My family has always been unique.  We probably have a few black sheep in our bunch. Growing up, there were only two Hopson’s listed in Pittsburgh’s White Pages–one was my dad; the other my grandfather. My paternal grandparents met and married at age 16. They stayed together until death did them part, and over the 65 years of marital bliss, they welcomed 15 children and more than 30 children into their home and their hearts. Our family is filled with bakers and bouncers, moms and managers, contractors and childcare workers. My parents encouraged my sister and I to discover our own individuality–even if that meant joining and quitting teams, bands and dance schools. We eventually found our  place. I went on to become a television news reporter who traveled the world, and my sister is leading a sweet life as the owner of a baking business called The Cupcake Crew. Now that I’m a mom myself, I want my daughter to embrace her individuality as well–even if she marches to the beat of her own drum.


Here’s what makes her absolutely, incredibly unique.


Top Toddler Collage


Andy Warhol Collage





Hey DFTM Fam–How is your family/child unique?


Share your story by entering UPMC Health Plan’s Individuality Facebook Contest, and you could win a fun and fabulous Pittsburgh Staycation.


Prize Pack Includes:

A weekend stay at a top downtown Pittsburgh hotel
A Wild Encounter, behind-the-scenes experience at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Dinner at a great downtown restaurant
Personal tour of the Senator John Heinz History Center
Pittsburgh Sports Prize Pack


They had me at hotel…


Disclosure: I was contacted by UPMC Health Plan to write a sponsored story about the Individuality Contest. I am being compensated in some form for my work. All opinions in this article are my own.

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

12 Responses

  1. Brandi

    My daughter is a fantastic expressive dancer! She has more grace than any other 4 year old I’ve ever met…and I used to be a preschool teacher!

  2. Kim

    What a great prize for Pittsburgh families!

    Each of us is unique, but it’s interesting how our society encourages more of a group think mentality. Teaching our children to embrace what’s special about them early on is a wonderful thing and might even help them to figure out more quickly how they can best use their gifts to serve the world and live a fulfilled life. My son has always been fiercely independent and unafraid to be different or go against the crowd–in that way he has taught me a lot about how to embrace my own individuality. He is unique in that he gets curious about things that other people might just dismiss, and is always trying to figure out how things work or come to fruition–the brain of a scientist!

    • firsttimemom

      With your love and support, I am positive he will be a successful scientist! He may even invent something someday to make moms lives easier! 🙂

  3. Christine

    All three of mine have such different/unique personalities but they each have a bit of mommy and daddy in them. My son’s memory is impeccable. We tell him something once, and he’ll bring it up months later. My 3 yr old has got some beautiful confidence. She is so bold and sure of herself even at 3. My almost 2 yr old is absolutely fearless. She is our mini comedian and keeps us cracking up laughing.

  4. Donnie

    My family is unique because we try as much as possible to do things we’ve never done. We read books regularly together, we listen to famous speeches and we make ourselves little movie critics.

    • firsttimemom

      Those things will quickly become family traditions, which will be passed on from generation to generation!

  5. Arelis Cintron

    That is awesome, Having your daughter try new things to find what she’ll love is something that parents don’t necessarily understand. There are many things that I wanted to try in my youth, and I wasn’t given permission to do so. Some of those very things are still on my list of things to do; Like fly a plane or a helicopter. It’s also a great thing not to force our children to stay with something that they don’t like.

    • firsttimemom

      You can still take a class Arelis! At the very least, to fly a simulated one:) Never to late!

  6. Janeane Davis

    I think it is hugely important for people to let their children be individuals. I see this even more with my twins. People are always shocked at how different they are, but each child is a person, and individual and that individuality should be encouraged.

    • firsttimemom

      So true! Just because they look alike doesn’t mean they act alike. The twins I know all have opposite personalities!

  7. DaintyLady

    My daughter is unique because she is going to be a surgeon/singer/track star when she grows up! On any given day you can caught her running around our home with her stethoscope around her necking singing a little tune all of her own. She’s a joy and she keeps a smile on our faces daily. There is no one else like our little Love.

    • firsttimemom

      So sweet! She’s a smart girl and will be a successful adult I’m sure, very talented!


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