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.

"The Addict's Mom Sharing Without Shame" Video is so important whether addiction has touched your life or not. It's powerful. Please click on the link below to watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHNZbbePiKg

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Monday, January 9, 2012


“I’m five years old, I know Karate, and I can take the pressure.”   -Brady, age 4-1/2

A therapist once told me that a child needs just one person to give them love and consistency in order to thrive; Brady has two. Because Stu and I were always present whether Jaime was there or wasn’t; the changeover for Brady when Jaime left was much less traumatic. It seemed almost natural when he transitioned into calling me, Mommy and Stu, Daddy. They were the roles he needed us in at the time.    


As time went on, we felt like Brady was our child. We had to feel that way to parent him properly. We parent him like a natural parent but with the unconditional love of a grandparent. It’s not easy. We have to be the disciplinarians; when what we really want to do is read lots of books to him, keep him up late and spoil him like other grandparents we know. It’s a fine line and complicated to balance. Brady needed parents more than grandparents so Stu and I eventually abandoned the latter role. Although, he’s missing out on having grandparents, I know he feels the duality by our actions and attitude. Luckily, three of his great grandparents are still alive and even though they are on the east coast, they have shifted into the grand parenting roles. Brady knows that we’re his grandparents, but we’re Mom and Dad to him.