You see it time and time again. As someone grows older and gets into their teenage years, they tend to want space from their family. They become rebellious, angsty, and tend to defy anything their parents say. They just want space to become their own person. However, this path was not meant to be walked by everyone. Some people lean and rely on the people closest to them to develop the personality that sticks with them forever.
Freshman Audrey Sidebotham is becoming the person she’s always been meant to be with the help of her family. Audrey has four siblings. She has one older brother, a sister her age, and two younger siblings. She has a large family, and they are constantly on the move.
“It’s a little off track sometimes because it’s so busy,” Audrey said. “But, [my family] makes sure I’m always doing well.”
She’s stepped into the role of an older sister with grace and eloquence. Her siblings haven’t even hit the double digits, but she’s made sure they always feel loved and appreciated. Audrey frequently goes out to see movies with her siblings, and then they have sleepovers together in a single bedroom. She goes above and beyond the average role of older sister.
“My favorite thing to do is to hang out with them,” Audrey said. “That’s my favorite thing to do; I just love hanging out with them because they’re so cute and so special.”
Audrey makes it a priority to stay connected with her siblings, but her family as a whole. They have a monthly tradition where they pick a restaurant out of a hat, order each other’s dinners, and then they finally eat as a family by sharing food. This experience keeps them close as a family and is frequently a highlight of her week.
“We all have to be there, and if you’re not there, everyone will be really upset,” Audrey said. “Even if you’re mad at them for [a] time, you can’t be for that. You just sit down and just talk. It’s really good because we’re all busy all the time so it’s really good to just be together.”
Another way she connects with her family is through sports. Audrey is a dual-sport athlete, playing both basketball and softball. Her family was the main influence on choosing the life of an athlete.
“My mom played them when she was in high school, and I just wanted to follow in her footsteps,” Audrey said. “And then my siblings are all really into it, along with my parents, so I just got into it.”
Audrey dedicates hours each week to perfecting small tasks within her sport. She is currently in season for basketball and spends hours upon hours improving her game each week. Although she does not have a lot of time for softball nowadays, she spends almost all summer with her uncle, who is a qualified softball coach, to craft her talents.
Her family doesn’t always make it to the games because their busy schedules, but she always appreciates it when they make it out to support her.
“It always makes you feel better when they do come,” Audrey said. “They’re so busy most of the time, and sometimes they can’t make it to my games. But when they’re there, I just get a lot of emotions, and it feels so good to see them there. I play so much better just knowing that they’re there for me.”
Although they are not physically there at each event, she knows they are always there in spirit. More recently, she has had to deal with her older brother, Sal Sidebotham, going to Walsh College and playing football. She loves all the new opportunities he has, but she had to adjust at the beginning of the fall due to him no longer living in the same house as her.
They may not always be together, but she always feels supported by her brother each day. She credits him as her biggest influence, and he has helped her learn all about the ins-and-outs of high school life. He helps her every day through text messages which helps the hours apart seem like mere seconds.
“I come home, and I text him paragraphs about my day, and he’ll text me back because he’s in college now,” Audrey said. “He’ll help me get through some stuff and tells me what to do and what not to do. It just helps.”
Not only does her brother have a heavy impact on her life, the rest of her family plays a needed and important role in her everyday life. Audrey is grateful for all the opportunities her parents have given her and will never be able to repay them for what they’ve done for her. That may come with the description of being a parent, but Audrey believes they go above and beyond what average families do for each other.
“My dad has taught me so much along with my mom,” Audrey said. “I just wouldn’t be the way I am without them. I couldn’t imagine it without them. They taught me how to act in situations and if I didn’t know that, it would turn out bad. They taught me how to be nice, how to make friends, and how to be happy.”