Becky Smothers, High Point mayor

The strangest part about raising three kids for Becky Smothers and her husband was the fact that both of them were only children. Smothers quickly adapted to dealing with the siblings’ dynamics. Over time her parenting style evolved, she said.

Along with her husband, Smothers raised her kids — Rick, Tom and Beth — in High Point and sent them to public schools, where they played sports and were well rounded.

When Beth, her youngest child, was in third grade, Becky Smothers ran for High Point city council, and since then public service has been an integral part of her life. She used to tell her kids, who rebelled to an extent like most teenagers, that if they were ever in too much trouble it would hit the papers because of her position on council.

Luckily, nothing ever did, and Smothers said they didn’t cause too much trouble. But her only daughter Beth has always been outspoken. Since her husband traveled for work she was often in charge, and she said she expected the kids to leave her alone after 8 p.m.

“As you watch your children grow up, independence is definitely something you want to encourage, but it can be pretty rocky in terms of how you deal with attitudes and behaviors,” said Smothers, who is now the mayor.

Now all of that is behind her. With five grandchildren, including some who are in college, it’s been a while since Smothers worried about keeping her kids in line. Instead, she has the joy of watching her kids parent, and as far as she is concerned they are doing a great job.

When her grandchildren were little they all lived nearby, and while the family is more dispersed these days, most of them haven’t wandered too far. Everyone still gets together for Christmas and a beach trip every summer. This may be the first year with some absences from Oak Island, the summer destination they all picked after struggling to find a beach house for the relatively large family.

When the Smothers family gets together, sometimes they are teasing Sara, one of the grandkids, about what she said when she was just 3 or 4. After being told they were going to run some errands, the story goes, Sara asked, “When we finish with the errands can we run some Sarahs?” Smothers and her husband share their grandchildren with their in-laws on Christmas, forgoing Christmas Eve in favor of seeing the kids Christmas afternoon. It’s easier for everyone that way, she said.

“I wouldn’t trade having these three children for anything,” Smothers said. “It was not a goal I ever identified, but I’m not a real goal kind of person. Things just kind of happen. They are very special people, and not just because they are ours. I am proud of them.”