BUCKSPORT, Maine — They may have been born at the same time nearly 18 years ago, but they’ll tell you that is where the similarities end.
Kelly Sue, Shelby Lynn and Jennifer Lee Wight are triplets born to Gail and Steven Wight of Bucksport who graduated from the local high school on Friday night.
The best part of being part of a set of three “is not looking alike and having our own personalities,” Jennifer, who is the athlete with dirty-blond colored hair, said on Saturday.
Kelly, who is the redheaded academic drawn to drama and music, said by text message that “the worst [part] is always being categorized as a triplet when we are so different.”
Shelby, the blond “Dr. Who,” “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” fanatic, said the hardest part of being a triplet is “probably just getting along with each other because our personalities are so different.”
The best part is “always having someone to hang out with and who will be brutally honest with you,” said Shelby, who weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces at birth and came home with a heart and breathing monitor. “You know their answers are true and not just something … to make you feel better.”
For Kelly, who weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces at birth and was the first to come home, the best part of being in a set of triplets is having sisters.
“It’s the same as every other sibling,” she said. “You always have someone your own age to be around.”
The worst part for Jen, who was the smallest at birth and weighed 2 pounds, 9 ounces, is “taking pictures together and having to open presents at the [same] time.”
The trio was born almost nine weeks premature in September 1994 at Eastern Maine Medical Center and spent between one month and 11 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. Jen also spent time in Portland after having surgery when she was just 2 weeks old at Maine Medical Center.
“The time went by too fast,” Gail Wight said on Saturday.
When the girls were infants, she would dress them in identical clothing, but by the time they started school, they already had established personalities, she said.
“They are totally independent — three totally unique individuals,” their mom said. “One is into music, drama and academic achievement. I have one who is a ‘Dr. Who’ fan who has a great group of friends, and one who is into athletics.”
Steven Wight said when the girls were infants, they pretty much stopped traffic.
“When we got to the mall and they were all in their stroller together it created a traffic jam because people would stop to look at them,” the proud father said. “It has been joyful.”
The couple changed around 240 diapers a week and saw very little sleep the first year, Gail Wight said in a 1995 Bangor Daily News article when the girls were just over year old.
“I don’t know how we did it,” she said. “It was all worth it.”
As they grew and each got into their own activities, Steven said he was torn in several directions in order to pick up or drop off his kids.
“They never all did the same extracurricular activity,” he said.
Kelly, who is pursuing nursing, and Shelby, who plans to study clinical lab sciences, are heading to the University of Maine in Orono in the fall, and Jen is going to Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor to study computer drafting and design.
“They are ready to start being totally independent,” their mother said.
“I’m happy for them to move on,” their father said. “It’s a big step and with three at once, it is emotional for sure. Where did the last 18 years go? Time goes so fast.”