Last year, Lauryn Shannon began acting as a "sister-mom" to her teenage sister, Alana. Honey Boo Boo could no longer live with her mother.
Lauryn's birthday was this week, and Mama June's sister is praising her for taking in her sister and shouldering so much during this scary time.
On January 7, Lauryn "Pumpkin" Shannon was honored on her birthday in a moving post by her maternal aunt, Doe Doe.
"Happy birthday to this amazing woman, my niece," Doe Doe writes alongisde a selfie of the two of them, side-by-side.
She adds: "I call her Lauryn but everyone else calls her Pumpkin."
"Yes she is our favorite," Doe Doe admits.
"It’s been a tough 2019," Doe Doe acknowledges.
If anything, that is a massive understatement for their family.
She optimistically remarks "but 2020 is going to be awesome for this amazing lady."
"She has had to step up and wear several hats in the past year," Doe Doe admits.
"She is an awesome mother, wife, sister. and all-around amazing woman!!!!" Doe Doe praises of Lauryn.
"We love her," she affirms, "and will stand by her no matter what."
"You just keep doing you," Doe Doe tells her favorite niece, who turned twenty this week.
The glowing Instagram post concludes: "We love you happy birthday."
When Doe Doe refers to a "tough 2019," there is no great mystery as to what she refers.
Mama June Shannon has been in a disastrous downward spiral for about one year now, if not longer.
She has sold off most of her furniture and left her home damaged, trashed, and vacant to travel with Geno.
Together, she and her awful boyfriend have been living in -- and trashing -- hotel rooms. Many believe that they are continuing to use drugs.
Fortunately, for most of last year, Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson was not there to witness her mother's continuing descent.
This is where Lauryn comes in. She has taken her younger sister into her home.
It wasn't just that June was no longer capable of caring about anyone or anything that was not Geno Doak.
It was also that Alana could no longer stand to live in that house with them. She did not feel safe -- and she was right.
Living with Lauryn was not the only step taken to ensure Alana's safety and security.
An attorney shut out June from all of Alana's accounts.
June can empty her own accounts and sell off her own assets until she has nothing left but Geno and withdrawal symptoms if she likes.
But she cannot touch Alana's finances. And Lauryn only receives what she needs to support Alana, and provides an itemized list of these expenses.
Lauryn is only 20 years old, and only recently became a mother herself.
Acting as a mother to Alana, knowing that she may have to do so for another four years (Alana is 14), is a tremendous responsibility.
Alana is dealing with being a teenager, being famous, and her mother's disastrous downward slide from stable to unstable.
That's a lot for a teenager. And emotionally supporting her through all of that is a lot for a 20-year-old.
Things may get worse, emotionally speaking, for Alana and Lauryn.
June exhausting her once comfortable finances may end up being the least of anyone's worries.
In one of the hotel rooms that she and Geno trashed, eyewitnesses reported seeing what looked like blood in multiple places.
Between the alleged fights and the alleged drug use, many fans fear that June Shannon's story may end in 2020.