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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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chapter Excerpt: GRANDPARENTS AS PARENTS -Can Anyone Relate?

Being grandparents as parents is a unique life. Some people miss out on their childhood; we’re missing out on our golden years. At this stage in life, Stu and I were supposed to be planning European cruises, not cruises by Disney. We looked forward to getting up leisurely on the weekend, not at six o’clock in the morning and, most certainly, not to the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants on the TV! We can’t always accept invitations because we’re at the mercy of finding a babysitter. My days are bookended by school drop-offs and pick-ups, with not much time in the middle. How can the day go so fast? Early evenings were supposed to be filled with relaxing activities like preparing a quiet dinner for Stu and I, or soaking in a hot tub, while he picked up dinner. Instead, I’m making grilled cheese sandwiches -and taking a leisurely bath? That means, while I sponge quickly, Brady’s running past my tub after his “Nano” battery-run bugs, yelling for me to watch. It’s back to the chaotic daily life that only a child can provide. Don’t get me wrong, in Brady we’ve been given a joyful gift of life that we wouldn’t trade for the world; but we’ve also been given a few lifelong challenges.

“Brady, it’s time to do homework!” I call out.
“Can’t it wait until later?” he pleads. “I want to play.”
“If you wait until later, you’ll be too tired and you still have to practice piano,” I tiredly answer. “And I need time to make dinner.”
“But, Mom,“ he argues, “I’m a kid, and kids are supposed to play. It makes us happy.
He always manages to make me smile.
“Well,” I say, “you are a kid, and you are supposed to play. But your first job is schoolwork.
Then I try the competitive approach.
“Brady, how come your cousin Aidan does his work without arguing and looks forward to solving math problems?”
“Mom,” he says as if I’m clueless, “Aidan and I are two very different people. We were made that way, so we don’t do things the same.”
What can I say to that?
“You’re right, Brady, but you still need to do your work.”

After more coercing, we finally sit down together to do homework. He’ll look bored, play with the pencil until it flies out of his hand, argue that his printing is neat when it isn’t; and homework that should take fifteen minutes, is taking forty-five!”
How many more years of homework do I have to look forward to?