Tuesday, December 6, 2005

A Family In Crisis

There is a little cloud over our family this Holiday Season, but there is light on the horizon. I took this picture a week ago and it seems very fitting for this entry.

I’ve alluded to some family trouble cropping up in a previous post but did not elaborate. Since one of the main reasons I started this journal is for my 6 year-old Grandson Trenton to read it when he grows up, I thought I’d give a little insight into what is going on. Perhaps in a few years, if he reads this as I hope, he will have a better understanding of the events leading up to Christmas 2005, the first Christmas he will spend without the company of his mother or father.

I don’t like to air my family’s dirty laundry; However, this story may have benefit for some that may be going through similar circumstances. It may also serve to fill in some blanks for Trenton a few years from now when he will be older and more capable of coming to terms with family events.

The story really started two years ago, during the Christmas season on 2003. So, sit back and get comfy and I’ll try and fill you in.

It was in December 2003 when we got a collect long distance call from Paulette’s son Trace. He was calling from the Reno, Nevada County Jail facilities. Trace was 31 years old at that time and was married to Danielle. They had a son, Trenton who was going to turn Five in February.

Trace left home a few weeks shy of graduating from high school. Paulette and I had been dating and were getting pretty serious about each other. He eventually got his GED and was off roaming the country with some friends of his, selling meat off the back of a truck. It turns out that Trace was a natural born salesman and did quite well.

We heard from Trace very sporadically through the years, but he seemed to be doing well, although he had a problem with drugs that would rear its ugly head from time to time. We did get to see him once and meet his wife and our Grandchild on a visit to Upstate New York near Watertown when we went to visit Paulette’s father.

The story is that Trace was in jail that December, 2003 for spousal abuse. The side we heard was that Danielle’s sister had gotten mad at Trace during an argument and called the police in Reno, where they were all living at the time, and told them Trace had hit Danielle. Danielle told the arresting policemen that Trace had not hit her, but, upon further questioning, let it slip that Trace had pushed her during an argument and so off Trace went to jail.

Trace got out of jail right around Christmas day or a couple of days afterwards and we made arrangements for the three of them to come here to Georgia to get a new start on life. At first things went well.

Both Trace and Danielle got jobs and moved into their own rental house. They made attempts to pay off some of the money they had to borrow to get moved in and other necessities. But things were not as smooth as they could have been. Danielle was having problems at her work place and so was Trace. Trace changed jobs several times, Danielle changed jobs once, then gave up. She hasn’t worked a day in over six months now.

The drug problems crept back into Trace and Danielle’s life and plunged the lives of Paulette, Aunt Sandy, who lives with us, and me into a vortex of lies, broken promises and heartbreak. Paulette would not give up on them, bless her heart, but it has taken its toll on our finances and put a strain on the entire family. The stress that Paulette has been under is criminal, considering her heart condition that her son is very much aware of. It has all come to a head recently as Paulette and I refused to enable their lifestyle any longer and cut off all financial assistance.

Trace claims he is clean of the drugs, though no strong case can be made there, but Danielle is still out of control. They both need professional help. Trace refuses to acknowledge the need to enter a program.

They are about to be evicted and have no income whatsoever. Trace has been in touch with a friend in the meat business who is going to send him a ticket to fly to California so that Trace can work for his company. Danielle’s father, also in California, is sending her money to fly home and has enrolled her in a thirty-day program for the drug problem. Trace is separating from Danielle, although not legally. They will divorce if she does not complete the drug program, he claims.

We have gotten papers notarized giving us temporary custody of Trenton. We will keep him clothed, fed, and safe until his parents can get their act together, no matter how long it may take. We have the difficult job of making this little boy’s Christmas a happy one in spite of the fact that his parents will be across the nation and not beside the tree with him on Christmas morning.

This has all come to a head this week and may explain to some of my journal buddies why they don’t see my comments in their journals right now. I have my hands full here and my time online is a tenth of what it was before all this came to a boil.

We have some terrific gifts for the little guy to find under the tree. Some items he has wanted for two years now. We will make sure that a few of his presents have tags saying they came from his parents, too. We want him to know they love him and miss him. I will be spending a lot of time with Trenton this holiday season trying to keep him doing little boy things and not dwelling on adult problems.

This dialogue today is not meant as a rant, and I don’t want to be carping about our family problems. I did want to let my extended family know some of what we are facing here. I also want Trenton, years from now, to read this story as I wrote it during the actual time frame that it happened and not from the faulty memory of an aging or biased Grandfather.

Our Christmas will be as happy as we can possibly make it for Trenton. I seek not your sympathy here, but your understanding that we are a family in crisis and we cope, one day at a time.

I wish you all a very happy holiday season, and a very merry Christmas!


rap4143 said...

So sorry for your troubles :(.  Tough love it the best thing you can do for your children.  Trention is one lucky fellow to have caring and loving grandparents.  Merry Christmas to you and your family.


oceanmrc said...

What a lucky little boy he is to have such loving grandparents.  

mosie1944 said...

I think most anyone can relate to these problems in one way or another.  It happens all too often.  God bless you.

ally123130585918 said...

Hi Sam I don't do sympathy - But I do do Praise...I do applaud you for the help you have given the part of your family who is causing you so much grief at this time....I do applaud you for taking in your little Grandson Trenton. and making sure he is going to have a very Happy Christmas - and naming some of the Gift tags from his loving parents. and you spending a lot of time with him over the Holidays. doing the little boy things....Just make sure you tell him what Loving and thoughful Grandparents he has...but he will work that out for himself when in years to come he reads your Journal...Ally

childebrand1968 said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again... Trenton is a lucky little boy to have you guys!

I am sorry that this is happening to him, you and Paulette.  I'm sure that he has days where he doesn't understand why his parents aren't home.  But, he is so much better off in a stable environment right now.  Besides, he has a lot to learn from his Grandpa and the docks :)  

I do hope Trace is clean and that his wife gets there soon.  It isn't an easy road, by any means... but it can be accomplished.  

Christmas will be special for Trenton, you will see to that...  All you can do is the best you can.  It sounds like that's what you are doing to me :)

Take care, Sam, and keep in touch when you can....


jen73169 said...

I think you might be suprised at how many of us have dealt with the same (or very similar) situation although coming at Christmas adds yet another layer to the whole situation. I know you dont need me or anyone else to tell you that you are doing all the right things in this situation but I do think your choices are sound. I have seen your desire and intent to always put your grandson 1st in all your decisions and I admire that so much.

madcobug said...

Trenton is lucky in one way as he has you and your wife in his life. Glad you and she have custody right now for that is were he should be. I hope the little guy has a very good Christmas with you two. Good idea to make some of the presents to be from his parents. Hopefully they will straighten out their lives and give him the home he deserves. I will be in prayer for all of you that things will go right. Helen

candace636 said...

I wish there was something I could say that would help, but having lived through something like it I know how difficult this is for all of you. The hardest thing I have ever done is to say "no more" to "P".  I will keep all of you in my prayers for health and peace.........

robinngabster said...

Sending you, Paulette, Trenton and Aunt Sandy all my love and wishes for a happy holiday.  Miracles can happen and this certainly is the season for that. xo Robin

sieblonde said...

It sounds like it's been a very rough time for everyone.   It takes two very loving people to step in and take control of things gone so very out of control.

I can only imagine how difficult this is and continues to be.  

Sending special Christmas prayers and wishes to you all.  I hope too that there is a happy ending for everyone when all is said and done.  

Sie http://persnicketypfft.blogspot.com/

tc01hm said...

Bless you for caring and doing something!
A former foster parent,

slbourgoyne said...

Darling Sam,  Prayers are on the way.  We have lived the one day at a time program for 23 years now.  "It works if you work it."   Sounds like you are handling it beautifully. Take care of yourself and Paulette and Trenton and let us know if we can help.  For all his gruffness, Rusty is a very good counselor when it comes to the program.  Love to all of you.  Merry Christmas.  Lynn

my3gifts said...

I'm sitting here trying not to cry, because your love for Trenton is so obvious. Although his parents have some huge issue's and obstacles they have to get through, he's very blessed to have you and Paulette as his grandparents who love him so much. It's a rare blessing (in today's world) to see adults trying their best to keep a child a child vs pushing those adult problems onto the child.
I will be praying for your whole family, especially precious Trenton.

God Bless you and give that little boy an extra hug from a soldiers wife in Germany! :)

Christy http://journals.aol.com/my3gifts/TalesfromtheFrontandtheonesleftB/

karensull12 said...

Thanks for sharing this Sam...I think that you are doing the right thing.  I'm sure your grandson will remember your kindness more clearly than he will remember the bad stuff because if children have just one person in this world who takes the time to tell them they are loved and cherished, then they will survive all the rest.  I will pray for his parents that they get the help they need and that they start to act like adults and not selfish children.  I understand that the drugs are clouding the judgement, but then they need to get help to overcome the addiction.  Any parent who doesn't put their child's needs first has something terribly wrong with them...I'm happy your grandson has you and your wife.  I'm sure the holidays will be happy for you all.

sanforized6 said...

Thank you so much for letting us in on such a personal sad story. I think what you are doing is most noble and hope there is a "happy ending" some where, out there. You spend all the time with Trenton that you can, we certainly understand. You, probably, should be nominated for "sainthood, or something!" LOL  May the three of you have the Merriest Christmas and the Happiest new Year!!! rich

astaryth said...

Trenton is one lucky little boy to have Grandparents like you.

nightmaremom said...

{{{{{{{{{{Sam & Paulette}}}}}}}}}  Our thoughts are with you.. prayers and good wishes.  You both are so strong and Trenton will remember this forever... he is so lucky to have a nana & pappa such as you.  If you need anything give a hollar we will do what we can.  

mutualaide said...

Sam, your extended family is right here waiting for you whenever time allows. Thank you for sharing this very personal story.  Trenton will have a wonderful Christmas in yours and Paulette's loving arms.  Prayers and hugs for ALL of you.

alphawoman1 said...

I am sending you heartfelt vibes of good will and stregnth for the season. Trenton is truly blessed to be with family who loves him and not in a foster home.

guru4yall said...

What a wonderful entry! Not a rant at all so don't give that another thought. I hope it will give other grandparents who may potentially be in a similar situation to step in and keep a grandchild out of foster care and as far from the court system as possible. Once again I find myself having read an entry of yours and wishing I could write as well. Keep it up and thanks for sharing.

barbpinion said...

Dear Sam. I grew seeing my mother beaten every day, once so badly she spent close to a year in a hospital, so can more than relate to this entry. And I've been through what you're going through right now, with the drugs and all, plus we had four grandchildren in and out of our home till our children got their acts together. They are grown now, doing well - raising children of their own. I don't see this entry as a rant, but simply as sharing with those who love you. Please know I have entered your family into my Prayer Notebook and will be praying for all of you each morning and evening. Your grandson is blessed to be at your house, and I'm sure he fills your hearts to overflowing.
Holidays, unfortunately, bring out the worst in people going through a crisis, especially those who drink or use drugs. This entry, I'm sure will help others.
God bless you, dear one.
Barb- http://journals.aol.com/barbpinion/HEYLETSTALK

globetrotter2u said...


I hope and pray that Trenton's parents will work through their personal demons and agonies and that someday you will look back at this trial with a smile.

I'm positive that God has placed you and Paulette in this little boy's life to give him all the love and security that he needs.

I am very sorry this has been so difficult. The worries,extra financial burdens all work together to steal our joy.

May God bless you and your family this Christmas and may something good come out of all this pain in the end.

With love, from an extended family member,

coljan61 said...

Well told!!  You know you have our support.  You have everything you need to be a great grandpa and surrogate DAD.  Trenton will always know that you guys went the extra mile.

vortexgirl said...

Merry Christmas to you as well.  :)

blondepennierae said...

There are many families that have had to face this heart break.  So many of the teenagers that hang out at my house have stories of parents lost to drugs or alcohol.  I could write a book about the damaged children that I have had ask if they could live with me.  It breaks my heart.  On the other hand there is great joy here ...  you and Paulette are loving and supportive people.  Trenton has warmth, love, and acceptance in your home. Trenton obviously will miss his parents, but being welcomed into your home he stands a wonderful chance of becoming a warm and accepting man like his grandfather, void of the hurt and damage.  God Bless You Both, Pennie      

hewasolddog299 said...

Sam, you have my sympathy and support as you may need... just holler. I've been through and continue with similar issues with a couple of my stepchildren and our grandchildren. Keep the faith; know these things usually resolve over time, but it's tough going when it is happening to you.


mavarin said...

Sam, it's abundantly clear that your priorities and your heart are in exactly the right place.  You're doing all the right things for Trenton, and it sounds like the tough love toward his parents are helping to give each of them a fighting chance to get their lives together.  Don't worry about the rest of us - we'll still be here if you need a break from things, and we'll be thinking about you, with our love and prayers. - Karen

stupidsheetguy said...

I thought about all the things that I could write here, Sam, but aside from the Blessings that Trenton will most definitely recognize in the future, I think he will truly understand just what the term "hero" refers to. It's defined by going above and beyond the call of duty. And if I have ever seen an illustration of "love in action" that was more fitting than this, I would be hard pressed to remember it.

You're a man of unique character, my friend, and your Paulette is a woman of same. The young fella will remember this long after it's been assigned to the archives of your family history. I can think of no greater gift than what you're giving him this year.

Your family and you are all in my prayers this very night, because this is the dark time that will lead to an incredibly bright future for all involved. My very best wishes to you, Sam.

Take all the time you need, and know that, no matter what, you always have a place here to call home, a place where you'll always be welcomed and admired. I wish you the happiest of Christmas Seasons this year.


ef849 said...

You have to know this community surrounds you and your family with alot of hugs and prayers this holiday season. One day Trenton will be able to read and know in his heart that he was loved. You and Paulette deserve to have a blessed life and I for one would count Trenton a blessing amongst all the turmoil and pain.  May God give you the strengh (and energy) that you will need in the coming days.

sistercdr said...

Oh, Sam. You don't have my pity, but you and your family have my prayers.  I wish there was more I could do.

chatzeekay said...

Sad story I can realte to this entry i lost cusdoy of my son due to domestic viloence on husbands part. I am a mother to my son not under the same roof.  good to hear from you. its important for you to write about your famliy it a journal others who faced challenges can read and learn something, the grass is green somewhere there is a sun shing through dark clouds that linger in the skies. I plan to get custody of my son one day, but its so complicated and A good laywer cost so much, I know I will get nation wide publicty for the book I write but not only that the outcome would be a higher coiurt.  I still going to stand strong. Being amother and domestic viloence survior, and a medical condtion with other terms of medication, I guess you can say drugs are bad,,,,, But cannabis does help those who are sick coke and the rest can suffcate you from your life,

coy1234787 said...

Trenton is one lucky little boy to have grandparents that love him so.
Thoughts and prayers with you and yours this holiday season my friend.

                             *** Coy ***

bvaneps834 said...

So glad Trenton is with you and Paulette. There are many grandparents raising kids these days and I know you two will do an excellent job. Have missed seeing your entries and hope when things settle down you will be back. Until then , Sam, just do what ya hafta---and know we are praying for you all. Barb

rivercitygirl1 said...

Sam, little Trenton is very lucky to have you as a grandpa.  I'll be praying for your family.  Have a safe and healthy Christmas season.

ladyhasflava said...

You are an awesome man...I came across your journal from Libragems and I must say..Its a blessing to read about someone who is keeping the faith and just being a true father and grandfather..My prayers to you and your family. Your children are blessed to have parents such as you and your wife. Continue to focus on God for the healing of things that have gone astray...Your faith from what I can see will definitely bring your family through...Awesome entry..thanks for sharing...FLAVA

gdireneoe said...

Hi Sam.  Just a quick pop in to let you know I'm not getting my damned alerts.  You left a comment over at Libragem's place...yesterday I think?...so I thought I would pop in and say "hi".  Hi ;)  C.  http://journals.aol.com/gdireneoe/thedailies

jtuwliens said...

Nothing but appreciation and admiration from me.  Take care of yourself and your family.  That is what is most important!

bedazzzled1 said...

Your story is one that I am sure will strike more than a few chords with many who are facing similar difficulties. As for Trenton, he may not have his parents with him on Christmas, but he will be surrounded by love from two people who can provide him with stability and warmth and a healthy environment. (And God bless you for seeing to it that there will be some presents tagged as being from him parents.)

I hope you, Paulette, and Trenton will all have a very Merry Christmas and let your own inner child come out to play. ::big smile::


csandhollow said...

HUn I am here whenever you need to talk.

jevanslink said...

Great entry -- your grandson will be happy you wrote it for him.  

While you're at it, kill the porn link.  I thought all the comments were gone at first.  But I guess the porn folks just took up a lot of space.

Mrs. L

indigosunmoon said...

I have no doubt that you will make this Christmas
for Trenton a very happy one.  I can only hope
that his parents will one day grow up and realize
the wonderful gift they have been given in their
child.  The gift that they are just pissing away.
Much love to you,

delela1 said...


May you and Paulette find the peace during this time to keep your inner light shining onto Trenton's path.  With your wisdom and guidance, he will cope because as long as he has the two of you, he will have hope.

It takes a very strong person to accept the responsibility you have, and courage to take the steps you have taken.  Wishing you many special moments to carry you through this holiday season...


lurkynat said...

Dear Sam,
(((((Sam))))) , (((((Paulette)))))) and (((((trenton)))))).
Hugs to you valient three!I am very upset adn sad by this chain of events.
I believe, as you and Paulette do, that when you have a child to raise that becomes your sacred duty above all else.I am so sorry that this is happening now Sam.I send love and emotional support and wishes for strength for the little boy and for Paouletee's kids to come to their senses.

ryanagi said...

Sam - it's a wonderful thing you are doing for that little boy. He needs stability and I'm sure he will get it from his grandparents. I hope his parents get their act together soon, for Trenton's sake.

dtbrierly said...

Sam, writing a journal is for healing, support and prosperity.  You have stepped up and helped everyone in this situation.  By not enabling Trace and Danielle financially, they are trying to get their lives back.  Trenton will not be pulled in to the drama, but will have a great Christmas with grandma & grandpa (what a gift). By allowing us into your journey you are helping others who are also swimming in rough waters.  Most of all, you are taking the helm for your presious wife's health and giving her quality time with her grandson that will help her not to worry quite as much.  I'm keeping you all in my prayer's and wishing you all a Merry Christmas!  

Thank you for sharing Sam :)


libragem007 said...

Hi Sam,
Thank you for stopping by my journal. Trenton is blessed to have you and Paulette in his life. He'll have all the best Christmas with you--the love and time both you & Paulete are willing to give him.
Gem :-)

ajoleblon said...

God Bless You Sam.  There are no words to convey the sadness in my heart for your family situation. but being a faithful and loving man, I am sure from this, you will see a greater good surface.

Joyeaux Noel'

ondinemonet said...


Just coming by with a hug ((((Sam))) I will be thinking of all of you now and throughout the holidays. When I was having a tough time back in August you told me to go one day at a time. That was pretty good advice. I works. One day at a time Sam. :)

Always, Carly

jmorancoyle said...

     Merry Christmas, Sam. And a very merry Christmas to Trenton. I will not offer my sympathy, but instead my prayers. There isn't a family anywhere in this huge country that isn't facing something. It isn't the problems that we face that's important, it is how we handle them. Trenton has wonderful grandparents.

belfastcowboy75 said...

Sorry about all this, Sam, but proud of you and Paulette for stopping the financial enabling. Don't ever let her feel guilty about it; it had to be done. I wish I had more confidence that those two would finally grow up, but unlike most of the folks who comment here, I don't believe in prayers or things happening for a reason. You are giving your step-son a role model of how a real man behaves.

labdancer51 said...

I hope you and you Paulette have a wonderful Christmas with Trenton, who I am sure is looking forward to Santa`s visit. :o)

Sandra xxxx

jouell3935 said...

Trenton will have a wonderful CHristmas...I hope that you both do as well. I know the underlying heartbreaking part of it is there. Enjoy Trenton's day...You are both beautiful people to take him under your wing. Drug addiction is a force that can overwhelm not just the person yet the family. Your efforts and your heart are full.

Merry Christmas!


sieoftopaz said...

I hope things are going better.  Merry Christmas to you and your family.  ~Sie  

debbted said...

Dearest Sam, You are an outstanding example of a human being and a grandfather! That might sound gushy, but it's from the heart. I wish you & yours the best Christmas! It's always fun to have young children around to play with and watch esp. at this time of year. I surely didn't consider this entry "an airing of dirty laundry"; quite to the contrary--a class act! No one ever said tough love was easy. Hugs to Trenton and blessings & prayers for your whole family~Sassy ;-)


sunnyside46 said...

prayers and love to all of you

piperacharmed1 said...

I hope his parents get their act together so they may all be a family again one day. Trenton is blessed in the meantime to have grandparents in his life who are willing and able to care for him. May he have the best Christmas possible this year.


bvaneps834 said...

Hope the clouds are falling away and the sun is coming out for your family.Sounds like Trenton's folks need the SON as much as the sun. He is the strength I know I need. Blessings on you guys and have a Merry Christmas!  Barb

astaryth said...

Just dropping in to Wish you a Merry Christmas. I know you are busy right now, but I just wanted you to know I miss hearing from you!

mcjerseygiri said...

Trenton is such a lucky little guy that when his parents need help they are getting it in that you are NOT enabling them. He is getting what HE needs right now too. I have always liked and respected you Sam but honestly you just went way up on that score. I pray that Paulette will able to focus on Trenton and not Trace but as a mother I know how hard that will be for her. You will all be in my prayers and I hope that Trace can do what he needs to for himself and his son. Merry Christmas and hoping this finds your new year resolving the problems at hand. Hugs., Nelle

fitzzer said...

Hi Sam - I can only imagine how difficult this has been for all of you. My extended family is facing the same sort of thing right now. It's not easy, but hopefully with support they will all get through it. I'm glad Trenton has you and Paulette to look after him. I know how much you love him and you'll make the holiday a special one for him. Sending all my best wishes to all of you. ((hugs)) ~ Lori

astaryth said...

Just stopping by to Wish you a Happy New Year from our house to yours! I miss seeing your posts, but I am sure you have your hands quite full right now. When you have time, we will still be here!

bvaneps834 said...

Am missing your entries. Hope things are going ok for your family and that Trenton has a happy Christmas in spite of not having his parents. Best to you all for a better new year. Barb

beguine99 said...

Trenton is a very lucky boy to have you in his life.  Hang in there.  When the dust settles, I look forward to reading your posts again, but for now I hold you in my thoughts and send my best wishes.  You are doing such an important thing now, giving this child some stability and love.  Thank you.

memes121 said...

Hello friend. I am so sorry I didn't get this entry alert. AOL has messed up some of mine. Anyway, that little boy is very lucky to have you two. I will keep all of you in my prayers. God bless.