In elementary school I used to pay attention to when report cards were being sent home from school and I’d grab mine before my parents could get it from the mail. Sometimes it was ok, I was proud of my grades, not always though. They were none the wiser (and are probably finding out if they’re reading this?) but I knew what they really cared most about was weather or not my social marks were ok. Was I being respectful to the teacher? To my peers? I was smart, most kids are at least in their own ways, but they didn’t care about any of that. Only how I was treating people.
We are two of five kids. Our brother, then Amy, the our sister, then me, then our little bro. Five kids. Two parents. We outnumbered them but I wouldn’t say it brought them down. They started parenting in the 70s so we all inherited a “get lost” philosophy that, if I’m honest, was amazing. We had such a good life as kids. We played and biked and swam at the beaches. We went in and out of the neighbors’ homes and spent holidays with cousins. There was our grandparents’ cabin and our cousin’s farm. We had all we needed and more, and we had each other.
As we grew into adults there were no real expectations from our parents about who we better become, just a quiet known truth that we should figure it out because they were not going to foot the bill. So we did. Each of us.
As we all moved forward on to the next thing, our older brother became a teacher in Alaska, our sister Stacy became one of the best stylists in Chicago, I moved to Colorado to ski and work in social services, our little bro…he’s still kinda figuring that out…and Amy became a supermodel.
She traveled the world, saw herself on the covers of magazines, on billboards and on runways. People recognized her face all over. Cousins would bring it up, friends would ask us about it, but no one really cared in our family. I mean, we cared that she was healthy and working and doing well, but our parents didn’t value her work any more than they did our brother who was teaching in Alaska.
They cared about her experiences, her wellbeing, but not her star. Not her fame.
I tell my kids every day that the most important thing is how you treat people. Nothing else really matters.
Amy + Allyssa