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This is the first time we’ve had all the kids together in the same picture!” exclaims an amazed Sarah Palin, flanked by her five children and baby grandson in her Alaskan home.
The occasion for this Palin first: helping USA WEEKEND Magazine mark Mother’s Day 2010.
Even for one of the world’s most famous mothers, wrangling six kids — including two squirmy toddlers, a rather-be-elsewhere young veteran and a birthday girl impatient to light the candles on mini-cupcakes that Mom baked — makes reforming health care seem easy. […]
Except for the fact that the entire brood is here, this is a typical Friday afternoon: half-clothed toddlers running around; Willow, 15, hanging out with her pink iPhone; a camera crew in the backyard; dinner getting cold; and Palin ever-ready for prime time in her curly updo, TV makeup, bell-bottom cords and clunky platform heels.
The house is a surprisingly simple A-frame that husband Todd, 45, built in 2002. About the only wall decorations — other than a magnificent view of the lake through floor-to-ceiling windows — are deer and caribou heads and a rack of moose antlers mounted above the flat-screen TV in the all-purpose living-dining-family room. So far, the one visible sign of Palin’s burgeoning income (by one estimate, at least $12 million since she resigned as Alaska’s governor 10 months ago) is a two-story office under construction with an adjoining hangar for Todd’s small plane. A driveway strewn with eight pickups and cars makes the small compound’s entrance resemble an auto-repair lot more than the home of a political superstar. […]
Having him man the home front “is the biggest change” of Palin’s new life as full-time “celebutician,” as she’s been dubbed. For years, she says, she was a single mom every other week while Todd worked 850 miles away in Alaska’s oil fields. “Practically speaking, it’s easier now that he is home.”
Only two weeks earlier, Bristol moved into her first-ever apartment in Anchorage, 45 miles away, where she works as an assistant in a dermatologist’s office. There, she is learning to cope as a single working teenage mother.
Inevitably, Palin concedes, not everything in a family works out as planned. […]
Palin makes no apologies for the impact her frenetic lifestyle and fame has had on her children. “They’re quite independent, and they’re thick-skinned,” she says proudly. “Those are some attributes that any parent would want for their kids.
“We can see the blessings in every step that we’ve taken and in everything that has happened to us. There’s a been a tradeoff [but] Todd and I are strong believers at the end of the day things do work out for good.”
Speaking of day’s end, it’s still Piper’s birthday. For her real party the next day, Track’s girlfriend will teach her and her friends a dance. Plus, Palin says hopefully: “Her older cousin, who’s a little hunter, could teach the girls how to target-practice with the BB gun.”
But for now, it’s getting late, and those birthday candles still haven’t been lit.
Full USA Weekend Article By Author Carol Clurman: