Different – A Memoir by Lily About Her Sister, Tessa

Hi my name is Lily and I am 11 years old. My siblings, Tessa and Colton both have SLC13A5 Deficiency, which is more commonly known as seizures. I love both my siblings and only hope for the best for them and other people like them. I wrote this memoir in my 5th grade class, and I am excited to share it as my first TESS Research blog post:

At first, it was just Tessa and I. We played with each other with our princesses and Barbie dolls like any little girl did at the age of 2 or 5. I loved my older sister and I still do, even though she is disabled. My sister Tessa was born with SLC13A5. It is more commonly known as seizures. Tessa is the most brave, sweet, and fun loving person – but sometimes people don’t see that.

Sometimes, people treated her unfairly when they came over for playdates with me. They would say, “Can we go play outside?” To get away from Tessa. Also, some girls would say, “Why does she have seizures, is something wrong with her?” People don’t seem to to understand that what matters is on the inside, not the out. Tessa on the outside is a 5 foot, 14 year old. She has short brown hair and hazel brown eyes. Of course, what people notice first is the fact that she has seizures – around 100 a day. Also, they notice that she says very few words. Some words she can say are yes, no, mama, daddy, Lily, more, all done. Tessa is a normal 14 year old trapped inside a broken and sick body. Really, she wants to be like everyone else and have fun with friends and goof around.

I love Tessa and of course I, like most people, want my siblings to have a great life and feel appreciated and loved. So, when people treat Tessa unfairly I feel sad. I feel bad that I have such an excellent life when Tessa is stuck struggling with her disabilities. I used to feel bad that I have such amazing friends and supporters and Tessa doesn’t. I used to feel embarrassed that I had a disabled sister, because she is different. Now I see that different is good! If everyone was the same then there would be no fun. Picture a world when there is the same colored houses on every street. Every house has the same flowers, trees, interior, and etc. Now think of that but instead of houses, they were people. That world would be boring and no fun. With our differences we complement each other.

Tessa has made me the person I am today. When Tessa was in kindergarten, she was learning how to read. I ended up also learning to read and I was already in 1st grade reading level in kindergarten thanks to her. Also, having 2 disabled siblings has helped make me very responsible, kind, considerate, and including. I babysit my disabled brother and I help Tessa with her homework. I make sure to give people second chances and not judge a person by his/her appearance. Not only has Tessa helped me learn all these amazing life skills, she has learned them too!

Tessa is so brave. At the age of 3 or 4 she started having more and more tonic clonic seizures (seizures that lasted a minute or more). She would ride away in the white, red, and blue ambulance with the sirens wailing and flashing blinding lights at me. She would also be brave when she took the disgusting medicine she had to take daily to keep her from having even more seizures. Not only is Tessa brave, she is also super sweet. In elementary school Tessa would bake treats like brownies, cupcakes, and rice crispies. She would then bring them home and share them with my mom and I. Also, when Tessa got a toy that my younger sister wanted she would be very nice and share the toy with Maggie. Tessa is just like any other girl. She is obsessed with YouTube and loves playing on her iPad. Sometimes Tessa and I will make slime together and she loves mixing things into it. She also loves to dance. This year she went to the Hillview dance and she had so much fun. She also likes to go to school and hang out with other disabled girls like her.

Tessa is the bravest, sweetest, prettiest, and most fun person! If only people could see her amazing heart, not her epilepsy symptoms and disabilities. I hope one day kids realize that Tessa is just as awesome as everyone else.

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