Milestones: A Dad’s Reflection on Daily Gifts


The following blog is from Jim Higley is the Bobblehead Dad ? writer, speaker, life observer and cancer warrior. A single father raising three kids, Jim?s first book Bobblehead Dad: 25 Life Lessons I Forgot I Knew celebrates the stories waiting for us every day. Proceeds from his book are benefiting Imerman Angels 1-on-1 Cancer Support, a partner of LIVESTRONG. Read more about Jim, his story and the book at

I?m a dad. One. Two. Three times.

That means our family is routinely celebrating milestones. A revolving door of them. They started with the sweet, innocent ones. First smile. First coo. Wobbly steps. Teeth coming in. Teeth coming out. First birthday. Big boy bed. Big girl bed. Princess bed. Training pants. No training pants. Training bra. First day of school. First home run. Vaccines. ?You tied your own shoes!? Learning to read. Learning to write.

Time flies. Milestones blend into the business of life.

My children?s milestones, lately, take my breath away.

For my oldest son, they?ve included the last day of school. School as in college. Now the next milestone is starting his first job.

For child two?my daughter?those recent milestones have been found in her first year of college.

And for my baby, my other son, his milestones include a learner?s permit, his first year of high school, his first razor, and his first school dance.

Time does fly.

For our family, somewhere in between those sweet, precious milestones of youth, and the grown-up milestones we celebrate today, came one other milestone for all three of my children.

They became the children of a dad with cancer.

It was a milestone that arrived a little over five years ago for them. And one that continues to touch and shape their lives daily. It?s a milestone that has brought fear, confusion, and a bit of anger to their world. But it is also a milestone that serves as a beacon in their life to shine light on the path as they each discover their own character, values and passions.

?It?s made me a person who?s not afraid to help others,? one of my sons recently told me. ?I?m always the first person to show up when someone?anyone?is in need. I know I can make a difference.?

My daughter, perhaps, said it best. ?It?s made us strong. Amazingly strong.?

And it?s made me a dad who is grateful. Amazingly grateful.

For the blessings of my three children. And the daily milestones they bring to my days.

Jim Higley

Above: The Higley Family today. Kevin (left), Wallis (center), and Drew

The Higley Family a few milestones ago. Wallis (left), Kevin (center), and Drew


  1. Peter Thomas says:


    Remarkable article!

    I too went through very similar times. Diagnosed in 07 with NHL and at the time with 2 very young sons – i too worried and fretted.
    Now, after my 20 months of treatments, my sons are older, and i really relish and enjoy the precious milestones that they give me.
    Livestrong Jim!!

    Peter, Wales, UK

  2. Jim,
    A powerfully beautiful blog post that captures how I feel each day: “amazingly grateful.”
    I am a survivor of NHL and a stem cell transplant, a wife and mother of three who were just turning 18 (two boys) and 21 (a daughter) when I was at my lowest. But I came through it with an increased appreciation for my family and my life. And they have grown and learned, too. I am starting my own blog to talk about what I’ve been through: and to inspire others as you do.
    I am now disabled and have many things wrong with me but I make a conscious effort not to focus on that. At the core, I am “amazingly grateful.” And I try to recognize that every day.


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