you will meet Adam's family ...
| TONY | STEVEN | RYAN
| JONATHAN | ADAM | KATIE
| MARIA | GRACE
is the mother of five beautiful children. A "stay-at-home" mom since
our son Steven was born, the closeness and personalities of all five children
have been molded by her dedication to family. Her achievements, as a high
school honor student, was crucial in the role of teacher after doctors
recommended home schooling after Adam was born to keep down the risk of
germs being brought home. Steven is just returning to public high school
as a freshman, but Ryan and Jonathan will continue to be home schooled
for at least another year. While most parents would probably stop at four
children, after what happened when Adam was born, Daisy still wanted a
girl. She got her wish two years after Adam was born when little Katie
arrived. Daisy may be "Queen Of The House" but she now has a "Little
Princess" in the royal lineage. What could have been a lonely journey,
over these past four years, has been shared via the Internet with new,
close friends. Feeling completely alone with the problems surrounding Adam's
birth, Daisy soon discovered there are other mothers dealing with similar
problems all over the country. Staying in touch daily, sharing pictures
and stories, these women have become close and continued to provide the
morale support before, during and after Adam's operation. In some cases,
those mothers had also lost their child and no one except another who has
been in that place, can understand the pain and loss Daisy will continue
to deal with for many years to come.
is the man referred to as Steven's "other father". It was Steven,
on his own at age 6, who decided Tony was "Daddy" and I was "Dad".
That hurt my feelings at first, until Daisy explained his reference to
as a respectful term ... an acknowledgment of his father. Tony, who at
the time was more a friend, sometimes even a playmate of sorts, received
a different title that showed respect but placed him in a slightly different
role. Neither term shows more, or less respect, it just provided a definition
set by a six-year old who had to cope with a divorce. It wasn't easy, at
first, to tolerate this man who invaded the relationship with my son. After
finally meeting, alone, with Tony and talking to him did things change
for the better. Tony has no qualms about asking me for help in something,
and I have done the same many times. In spite of a painful divorce, I knew
things were going right when Steven's kindergarten teacher (during our
first meeting) told me he often "brags about his two fathers". A
brief example ... when Steven first played T-Ball, parents often wore the
same team shirt as their children, with the same player number except a
zero before it. Tony, an assistant coach, was concerned that I might be
offended if he wore the same number. Instead, I would often drive all the
way back from Atlanta, Georgia for a game proudly watching my son wearing
2, while I wore 02 ... the same number as the guy coaching first base!
Tony deserves all the respect I can give. Not only does he treat Steven
just like the other children, he has struggled valiantly to provide for
his growing family. As a union electrician, he struggled with lay-offs
and missed opportunities. After Adam was born, there was no chance to take
on more lucrative jobs offered, that required being a long distance from
home. During that first year of Adam's life one parent was always at home,
while the other was with Adam. Fortunately, Tony has found a decent job
here where bosses and co-workers are very supportive during the ordeal
the family faced this past spring. As Daisy said, "Adam was Tony's heart"
and I watched this man struggle to remain strong for everyone else during
and after the funeral. I knew his heart was breaking!
my pride and joy (if you haven't figured that out). I will admit there
was a problem when Daisy became pregnant. I didn't believe we were ready
for a child and that caused some problems. Being the eternal pessimist
I fretted over finances, whether the child would be healthy, how little
time I might have with a child working two jobs, and everything else to
eliminate the joys of fatherhood. That changed in the blink of an eye just
over fifteen years ago. Watching as a doctor cut Daisy open, I saw this
gray, almost wax like creature, appear that went through several rapid
color changes before uttering a cry. Someone forgot to inform the nurse
that Paul did NOT hold small babies! Placing a little bundle in my arms,
she said, "Here Dad, we're gonna let you carry your son to the nursery.".
I hardly remember that walk ... other than I don't think my feet touched
the floor. I was awestruck and walking on air! My memories of Steven, as
a child, could fill up another website this size, so I won't. He was an
intelligent and well-mannered child, now a teenager that has yet to show
any signs of the problems many parents face with kids that age (sometimes
that scares me!). I do believe his solid footing is a combination of the
close bond with his mother, the closeness we shared during his early years,
the continued relationship I share with his mother, and her husband, his
sibling and his self-imposed "guardianship" of Adam. Those two were
so close it was more than brothers ... it was often like parent and child.
Steven took his responsibility of watching over his little brother very
seriously. When you first entered the website you may have heard the audio
clip of Faith Hill's song from "Pearl Harbor". Family was
all around when I went over to Steven's house after getting the news about
Adam. Going outside to talk privately, Steven asked if I had heard the
new song which had just been released. I found it odd he was talking about
a song on the radio, which he interestingly enough described as "powerful".
Thinking it was just a diversion, I thought little of it until two days
later when I saw the video on TV. I saw little of it as tears streamed
down my face ... Steven had connected the words of that song with his little
Tony's first-born, took Steven from being an only child into a whole new
realm. Starting with Ryan, there was an understanding between Daisy and
I that "step with a hyphen" is not a word ... for any reason. This
was Steven's brother ... no questions asked! Ryan was the first of four
children who would hear the term "Uncle Paul". How else do you explain
the complexities of divorce to little children? I remember seeing Ryan,
for the first time, at the hospital. While Tony and Daisy were at ease,
as I walked in, there was a stunned silence among the friends and family
members who had gathered in the room. This isn't supposed to happen ...
not in real life! Ryan is the one who first taught Steven responsibility
in a way parents can't. From Ryan, he learned the art of sharing and caring,
plus watching out for "the little guy" ... concepts that would be
crucial once Adam was born.
the next in line, follows along after Ryan in many ways but probably a
tad more hyper. He has this fear of me that is justified since he was younger.
Picking up Steven from his grandmother's house, I agreed to take his two
brothers along until Daisy could swing by to pick them up. Steven and Ryan
both tried their best to keep Jonathan settled down. Instead, he was bouncing
off the walls and literally bouncing on my couch. Demands to stop were
met with taunting laughter and after I had enough, Jonathan was snatched
off the couch and received a single "pop" on the place God padded
for that purpose. Naturally, he told his mother immediately upon her arrival
but she knew me well enough to know what happened. Steven's discipline
had always that he was told once ... and a "pop" followed if it
didn't cease. Not a whipping or beating .. a single "pop" on the
rear. Jonathan pouted for months and hid every time I came over, but I
think he is past that now. I can say he is certainly the most well-mannered,
well-behaved, and polite child when I take him, Ryan, and Steven somewhere.
Very much like Steven, he doesn't "push the envelope" out of fear
... he simply has chosen not to venture into the the area of the unknown.
is who this site is all about so I won't spend any time in this section
on him. The one thing I will always remember, and treasure, is the day
Adam came over to where I was sitting in front of the computer helping
Tony with a problem. Adam climbed up on my lap and placed his head against
my chest ... the most precious moment I will always remember when I think
is the baby but someone forgot to inform her. She has already learned to
manipulate her brothers and would taunt Adam unmercifully at times. Not
cruelly ... she just didn't understand Adam's fragile condition and care
had to be taken to make sure she didn't play too rough, as would be normal
among siblings. Often, when I would come over, Katie stayed a respectful
distance just watching and observing. It was an emotional moment when Katie
walked over to me, recently, and held out her arms to be picked up. She
is a darling little flirt ... sometimes a show off, who will grow up to
break a lot of guys' hearts. Katie is the only family member who will grow
up with little, if any memory of her brother Adam. What Katie will know
is all the beautiful stories that she will be told her by the rest of the
family. Probably one of the most precious, yet heartbreaking moments was
the day she went into Adam's room and dressed in some of his clothes, and
came out to Daisy with a big smile. Daisy had to hide the stabbing pain
in her heart knowing Katie was simply missing Adam. The two youngest children
had always taken their baths together and after Adam's death, it took over
a week before Katie could be coerced into taking a bath alone.
is the one person I would be remiss by excluding her from this section.
as she is called, is the German moniker for Grandmother. Both of
Steven's grandmothers are German so my mother is referred to as
Maria is what I call the ideal mother-in-law. Since we first met, she is
one of the sweetest, kindest, most giving people in the world. Even after
the divorce she still remains close friends with my mother, as she did
with my father before he passed away. Following the divorce, Maria knew
I was staying at hotels every weekend when I came back from Atlanta and
offered to let me stay at her house ... that's just who she is. What former
mother-in-law do you know that ALWAYS remembers your birthday and Christmas?
What woman do you know that still treats you like a son-in-law? She has
never put aside the fact I am the father of her grandson ... and for that
I both love and respect her, and always will. Many believe there are "angels
among us". I know it is true because I have met two of them ... Maria
"Be not forgetful to entertain
strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." ~Hebrews
Tony's mother is known as "Grandma Grace". Not saying much about
her, in this section, is not a reflection of the part she plays in the
lives of all the children but rather my personal relationship with her.
We have met on a number of occasions at the hospital and during holidays.
Understandably, it is sometimes an awkward situation for the two of us
but she has always been respectful and courteous. Grace treats Steven no
different than the others and that alone earns my respect for her. I should
note that it was Grace who stepped forward first to hug me as I entered
the home the night Adam passed away.