Words & Banter

This Past Month – We Both Grew Up

Photo taken by Red

I registered for Parent & Family Weekend even before my daughter left for her freshman year at college. Yes, I'm that parent, although I'll claim it's because I'm so organized. Yes, I started missing her even before she left (if that's possible). And yet it seemed like only yesterday, not a month ago, that we said good-bye and I became an empty nester.

Of course, being the straight-A student (some things you never outgrow), I studied the weekend's schedule of events and not just knew when, but where, each was taking place. And I couldn't help but notice there were several blocks of "downtime". Obviously, the school already knew what I was about to find out. Sometimes it's what's not on the schedule that really matters.


It was walking together to Kroger to get her "essentials" (Campbell's soup, Banquet chicken pot pies, and Cotton Candy grapes, although, much to my surprise, no ramen) and telling me about her idea to apply for an internship because classes are great, but she also wants real-life experience. It was not being able to decide where she wanted to go for dinner and instead ending up in her dorm room, her on her bed and me on the throw pillows on the floor, eating not Domino's pizza (although it was considered) but delivery from Noodles & Company and watching Survivor.

A few hours later, it was her walking me across the incredibly beautiful campus of Belmont University filled with majestic buildings, to the "circle" where everyone picks up their Uber, telling me that she's going to meet up with friends. Which made sense as I've heard so much about the people she's met and the many friends she's made, even meeting some of them. And it was the weekend after all.

But then she said something that totally caught me by surprise. Later she was going to study for several hours as that's her nightly routine (often starting after midnight). And, unlike me, who primarily focused on getting good grades, she explained that she loves her classes and truly wants to learn the material. Not for the test. Not for the grade. But to have the knowledge for when she graduates.

And on the Uber ride back to the hotel, I realized,

Parents Weekend is all about reassurance. Reassurance that she's happy and confident, and becoming the person that every parent hopes and dreams their child will become. It was my daughter, through her unprompted words and actions, during the "downtime" of Parent & Family Weekend, that brought me smiles and laughter. And without even knowing it, she reassured me that she was in the right place – literally and figuratively.
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

As you know, I love history, but I appreciate many people don’t.


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I am one of those people, so not sure where you are going with this.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Exactly. So, when you first wanted to talk to me about the history of credit cards, I should have known something was up.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Or, at least been curious.


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How was I supposed to know it would make a difference in my life?


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Why else would I want to give you a “history lesson”?
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Photo by mevans on iStock
Let’s be very clear. Autism has no correlation with intelligence; it’s a developmental disability (or what Black refers to as “DIFF-abilities”). And it’s a spectrum disorder, which means each autistic person has their unique mix of abilities, challenges, and ways of seeing the world (can’t that be said of all of us?!) So, as we celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week, remember it’s more than just awareness – it’s about acceptance.

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Did you know that April's Autism Awareness Month? I wasn't aware (pun intended) of it until I read our local homeowner's monthly newsletter and it caught my eye.


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Actually, last month the founding organization, the Autism Society, changed "Awareness" to "Acceptance" to foster inclusivity, as knowing about something is very different from accepting it. But I am guessing that is not the point of this call.


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Although it isn't autism, it reminded me of years ago when we found out that Natasha has learning disabilities.


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I think you mean DIFF-abilities.


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Of course, that's another thing I remember. I was focused on the negative aspects of her diagnosis until you asked me, point-blank, "Why are they called disabilities?" And proceeded to explain that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.


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Exactly! Imagine the world if everyone excelled at math, but flunked English. Or, a world of lawyers, but no musicians. Some people are better at social skills, while others excel at handling technical data. Why not just say that people who have different skillsets and abilities have DIFF-abilities versus making them feel like they have shortcomings?
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

As much of a history buff as I am, I’m embarrassed to admit that for a long time, I didn’t know March was Women’s History Month. But now that I do, I’m amazed by all the inspirational stories of women’s remarkable achievements.


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Too bad Natasha and Sawyer do not still live at home; it would be fun to start a conversation by asking them what women they find inspiring.


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I already know who they would pick. The first woman to race the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And I’d have to agree with them. Your Ferrari racing has made an impact on so many people. But especially girls.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Until you mentioned it several years ago, I never thought about that. In the 1970s, I was one of the few women in business school. I then made a career in the male-dominated oil and gas industry. I am used to being a “token” female.


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Trust me. I watch people whenever we’ve done speaking engagements. It’s predictable ... we put up the family tree, and Natasha and Sawyer get awws, but your two racecars get everyone’s attention.
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