On Second Thought: Episode 8 – The Iron Pup Can Wait

Trust me, it’s crazy to see your life on television. That’s why every week, I’m going to do a blog posts called “On Second Thought.” These posts are where I will go over the episodes of my Lifetime show as I process the issues presented now that I’ve seen them aired.  I hope you’ll join me for these weekly posts – which will undoubtedly be part-confession, part-explanation, and part-celebration of my life right now!

Episode Eight, Air Date: July 10, 2012

I always tried my best to imitate my dad!  Did you know that Arctic Cat makes smaller snow machines for kids (called “kitty cats,” get it?) which limit the speed and allows little three to five year olds to have their own fun on the snow.  Track and I used to ride all over the lake.

Sometimes, Track would even race in “kitty cat” races, in which racers go around in a circle around cones.  I loved to watch Track do that, and once or twice I participated in my own races.  (Um… I never won!)

That’s why I wanted Tripp to race in the Iron Pup. Snow machines have always been a part of Palin life and are a part of my most fun memories.  For example, my cousin Payton and I were outside Dad’s Polaris store when we were kids.  Dad leaned out the door and told us to knock it off, advice we promptly ignored. Payton rode right into Dad’s big old green monster truck, denting it with his helmet!

Another time when I was older, we went on a family ride out to a cabin.  We rode all in a row — like ducks – and I was the last one. At first, I was having so much fun…  looking through the goggles at the big snow-covered trees and mountains. There were no cars, buildings, or other people milling around. But as I watched my family zip through the trails, I started getting nervous.  What if I had a breakdown, what if I got snagged by some branches?  They’d never know it!  I’d be lunch for some bear!

After worrying for several miles, finally the inevitable happened. I did get hung up… barely.

“I got stuck,” I yelled, after catching back up when they finally stopped after realizing I wasn’t following. Normally, I wasn’t a “drama queen” but I’d gotten a little more fearful with every mile. Finally, when they rode up to me, I threw off my gloves and hat, and yelled, “And I almost died!”

But in spite of our mishaps and dramatics, we loved snow machining.  Not only because they were fun, but because we wanted to be like Dad!

Dad is a four time winner of the Iron Dog – an impressive feat since it’s the world’s longest snow machine race through the most remote and rugged terrain in Alaska.  Of the six hundred or so teams that have started the race since it first began, less than half finished.  Why? Temperatures frequently fall fifty degrees below zero – not even factoring in the wind — which means Dad wears duct tape on his face for protection. The 2,000 miles race takes six days, and takes the racers over tree stumps, cliffs, large mounds of earth, the frozen Bering Sea, and other rivers so destructive to snow machines that when the machines that cross the finish lines have basically been almost completely rebuilt along the way.  The drivers don’t fare too much better.  Broken bones are expected, and many just quit because their snow machines get fried or they tire of the relentless, unimaginable cold. But not my dad.  When Mom was Governor, people called him the “First Dude,” but he was known for being so tough he could withstand wipeouts at 100 miles per hour and the mechanical breakdowns that would make normal men give up.

My friends may have thought Mom was cool, but they thought Dad was superman.

That’s why it would be hard for any of us to hard to live up to the Palin name, especially before you can read Dr. Seuss books!  Tripp, of course, had no idea how much I wanted him to race, and he was having none of it. As disappointed as I was, I realize that sometimes you have to let a kid be a kid.

He’ll have his whole life to snow machine, go to the Iron Dog, and to follow in Dad’s sled tracks. But I only have a few years of comforting him when he’s little, and snuggling with him on the couch.

I hope I can raise him to be as honorable man as my dad.

But in the meantime, I’ll just love on him and give him hot chocolate.

The Iron Pup can wait.


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  • Tawny Jones

    Interesting, well-written post, Bristol. Todd & Track should be the male role-models in Tripp’s life. Keep him away from that bum Levi as much as possible.

  • louiseharas

    You know, Bristol, if you have to keep making excuses for the last show that we saw, maybe you should have thought through that reality thing first. We re getting the real picture of how much trouble you seem to be having with Tripp. You asked for suggestions regarding his discipline. We’ve seen you teach him to stick his tongue out at a photographer, and then her did the same thing to you and Gino. It’s not cute; it’s rude. You have posted an explanation for each show. There’s no crying in baseball, and there are no do-overs in reality tv. The idea was to show reality, especially the way that you staged it. Now, it’s biting you in the butt. Please spend more time learning to be a good parent, and less time trying to be a TV star. Of the two, the first one is more important– for Tripp!

    • Mary

      Louise, are you a professional critic or a career counselor? Otherwise, you should consider what you say. are you a parent yet? Evidently not or you would know that a parent doesn’t have to teach the child to do bad…the child learns this on his own. Also…why do you even watch ‘Life’s a Trip’ since you evidently don’t enjoy the show. It’s only a reality show, for Pete’s sake. And this writing is explained by its title, ‘On Second Thought!’ DUH!!!!!! You…like the rest of America…need to ‘clean up around your own doorstep’ and leave others to run their own lives. It’s evident that you are a hypocrite!

  • Trina Obino

    Dear Bristol,
    I have watched a couple of episodes of your show. You are a very beautiful and obviously very bright young woman. You also have a beautiful little boy and an extremely loving and supportive family – not to mention friends. You are a very, very blessed young women. Personally, I find it difficult to watch you make statements like: “I need Willow here. Don’t you think she needs to be?” If I may say so, your sister has her own life to lead and to make. She didn’t get pregnant at 17 and therefore it isn’t her job to look after your son. It is a blessing that you have such a wonderful sister who loves her nephew so much – but it does seem like your life has been taking over Willow’s life a little too much. It is true that you appear to have the means to hire a carer for your son, or to put him in day-care – which would probably do him good.

    I have to say that you do not make a very convincing “teen-pregnancy prevention” model – for the simple fact that you are not a model of chastity. You and your family all together, however, provide an inspiring testimony of how a family can cope with a teen pregnancy, and there is much need of such role models in the world.

    There are many, many girls – girls from wealthy well to do families just like yours – who are persuaded and even forced every year to have abortions because their parents, family and friends are not prepared to support them or to love a child conceived “in the wrong way”. When you look at your son, you should remember that you are blessed by your faith and your family in such a way that that question was never pressured on you, and it probably never even crossed your mind. There are, however, lots of families living in utter fear of unwed pregnancies who cannot bear the idea of their daughters carrying a pregnancy to term – and thus abortion has become the new “adoption”. In previous generations, a girl who became pregnant under your circumstances would often get sent away to have her baby and be forced to put it up for adoption, while her parents would tell everyone she’d gone away for a year abroad. For example. The mother had no choice in the matter, because of family and peer pressure and lack of social support. Nowadays, the same kind of thing is happening, only now parents can oblige their daughters to have a simple medical procedure.

    The cause of this is, of course, Fear, because of lack of faith and, lack of love. Fear of shame. Fear that the girl won’t cope. Fear that if a child is born, life will be over…Faith and love, family and friends, are all gifts from God. As the Lord said, “Many are called, but few are chosen”. You, Bristol, are one of the lucky ones – because you were chosen by God to have enough faith and enough love in your heart and in the hearts of all the people in your life, to turn what looked like a “mistake” or “misfortune” into a great adventure. Life, indeed, is an adventure, and you and your family are a very nice example of how to embrace it.

    Often, I notice that you speak negatively about Tripp’s father in Tripp’s presence. Please bear in mind that little minds are sponges. He hears and absorbs everything and you are shaping the image of his father in his head. Whatever other “male role-models” Tripp may have in his life, Levi is and always will be his “Father-figure”. You made love to Levi so you know that he has qualities – try to highlight these in Tripp’s presence so that when he discovers the same traits in himself, he won’t feel ashamed of them. I have a sister who also has a little boy out of wedlock – but his father decided even before he was born never to meet him. He even hid his very existence from his own family for months after the child was born. He pays maintenance, but that is it. He has a lot of faults, but he stays away because he considers it to be in the best interest of the child, for his stability and well-being. Even though he has treated her appallingly, my sister will not allow anyone to say a bad word about her son’s father – because she doesn’t want her son ever to think bad thoughts about his dad, or to think that he might be somehow “disadvantaged” because of who his father is. At the moment, he is nearly 3 and since his father has never been in his life, he doesn’t know that there is anything wrong with his life. Children are like that: when they are born into a situation, they embrace it naturally as “just the way things are” – likewise, Tripp doesn’t know that there is anything wrong with his life – only perhaps, that it is different. However, that is an important lesson in life: we’re all different, so what? God made us all original, all unique, each with our strengths, and each with our challenges.

    Once I heard a girlfriend in your position say: “My daughter is my best mistake”. She said it with glee and boasting. It made me shudder. I thought: how can anyone call a child a mistake, even the best one?

    When I watch your show and hear you say that you are on a mission to prevent people making the same mistakes as you, I think you sound just like her.

    I also think, genuinely, that you should put yourself forward as an example of how to handle the particular challenge that has been handed to you in life, so that other girls who face the challenges that you face can have the courage to be as fearless and confident as you. So that their families can take example from the Palins – regardless of all the criticism that people have against your mother’s politics and relative lack of (academic) perspicacity. For indeed, you are a really lovely family.

    At the same time, please bear in mind that you are a fortunate family and your mother’s fame on the political circuit has brought you a lot of opportunities – such as writing a book and being on Dancing with the Stars, and having your own TV show (essentially making a living as a reality-tv star) – that you have not earned yourself, but have been blessed with by the Lord. The Lord has chosen you, among so many teenage mothers to make a statement, to be a model for others. Please make the most of it for the benefit of those who are less fortunate than you – all the girls who don’t have such loving and supportive parents, family and friends. The girls who land in the same situation under worse circumstances – for instance by being taken advantage of and raped. The girls who don’t have big houses and flashy cars and press agents and copy writers like Mrs. French to help market their image. The girls who don’t have the chance to go stay rent free in a posh villa in LA and “work” for Save the Children as VOLUNTEERS. It really wasn’t very dignified to see you and your sister whining so much about how boring LA was, and how difficult or impossible it was for you to arrange day-care for Tripp so that you could go work for free at a charity. Please think of all the single moms who don’t have the luxury of just packing up and going home to Mom and Dad when they can’t cope – the single moms who have to use laundromats to do their laundry, and are on welfare because they can’t get a job good enough to pay for day-care so that they can have a career or go to school and improve themselves. Have you thought of going to college Bristol? Maybe getting a degree? Universities have day-care facilities nowadays (I know in Great Britain, where tuition is also a lot cheaper than in the US, they can be pretty good – especially if you go to a smaller university town). You would get out of Alaska and spread your wings a bit, while having a large pool of peers to socialize. You would meet other student with kids and Tripp would make friends and the schedule is flexible enough. Lord knows: you have the money to get an education, and universities are a good “middle-way” between living at home, and launching out in to the world all on your own. The way you handled that man in the bar who insulted your mother, you were very mature, very articulate. You have a sharp intellect and if you developed your mind, you could become a very sharp tack in the Conservative Party drawer. Or any drawer you chose. I hope that you won’t take anything that I have said here the wrong way. I am myself a very busy person so I make this effort to bring these thoughts to your attention truly with the best intention.

    Take care of yourself and your family, and remember to thank them: they don’t have to support or help or be there for you. It is a blessing – a miracle – that you have them and that they have rallied with such commitment and accepted your challenge as their own too, without even thinking twice about it. Try, however, to remember that your life is not their life – nobody owes you support, or needs to be there for you. They are, because they love you. Make sure they stick around because you contribute as much in return – not because they feel sorry for you and feel they have to shoulder the burden because you’ve made a “mistake” and you give them the impression that you can’t cope. The “mistake” in this case that you are pretending not to be able to cope with, is a person, a child, your son.

    I know you think about it, but from reading your blog and watching your show it really doesn’t appear to have sunk in: Tripp is going to grow up and learn to read – make sure what you write and what you put on TV is something he will be proud and inspired to watch. Be careful not to exaggerate your hardship – because really, when you complain of the hand you’ve been dealt, it is not ver dignified – or very convincing. Frankly: you are just too fortunate, cheerful and your life is too FUN for you to expect to be taken seriously when you say that it is hard.

    Please think: If all Tripp gets to see is how much of a burden he was to you, and how disappointed you are in his father – then he is going to feel guilty for causing your so much trouble for being born. Don’t put him through that! Make him proud of his Mama, even if you can’t help the choices his Papa makes. Make sure that when the time comes for him to have a relationship with his Papa, you haven’t obscured Tripp’s view so much that all he has for his father is blame.

    Tripp is a boy and he will grow into a man, he will realize within himself what he needs to do to become a better man than his father – that is one thing you won’t have to teach him. We don’t learn to become better than our parents by them teaching us how not to make the same experiences as they did – we all make our own experiences. We also don’t learn how to become better than our parents by their telling us how to do things better or differently from them. We do things better and differently from our parents because God raises us all that way. If you think your son is disadvantaged in life, or that it’s not fair that he was born without certain advantages, take a good look at the Lord Jesus: where was he born? In a shed, by the dungheap, with animals, because nobody would make room for his mother to give birth at the inn…Can you imagine what hard-hearted people the people in Bethlehem were to make a full-term pregnant woman sleep in the out-house? You know labor takes time – there would have been more than enough time once her labor started for the inn-keeper to change his mind or for someone to offer Mary more comfortable accommodation!

    Indeed, until the King’s arrived to pay homage to the Christ child, to people on the outside looking in, except for his own family, the Lord’s arrival could well have looked like as much an “inconvenience” and a “disgrace” as any child out of wedlock may appear to be. Remember: the angel appeared to Mary in private and Joseph had a dream. There was no public announcement to tell people that there was nothing shameful about either Mary’s pregnancy or their marriage. No one knows what kind of gossip or awful things the skeptics of their day might have thrown in their faces to challenge their faith and shame them.

    So how about raising your son to know that he is blessed to share some of the challenges that Jesus himself faced – and like Jesus, he can overcome them all, with enough faith and trust in God (and, of course, the steadfast love of his mother, family and friends).

    Kind regards,

  • Trina Obino

    In case the message got lost: Please, Bristol bear in mind that when you say your mission is to prevent people making the same mistakes as you, there is at least one pregnant teen watching, from an equally wealthy and privileged background who hears what you say and thinks: “If Bristol Palin says I shouldn’t follow her lead, maybe my parents are right: maybe I should have an abortion.” And her parents who are only afraid because they don’t have the faith your parents have, are pointing to you and saying: “Do you want to be like her? Look what she says.”

    There are also millions of pregnant teens less fortunate than you who are thinking: “If Bristol Palin can’t cope, how on earth will I?”

    Sure, if people ask you what you think about sex before marriage, tell them: “I don’t recommend it”. But leave it to the virgins and purity pledge people to promote chastity.

    Whenever anyone engages in “teen pregnancy prevention”, they are effectively promoting abortion. Yes, because the people who don’t have the faith that you have and who are tempted to consider abortion an option, hear you and receive confirmation from your testimony that it is better for them not to be pregnant.

    As a public speaker, you have a responsibility towards those people – and all the other people who are not blessed with the convictions and courage that you have.

    You might think that simply being a role model for “kids” from privileged backgrounds is insignificant – but it is not insignificant. The world needs role models from poor backgrounds as well as role models from rich and wealthy ones. It needs testimonies from people less fortunate than you who embraced their pregnancies as an adventure. It also needs testimonies from people like you. Indeed, with only the testimonies of people from “disadvantaged backgrounds”, the kids from privileged backgrounds would be tempted to think their testimony is the only example that there is of teen pregnancy and decide: “I don’t need to go through that.” and have an abortion. And a lot of parents from wealthy backgrounds point to the stereotypical pregnant teen (on welfare, without a job) and say: “That’s what awaits you. If you have a baby, you’ve got to take care of it on your own. You can’t live here anymore and we’re not going to give you a penny”. If those kids who have known nothing but privilege look at you and hear that you say your mission is to prevent them making your mistake (i.e. having a baby at 17) – where will they find the courage to stand up to their parents?

    Promote chastity – yes! All the way! Promote marriage! But Please watch what you say on camera and in public. You’re already doing a great job promoting embracing life however it presents itself and showing how fun it can be to be a mom…just bear in mind, when people are afraid, they will latch on to the slightest word that you say that confirms them in their fear. It might seem like splitting hairs to you and, being a woman of faith, your brain is “wired” in such a way that “chastity promotion” and “teen pregnancy prevention” seem like the same thing to you. But there are lots of people who do not have gift of faith yet, and thus their brains are wired in such a way that “chastity promotion” means the same thing “sex prevention” (or contraception) and “teen pregnancy prevention” means the same thing “abortion promotion”. Please bear in mind, that when you speak in public, BOTH WORLDS ARE LISTENING TO YOU.

    Again, thanks.

  • dwarrensteen

    I always enjoy reading your inspirational blog Bristol.
    The Palin family is always welcome at my campfire!

    • Patrick

      Let me know if they ever show up! I’d love to push you all in!

  • bellagrazi

    I think we all think your dad is superman, Bristol. You have by far the coolest parents ever. Hopefully, Tripp will one day take to snowmachines like all the Palin’s have. Gino and Andy definitely gave it the old college try. I hope to see him in the Iron Pup next year. Good going in conquering your fear of reindeers! Haha Running with the Reindeer looks like an awesome, fun event. I’m happy you had Gino by your side.

  • Trina Obino

    Re. University.
    Bristol, I know the suggestion of going to university with Tripp all on your own might sound daunting. Especially the idea of going abroad.

    However, I would recommend in particular that you look at St Andrew’s University, Scotland.
    It is in a lovely little town with only 3 streets. ULTRA SAFE for Tripp. There is an excellent day-care facility for faculty and students’ children. There is also the beach (the same one shot in the film “Chariots of Fire”). If you go for an “Arts” degree, the time-table is such that you won’t find it at all hard to juggle with Tripp. As far as I know, American Universities require a lot more attendance, whereas British ones leave most of students’ time free for them to manage.

    You would fit in there also, as there are a lot of American students and it is a very good place to make connections for later life. (Also known as the University with the highest rate of inter-marriage between students. Prince William and his wife are among the statistics).

    Think about it! You would be setting a brilliant example for all the kids from wealthy backgrounds who think getting pregnant at 17 is going to prevent them going to university and having the same career they might have otherwise had…

    • Tattiebogle

      You are joking aren’t you??? Scotland does NOT need the likes of La Palin spreading her stupidity and lack of class – especially around the streets of St. Andrews. It’s bad enough that we have been infiltrated by the likes of Donald Trump in Aberdeen.

  • http://www.TheEstherLegacy.com Robyn Refsland Lund

    Just so cute!!! I laugh every time at the “and I almost died!!” part…LOVE it!
    God Bless,


  • David

    Looks like Bristol might be getting married. No education in the Palin family or the men they date or marry. Guess they are just happy they were able to graduate high school.

    • Jacinda

      What an asswhole thing to say! You don’t need to be making assumptions about people you obviously know nothing about!

  • Jacinda

    Your parents are awesome and it would be tough to live up to the Palin name. But you have their heart and determination inside you!