They will cherish the weekends, the ballgames and the walks in a park.
But for some grandparents, and even great-grandparents, when their role is recast to one of primary caregiver — again — it is a completely different picture.
“I am 72 years old and on a fixed income,” writes a great-grandmother from Malden, the “proud great-grandmother of my great-grandson who is under my custody due to his parents not being able or willing to care for him.”
Being a senior parent to a nine-year-old child is a difficult task. This was made worse by the death of her husband in January. “Things have been very hard and stressful,” she writes.
Bellingham’s great-grandparents, who are now retired and depend on Social Security when their grandson was granted legal custody, face the same challenges.
“We do appreciate any help Globe Santa can give us” the great-grandmother writes, adding “PS — we are struggling with the high prices.”
One of the greatest challenges for grandparents who have become parents is feeding their children. It is a problem that affects all of us.
The term for it is “food insecurity,” — constantly facing the prospect of not having enough to eat. It was a problem that 34 million Americans faced in 2021. As grim as that statistic is, it’s worse for households headed by grandparents, one-fourth of which faced food insecurity in 2020, twice the national rate.
They want to make holidays joyful for the children they care for. Globe Santa helps them realize their wish.
“My mother and I are still guardians of my grandson,” a Saugus grandmother writes in the elegant but slightly shaky handwriting of an older person. “He is now seven years old. He is happy, healthy and appreciates his family’s love and support. He doesn’t ask for much.”
Instead, she’s asking for him. “In the several years he has been in our care he has shown himself to be a caring, polite and proper young man, worthy of some small treasure my mother and I may not be able to provide.” If Globe Santa can help, she said, “It will be appreciated.”
“They are my joy on rainy days,” a Roxbury grandmother writes of the two grandchildren who have been in her care since the death of their mother two years ago.
“At times it is a struggle trying to do everything alone, but I wouldn’t change having them in my life. They were younger than their mom, and each day they still struggle with the loss. Their mom passed away at a time when they were so intelligent and well behaved. It is hard for them to understand their mother’s feelings. I wish I could just give them the world.”
If not the world, “can you please help me put a smile on their faces on Christmas morning?
One of the most difficult parts of being a parent is helping a child cope with the loss. Brighton Grandparent says that the shock of losing her mom is still affecting her 11 year-old granddaughter.
“Her mother (my daughter) passed away Easter morning of cancer. She is struggling with this loss, and I would appreciate any help you can give, to try and make Christmas more enjoyable for her.”
Globe Santa will be there to help. Globe Santa, a program of The Boston Globe Foundation, has provided holiday gifts to children in Greater Boston since 1967. Globe Santa was able to deliver toys, books, and games to over 30,000 children last year thanks to the generosity of its donors who gave $1.7 Million.
You can help brighten a child’s holiday today, by visiting GlobeSanta.org.
Christopher Tangney can be reached at [email protected]