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A New Year, A New Light

© 1999, by Lisa M. Roberts

The above copyright has changed from 8 to 9 and I, for one, am glad of it. For those of you who shared a wearisome 1998, either personally or professionally, here's to turning the bend. And for those of you who enjoyed a fun and prosperous 1998, here's to the thrill of another 365-day ride on the EP roller coaster.

Of course, there's nothing like having a January baby to replenish the new year with an even greater splash than the norm. Actually, my "baby" is turning three (on the 21st), so this is probably the very last year I can say "January baby." (I am allowing myself to say baby because he is still in diapers and a crib, but only for the next 8 days...!) I can't say it seems like only yesterday when I was pregnant with him because it seems like A HUNDRED YEARS AGO!!

In three years, my then toddler has become a kindergartener, my then kindergartener is gulping down Hardy Boy Books by the dozen, my then third-grader is now dabbling a little perfume on before her "Neon Nights" (the town's monthly teen gala event), and my then infant is now saying, "Mommy, pewt your na'kin on your yap." In looking at photos of the pregnancy and then glancing at the face in the mirror, I'm convinced all one hundred years have shown up (think "Picture of Dorian Gray"). Gratefully, when I look at the faces on my children I see only three more years on theirs.

As for the entrepreneurial end of things, a clip from my book echoes some present sentiments:

"It has been a full year since I started writing the original draft of this manuscript. My youngest was conceived alongside this book and the two have grown within me like healthy twins, persistant and vibrant and unified. While I have given birth to one I await the arrival of the other, the first who offers me sweet peace while his "twin" competes for attention. It's as if the past nine years of parenthood-tug-career-tug-parenthood-tug-career has peaked in this moment as my family holds on, strong and steady. We are challenged, but we unite. We hold on. And like my first, my last leads the way with a sparkle and a faith only a gift from heaven can provide."

In reflecting on all that has happened since that writing, as my little sparkle is about to turn three, I am struck by how bright and direct his light has turned out to be. At the time of Thomas's birth, I felt torn between being a parent and a professional as never before. The work-family conflict was truly at its peak. Having a book published was the culmination of a life dream, it was almost a validation of who I was and who I always have been. At the same time, having a fourth child was the culmination of another lifedream, one I shared with my husband and other family members. To add pleasure and pressure onto pleasure and pressure, we were also house-hunting back then.

And yet this past year was even more stressful than the one in which my "baby" was born. As mentioned in the last EPnews issue, we lost a dear and special family member in 1998, my father. But through his innocence, charm, and here-and-now needs, Thomas has pulled my focus towards him through it all, as only a baby could. Through the triumphs and let-downs of book publishing, the good-byes and hellos of a family move, the excitement and hard work of a new partnership and business start-up, the inexpressible grief of a death in the family, my baby's light has been there to shine steady and consistent for me.

As the youngest, Thomas has no one to pass the torch onto. He will enter the stage of young boyhood and this time I will not be replenished by newborn parenthood again. Yet something tells me my little sunbeam will never be dulled. As we embark on a new year together as a strong community of "entrepreneurial parents," may each of us keep our focus on the sparkles in our lives. Their light is ever-ready, through the turbulence and the calm, quick to shine and lead the way. All we have to do on our end is keep the faith.

Lisa Roberts is the mother of four, owner of The Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC and the author of How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business (Bookhaven Press, 1997). Copies of her book are available for purchase at EP and through Amazon.

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