Adventures with Leslie: Her First Week with Us

I’ve stepped out of my career for a moment…and learned a few lessons in my new role. My mother recently passed and she left us, unsurprisingly, without a plan for my developmentally disabled sister.

I am currently in Adventures with Leslie! My sister is living with me until we figure out how to best support her.

In the last week, I have watched my sister go from introverted and feeling like a burden to taking on surprisingly new endeavors.

Leslie was afraid of stairs and public sidewalks. She arrived at my house scaling steps on all fours. She is now walking upright, inside the house and outside. She walked to Starbucks, her favorite place, from my house without holding my hand.

Leslie consistently refused to attend field trips or organized events with her peers. On Wednesday, she went on an outing with Chimes for the first time, and returned home bursting with enthusiasm to share her day playing games at the park.

Leslie’s speaking language was almost indecipherable when she arrived. After a week of non-stop talking in my home, she is easier to understand, even for my teenagers.

Leslie has had a haircut, put away dishes on her own and, after I had a debate with my son about the necessary bedroom shifting to accommodate another person in the house, she sat down next to me and put her arm around me. She understands empathy.

We’ve had our mishaps. On the first night, root beer was spilled all over my living room, destroying the remote and requiring a rug cleaning. Food now stays in the kitchen. We’re working on table manners, patience, and a complete change in diet that includes water as a beverage.

My teenage children are learning patience too. They’ve always been the center of attention. Now they help Leslie, prepare meals for her, and accept that things don’t always go as we want them to.

It’s been a week of adjustment, learning and kindness.

Photos are of Leslie the day she arrived and a week later.

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