I had no clue how much you were going to teach me. I thought I would be doing the teaching, holding your hand pointing out the flowers in hedgerow. Helping your stir the cake mixture in the bowl, encouraging you to finger paint. And I did. We did all these things, but the real learning began later when you started to show me so many things.
You showed me how to freeze time. The power to live entirely in a moment. You looking at detail in the world I didn’t even know existed. To take it, this detail, capture it, replay it over and over. You taught me to listen to carpets, to feel sounds.
You taught me other do not define who we are. That what “society” expects is irrelevant. What we need as a family is what matters. You taught me to say ‘no’. No to birthday parties, no to play dates. No to people. Because that was not what you needed. You taught be how to try and make others see that what they thought was important for you, just wasn’t.
In doing all this you freed me. Freed us from a predefined path I didn’t even realise we were on. You helped me see what really mattered. Helped me redefine the meaning of friendship and family, of success and happiness.
You are funny, kind, curious and sweet. Your curiosity has taken us deep into so many places I would never have gone. Inside atoms, deep into computers, into a fascinating world of gaming, back into history, through economics, delving into philosophy.
Both you and your sister neurodivergent and neurotypical bring tears, chaos, calm, fun, exhaustion, laughter, and love.
In turn I am here to help you. To help you work out how to live in this crazy world. Provide space and safety for you to be you. To work out much sooner than I did, what it means to be you. I want you to create your own desire lines across the landscape and call for me if you need me.
I am doing my best, and so are you guys. We will never and should never apologise for who we are because who we are is unique, amazing and wonderful. We are surrounded by love.
Written by Elisabeth Kelly (parent) and Leo Kelly (young person)