So said Amy Roloff shortly after she was introduced to a sold-out room in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Thursday, July 25 and everyone in attendance responded with raucous applause, along some hoots and hollers.
Roloff hails from a suburb of Detroit and her parents currently live in northern Michigan, making this trip a bit of a homecoming for the reality star.
So her very warm welcome may have had something to do with Roloff being a native Michigander, a fact she brought up multiple times during her talk.
But it also may have had lot to do with how genuine she truly seems to be, how open and honest she is about herself and her family and, as cheesy as this sounds, as real and as down-to-Earth as she comes across while on stage.
I was there for this event. I speak from experience.
I'd love nothing more than to sit down for a home-cooked meal by the Little People, Big World star and simply talk with her over a glass of wine.
"I'm so amazed that people actually came out here to hear me talk," Amy said to open her speech, encouraging everyone in the crowd to "take pictures and hashtag,
Roloff then delved into the main themes she tried hitting in her book, A Little Me, along with her motivation for writing it in the first place.
"I believe we all have our own stories to tell," she explained. "We can learn so much from each other if we're willing to be open."
This, of course, sums up the reason why Little People, Big World has exploded into such an unexpected hit: the Roloffs are nothing if not open with each other on air.
Amy spent a bulk of her talk embracing the fact that she's a dwarf and asking the audience to embrace the differences they have with one another, to "recognize that this is okay" and emphasizing:
"You have to be willing to be vulnerable and expose yourself in order to give people a chance to overcome their issues [with diversity]."
Amy also talked a whole lot about her kids -- because, boy oh boy, is she proud of her sons and daughter.
She even told a story about how Zach (or Zachary, as she most often referred to him as) would sometimes complain as a child about how Jeremy could do something and, due to his stature, he could not.
But Amy wasn't going to accept this as an excuse.
"I told him 'You need to come up with your own plan for handling that in that case. It may take you 15 times and Jeremy only one time to do something, but that's okay.'"
Zach has clearly taken this lesson to heart.
This is the inscription Amy wrote in her book for my wife, who will be receiving it on August 2 for her birthday.
Another lesson Amy tried to impart on her kids?
Their own intrinstic value and self-worth.
Take Molly, for instance.
"I never told her she was beautiful when we put makeup on because I never wanted her to think she wasn't pretty without it," Amy said.
She also described Molly as a "minimalist" who never really had any interest in being on the show -- which was always just find with Amy.
Amy didn't shy away from her divorce, either.
She didn't get into some of the sordid details laid out in the memoir, but she did say the following:
"Going through a divorce in the public eye... I was like, "I know I did stuff wrongm, but he did A LOT of stuff wrong.' It took me awhile to be good with me and realize I still have something to offer and give."
What about Little People, Big World? Did Amy ever see this success coming?
"I didn't want to do the show at first," she admitted. "But sometimes you have to take that step outside your box. I was unsure and afraid and intimidated by how other people would respond to us."
She then confirmed that a new season of Little People, Big World is on the way.
Roloff proceeded to touch on a number of topics that we'll summarize below:
- Jeremy and Audrey partly left the show because they "had a hard time" with how events on the series don't air until six months after they occur, which is a bit weird in this age of keeping followers apprised on social media in real time.
- Jacob left home at the age of 18 and it "broke my heart," Amy said. But "I will always be here and will always love and support him."
- How did she feel when Jacob blasted his family for being fake when he quit the show three years ago? She understood.
"He was six years old when we started," Amy explained.
She then went on to tell a story of how she answered this question years ago when a reporter asked her about the accusation.
"To Jacob, his family was a selfie," she said in a pretty impressive metaphor. "You know, how you always make yourself look extra nice for a selfie, find the perfect angle and everything? He never got to see his family as anything except for this sort of selfie."
She added that Jacob "had to leave in order to come back," if that makes sense, and that he's a "fantastic uncle."
- Jacob and Isabel are not getting married on the family farm. But they will hold their wedding reception there.
- She hopes Jeremy takes over the farm someday.
- Audrey is due on Janauary 8.
- She and Jeremy did NOT plan to have this baby!
- Jeremy is hoping for a boy, but they also want to have more than two kids.
- Tori is due right around Thanksgiving, but she hopes the baby arrives about a week early to separate her birthday from the holiday.
- She doesn't know if Tori and Zach have settled on a name, but "I'm not really a fan" of one of the options, she laughed.
- And, lastly and perhaps most importantly, what are her kids' favorite meals that she cooks?
Spaghetti for Zachary; turkey enchillads for Jeremy; stir fried rice for Molly.
"Jacob is a vegan now I think," she joked. "So who the heck knows with him?"
All in all, it was a great night with a great guest who sat and spoke with every single attendee who asked for a photo and an autograph.
I was a big fan of Amy's before. I am a huge fan now.