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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Friday, January 27, 2012

Excerpt from Chapter: RAISING BRADY


This chapter could have been called “Spoiling Brady” because that’s one grandparent trait we’ve had difficulty abandoning. As much as we don’t want to spoil him, we’ve lost the battle many times, which our grown kids are only too happy to remind us.

With all Brady’s been through, we wanted to afford him as much pleasure as possible. To Brady, like many boys, that meant anything with wheels. It began at two years old with fire trucks and police cars. We spent our weekends, with Brady in tow, visiting local fire and police stations (he knew the firefighters by name) and to local fairs where fire engines and police motorcycles were on display. We couldn’t do enough for him, most likely overcompensating, because Jaime wasn’t there.
            
When Brady added autos and racecars to his repertoire on wheels, his collection totaled at least five hundred cars. He knows where every car came from and knows if one is missing.    

“When I grow up, I want to make billions and trillions of dollars!” Brady exclaimed.  “I want seven Ferrari’s and each one will be a different color for each day,” he confidently stated. “That way, if one breaks, I’ll go to the next one.”  Maybe he should raise us!  
          

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Excerpt: HOPE IS ALL WE HAVE


Jaime spent two hours trying to tell us how ridiculous we were, that we were wasting her time. “The drugs belonged to my friend,” she lied.                                            
“Just take the test, Jaime,” I said through clenched teeth. “If you’re innocent, the test will prove it.”
Coaxing and coaxing, I was beside myself with exasperation.                                          
“Don’t bother with the test,” she dismally said. “I’m not clean.”                                                           

We said she needed to leave our home and figure out a way to get sober. Stu and I promised we would take care of Brady, who was a little over two years old at the time.                                    

Against our advice to go into a six-month locked rehab, which she could afford with its sliding scale fee, she chose to go back to the same sober living home she failed at twice before. She feared that going into a locked facility and not being able to work; she’d lose her clients and be limited to her visits with Brady. But that would happen, anyway, if she couldn’t get clean. At least, there, she’d have a chance at sobriety.            

Her plan was not promising. However, no one knows when someone decides to get sober. Maybe this was her time and we held onto our hope.