Lynn University has a mission- to make sure that all students, whether traditional learners or nontraditional learners, have a chance. That people from any walk of life should have the ability to succeed, and that the University strived to be the place where the building blocks to that success were laid. The sincerity and dedication of Kevin Ross and his colleagues came though loud and clear. That’s leadership. And that is what this conference-- Lynn University’s Transitions 2016-- is all about.
By Hackie Reitman, M.D.
You’re a dad. Though maybe you didn’t recognize it at the time, your child has a brain that’s a bit different. You know that when she was growing up you could have done some things differently. Even though you had the best of intentions you could have been a better dad. Don’t beat yourself up this Father’s Day.
That’s my job.
My 33 year old daughter Rebecca has Asperger’s. She often reminds me: “Dad, sometimes good intentions are not enough.” My only child tells the truth. “If you don’t want the brutal truth, don’t ask the question,” she says.
I can’t help it, but in the days leading up to Father Day, when I should be focused on celebrating with my wonderful daughter, the mistakes I made as a dad loom up like an elephant in the room. I can’t help but shake my head and think “If only I knew what I know now.” But I was clueless about so many important things when Rebecca was growing up. Why couldn’t I have…
Just as I am beating myself up, I receive an e-mail from Rebecca:
I smile and realize how lucky I am to be Rebecca’s dad. Suddenly, I am smiling, totally looking forward to my Sunday time with Rebecca.
Every year, Rebecca gives me a heartfelt card and two great gifts for Father’s Day.
One gift is a bottle of the Original Mennen’s After Shave. As Rebecca knows, when I was a toddler, every morning, my dad would hug me and press his clean-shaven cheek to my cheek before leaving the house to work at the family gas station. I think of my dad every time I slap on the Mennen’s. The scent transports me.
The other gift is a numerical “Rebecca’s Father” T shirt. Yes, I have the whole collection. And this is year 34!
It’s not just her Discrete Math Degree from Georgia Tech that dictates that I meet her at 11:56 am– it’s the way her brain works. The careful choice of a specific number, her hyper-interest in mathematics, her desire to apply that to life in general… It all makes sense to her, and it is making sense to me more and more. The more I learn, the more all the dots connect.
While she will not share specifics with me ahead of time, I suspect she’ll treat me to a breakfast at the Dunkin’ Donuts around the corner from her apartment. We’ll probably go for a walk, and maybe chat about some of the issues in her grad psych classes. The whole time will be quality time, one-on-one with her dad, just how she likes it. She’ll even be nicer to me than usual. I will look at her, and be grateful that I am now appreciating more and more the amazing human being who is my daughter. If this Father’s Day is like the others, it will end with a big hug, and a blissful dad exclaiming, “Rebecca, this is the best Father’s Day ever. I love you all the time no matter what.”
Aspies aren’t the only ones who tell the truth.