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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Friday, January 20, 2012

EXCERPT- "We Project Great Things For Our Children"

            Neither Stu nor I could believe that we were even in this position; we didn’t smoke, drink or use drugs. This was far from our comfort zone. We spent countless hours re-hashing her life, what we should have done better, what we did wrong and what we should have done differently, all the while blaming each other. This was our child, so it had to be our fault!  
            What happened to our baby? We named her after my beloved grandmother so that unconditional love would be part of her being. She was swaddled in a pink blanket made by Stu’s mother, to add sweetness and gentility to her life and my mother gave her a huge Raggedy Ann doll for protection. Jaime was the sweetest and most Bohemian of our children. She strived for originality even in elementary school. Her fashion whims would have even impressed her idol, Cindy Lauper, as would her musical talent. We had such hope for our child. At age thirteen, at her Bat Mitzvah, Stu and I offered her advice: “Consider all that life offers and choose wisely so that you can strengthen the values which define you as an individual. We offer all our love, support and guidance to help you complete the precious collection of ideas and feelings which make you the unique and wonderful person you are.” I missed those days of innocence and hoped she would choose wisely.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Brady remains our touchstone. For example, a few days after entering first grade in a new school, he confronted me out of the blue, hands on his hips: “So what are you, my step mom or what?” Taken aback, I responded, “No, Brady, because a step mom wouldn’t be related to you. You have my blood running through your veins.” He looked a bit confused. “Brady,” I continued, “I’m your grandmother and because I take care of you; I’m also your mom. You have two in one!” He said, “How about Dad?” I said, “Same thing.” Then he got a very serious look on his face and said, “So, let me get this straight. In real life, if Jaime were still my mom, you’d be my grandmother. But because she couldn’t do it, you’re my mom?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “God made a good decision.”  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Please let me know what you think with your comments. Should we read our children's diaries if we think they're in trouble? 

Jaime was understandably livid when I told her what I had done. 
“How could you do that, Mom?” she screamed. “You had no right! You intruded on my privacy!”                        
“Jaime, I’m sorry, but it’s my duty,” I desperately improvised, “my duty as your mother, to protect you. If I don’t know what’s going on, then I can’t help you. And you need help!”                        
“I hate you for this,” she screamed. “I will never trust you, again.”                                 
She slammed her bedroom door and locked it.                                                

The next morning, I was referred to a therapist who treated adolescents. Jaime was still angry, perhaps justifiably so, but reluctantly she agreed to go. After about two months of weekly visits, the therapist met with me. “Jaime has a healthy view of herself,” she said with confidence. “Don’t worry. She’s fine.”            
Had my daughter snowed the therapist, just as I had snowed adults when I was a teenager?  Jaime got involved in wholesome high school activities, drum line and show choir, and met some very nice friends. Maybe the therapist was right. I felt encouraged and hoped this would give her the self-worth I felt she desperately needed.

Jaime seemed to live a double life. On the one hand, she was wholesome, talented and sweet. On the other, she was conniving, sneaky and trashy. In hindsight, Stu and I should have been stronger with our convictions and our parenting, but we weren’t. Her transgressions went unchecked. Because we viewed Jaime as fragile, we always gave her the benefit of the doubt. We just never thought she’d turn to drugs.