My aunt Sandy has a little plaque in her kitchen that reads: “Families are like fudge: mostly sweet with a few nuts.”
I love this silly quote. Almost every family I know has a few “nuts” in the mix. But what’s interesting to me is how many of those families stay strong and united, even when life gets a little salty.
Jack Osbourne, son of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, is a contestant right now on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Last Monday, he opened up about his battle with MS and how his family changed his perspective on fighting every day for a good life.
“You now have this disease that there's no known cure for and if it gets bad the remainder of your years could be spent in a wheelchair, with feeding tubes — and it was scary,” Osbourne said on the program last week.
With tears in his eyes, Jack went on. “I don't care what happens to me if it's just me, but if my quality of life goes to a place where I can't provide for a kid .”
Then Jack squared his shoulders and said, "I had about four days of feeling really down and depressed. And then I was like, ‘I've got a 3-week-old baby I've got to take care of.’ It got my mind away from really bad news."
Pretty emotional stuff coming from the son of the Prince of Darkness. What has shocked me most about the Osbournes is that through all of their many ups and downs as a Hollywood family in the spotlight dealing with drugs, alcohol, rehab — no matter how bad things get, they stick together.
Recently there have been rumors of a divorce between mum Sharon and dad Ozzy after he admitted to relapsing on drugs and alcohol for the past year. But the couple is shooting down the gossip, telling the media that they are staying together.
"We're dealing with it. We've dealt with worse. We're dealing with it, and this too shall pass,” Sharon Osbourne said on an episode of “The Talk.”
“We’re not getting divorced. However, am I happy? No. Am I upset? Yes I am. I’m devastated right now.”
This kind of honesty and dedication is pretty amazing, coming from a couple who was born and raised in a place where divorce is almost as quick and easy as ordering a burger through a drive-thru. For as nutty as the Osbourne family is, they have one thing going for them that has been a huge benefit to their success as a family unit, and that is dedication. Sticking it out. Toughening up when the going gets tough. Fighting for family.
My aunt, the one who proudly displays this little sign in her home, is certainly one who is not a stranger to hardship. Their beautiful family has been tested, tried and put through the refiner’s fire. There were times when we thought for sure she’d throw her hands up and call it quits, and no one would have blamed her for it.
But she wrapped her heart in titanium, put on the armor of faith and with an iron will, made a commitment to fight for her family.
And she won her battle. Their family is steel-strong, united and committed to work every day to keep their home a haven of peace.
I’ve often wondered what I would do — will do — when sore trials come upon me and my little family. I am not oblivious to the fact that now, more than ever, the world I am raising my children in is increasingly hostile to a loving, traditional family unit.
But I know it’s possible to support one.
My mother-in-law, first lady Jeanette Herbert, is hosting a parenting conference on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo. I am so proud of her and her initiative, “Uplift Utah Families,” for encouraging and supporting healthy, stable, loving family relationships. Speakers will include international and best-selling authors and parenting experts Richard and Linda Eyre and founder of the immensely popular Nie Nie Diaries blog and burn victim/survivor Stephanie Nielson, also a best-selling author.
It's for family members both sweet and salty.
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.