Caleigh reflects on the importance of becoming a role model for her five-year-old niece, Natalie. Being there for her as she grows up is something extremely important to Caleigh.
Caleigh: I just love stories in general anyways because it makes people who maybe would have never interacted realize their shared humanities.
I just want say a story that I heard in class—It was a story in class about a young man who welcomed a little brother into his world, and he realized that this world was no longer about him and he wasn’t just a big brother, he was a role a model. Everything he accomplished and everything he strived for wasn’t only for himself but to set a good example for his brother.
When I read that story in class it made me think of my five-year-old niece, Natalie, and we are very close. She’s my whole world, I love her so much. After reading that story, I took a step back and I was like, “who am I as an auntie and how does she see me?” She looks up to me, she mimics me, she wants to be just like me, she always wants to spend time with me, and it made me think about what kind of person do I want her looking up to? I am no longer just an auntie, but I am setting a good example for her. I want to show her that she is capable of anything she sets her mind to. I am the first one in my family to go to college and I would love to be a role model for her to see, you know, auntie goes to college, and I can do it and I want to be just like her. And through just reading that story of the man—the boy—who welcomed his brother in the world, it just connected me and him and we’ve never met.
I hope that everything that I’ve learned in my 20 and a half years—today is my half birthday—I want to share those experiences with her so that she doesn’t make some of the mistakes that I’ve made, but also that she can follow in my footsteps because I feel like I am a great role model for her. That’s—you know—I have two older brothers. I never really had a female role model, other than my mom, someone that was closer to my age, so in a way we are so close, and I’ve been with her since she was in the womb.