OVERVIEW OF FIFTH CHILD

We can fool ourselves into thinking that we have our lives well planned out. It was that way for me, being a product of the 1950/60’s: I’d go to college, meet my prince, get married, have children and live happily ever after. As much as I thought I knew what to expect, my life was riddled with surprises. But the last was the most unexpected, compelling me to write Fifth Child, a non-fiction book about the anguish and consequences of a drug-addicted child, which resulted in parenting her child almost since birth.

My husband and I are cast into a shockingly large demographic. Grandparents raising grandchildren is a growing phenomenon in our country because of our shifting economy, unmarried teen mothers, alcohol abuse and illegal drug use. Close to 10 million grandparents comprise the club. We had already raised four children. Jaime was our third child, and Brady is her son, who began calling us Mommy and Daddy when he was three. Readers may be amazed to find calamity overcoming a so seemingly traditional family. But as events and family history unfold, disturbing pitfalls and unfortunate genetic vulnerability reveal fault lines that can sabotage people from any walk of life.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Excerpt from Chapter 1: "MOMMY?"

I’m not God. I’m not an angel.  I’m just a man. - Brady, age 5

How many parents can honestly say parenting is easy? Even the luckiest people, with the easiest children, face frequent challenges that they feel ill-equipped to handle. For my daughter Jaime, we had all known that parenting would be especially challenging, because she had a history of drug abuse. Even so, she immediately took to her role as Brady’s mother. Jaime enjoyed mothering and adored her son. She nursed him, nurtured him and as customary in the Jewish religion, gave him a Hebrew name: Shai Chaim, meaning Gift of Life.  The name suits him.
         
A few years later, in the preschool playground, I spotted my grandson, this little Gift of Life, playing with another little boy.                                    
“Brady, there’s your mommy!” he called out.    
For a brief second, Brady looked as if he were expecting someone else. Then seeing me his face broke out in a big smile of acceptance.
“Mommy!” he yelled with excitement.  
Taken aback, I actually turned to look behind me until I realized he was calling me.   
          
Until that moment, Brady had always referred to me as “Mama.” He couldn’t pronounce the “gr” sound when he was first forming his words, so that’s what stuck. When Brady would hear my daughter call to me, sometimes he would mimic her. I used to chuckle to myself when I’d hear him yelling “Mom!” in full voice from the top of the stairs, sounding just like my daughter. It struck me as cute. I never saw it as a premonition.  

Life is so unpredictable, full of irony. Irony, however, can come at such a cost.                                                                                                                                                

1 comment:

  1. A moving phase of life interesting told, but unfortunately has affected many families. Must be read, could save someone's life as it might well make one aware. Abe Seidman

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