NCAA Lacrosse, Team Captain––an avid reader, a tutor and about the toughest person I know. She almost had the tip of her finger cut off at 2 years-old––while we were on vacation in Baja Mexico––had her nose broken, battles with poly cystic ovarian disease every day and can more than hold her own in discussions on the NBA, MLB, NFL and other sports. (She wakes up and watches ESPN Sportscenter every day before work). She's even had to endure me coaching her in two sports for many years, at the youth and high school level.
Yeah, I love her.
But what I love about her most is her love for her Daddy. At 23, she still calls me Daddy. When I was going through treatments for cancer, it really hit her hard. I could see the fear, pain and helplessness is her face. In her actions. I found out I had cancer right before she was going back to college for her Senior year––August 7, 2007. She didn't want to go. She wanted to stay home with me. She wanted to help Teresa take care of me. I even overheard a few conversations the two of them had. I knew she couldn't stay. I knew it would hurt her if she saw what cancer––and the chemo and radiation––was doing to my body on a daily basis. But one thing about Kaity, when she makes up her mind it's awfully hard to get her change it––just like her Dad.
I told her that she had to go to back to college. She was so close to graduating. She was getting ready to have one of the best years of her life. She didn't care. She wanted to be with her Daddy. I remember telling her this––the best thing you can do to help me beat this thing is to go to school. I told her nothing would make me happier than watching her walk across that stage and receive her diploma. If she didn't go back, she might never finish school. I didn't after my 3rd year of college. I never finished. I know my Daughter. She'd find something else to excel in. But being a teacher and coach meant the world to her--but so did her Daddy. She had to go back.
I told her to tell her Coach that I had cancer––I knew he would watch out for her at school. He thought she was a special person. He kept an eye on her. Thank you, Bruce. I know I told you that many times. But never enough. So off she went. Graduated with a stellar GPA. Graduated with all her classmates. Roommates/teammates. On one of the most beautiful days you could ever imagine. And you know what was the best part? I was alive to see it. I will never forget it. Thank you, Kaity, for the best present you ever gave me.
No matter how old you get, you'll always be Daddy's Girl.