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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Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Great Review-Thank You!

5.0 out of 5 stars An important and valuable book for any parent of teenagersMarch 5, 2014
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This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
This is a harrowing story, sometimes hard to read because the outcome is so tragic. Lynne Gassel writes with a rare honesty about the ways she feels she may have failed her daughter and herself. She never tries to rationalize or equivocate. What she learned about addiction and her insights into codependency and raising a grandchild after tragedy strikes make this book a valuable read not only for parents of known substance abusers, but for all parents of children entering their teen years.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

AMAZON REVIEW:5.0 out of 5 stars A heart-wrenching and inspirational story

5.0 out of 5 stars A heart-wrenching and inspirational story ...March 6, 2014
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This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
Lynne Gassel shares a personal tale of family tragedy, resilience and ultimate triumph. Her incredible journey is told in an honest, no-nonsense and conversational way that carries the reader on every twist and turn of her emotional roller coaster ride. It must have been difficult but cathartic to write about these trials and tribulations. Even if one hasn't dealt with issues of a child's addiction, this is an important book for any parent to read.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Oh, No...Long Division!

For many empty nesters in our age group, math problems (unless tallying up what you spent on groceries) are a thing of the past. Not in my household or other households where grandparents are raising grandchildren. It's our "now" and one of the most dreaded tasks that is back to taunt and challenge us. Long division? Converting fractions? What's a rhombus again? We can't even remember what we went to the refrigerator to get and now we have to dig up something we never liked in the first place. Plus we have to seem like experts because these kids are relying on us! I can tolerate packing the daily lunch box, having a catch while my knees ache and play never-ending Nerf wars; but help with math? Nooooooooo, please!

First, my husband, the engineer sat with Brady to help him. When I looked at Brady's worksheet, my husband had written out what looked like hundreds of problem variations, much like I'd imagined something Albert Einstein would do! Brady was in tears. So now it was my turn to try to help him understand how to convert fractions. I was in a sweat. Suddenly, me, the artist and average math student began to remember how to do it. But explain it to Brady? Miraculously, as I was figuring it out, I did some small drawings to show him the steps and he began to get it. I don't know who was more excited -Brady or me.

It took us over an hour to do the problems. Would I rather be watching "American Idol" or reading a good book or be taking a leisurely bath? Sure. When I was an empty nester for a fleeting moment, that would have been my answer. But to see the delight on our little boy's face that he could do this and for the elation in my heart that I could do this with him; I wouldn't have it any other way. Bring on the calculus!