Shelby, 18, and I get told often that we look alike. For me, the odd bit that I’ve never gotten used to is not only that we look alike, but that we have such similar personalities AND we get along. People often use the cliche with us “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.” My response is always, “In this case, the apple fell on the root and re-grew!”
Through her teen years, I expected that we wouldn’t get along at all as we both have such strong personalities. However, we only had a few months after she turned 17 where things were a little rocky as she stretched her teenager wings. But really, I have nothing to complain about.
Shelby works for me as a respite worker for our boys. It’s uncanny to hear my words often come out of her mouth when she talks to them. Recently, a friend of mine, while observing Shelby deal with a situation with our seven-year-old, said to her, “You handled that well. You had a good teacher.” To which Shelby responded, “Yeah, but I had to live with all those same consequences too!” And I get a kick out her observations as she begins to see our world from both sides of the same coin. I’m fascinated watching her grow up.
Being the oldest child forced Shelby into being a role model for many younger children as we’ve had so many live with us for varying amounts of time. Often we had to remind her that she wasn’t the parent, that’s our role. But care giving is something that comes naturally to her and I’m very proud of the young adult she has become.