LIMA — It’s never been easy for Jack and Judy, but the parents of three always made it work and even had a little extra to help family and friends.
A recent injury at work has changed things and it has come at the worse time of the year possible.
“We’ve never been through this before,” Jack said.
“We are usually the ones lending a helping hand,” Judy added. “We had the home to go to when you needed something. We are not used to being the ones to need help.”
Working roofing, Jack took on too big of a load and pulled a muscle in his back earlier last month, sending him to physical therapy. He’s tried to go back to work, but doctors won’t clear him yet.
“I tried to fool them and tell them I am not hurting, but they saw through it,” he said.
It will likely be another four weeks before Jack can go back to work, but by that time he will probably be laid off from the seasonal job.
Judy doesn’t work, a choice the couple made so she could stay home with their three children, ages 7, 5 and 3.
“We struggle, but we do OK,” she said. “We settle for the struggle and choose to not have some of the nicer things in life so I can be home with them.”
Judy is also picking up more responsibilities in helping her mom, recently diagnosed with lung cancer.
“We keep afloat,” Judy said of the family’s finances.
“We keep the lights on and food on the table” Jack adds.
It is quickly becoming more difficult, especially to pay bills. The couple have burned up savings since Jack has been off work. He continues to wait for workers' compensation money and food stamps.
“Family and friends have helped a lot. Thank God for them,” Judy said, adding that when the money comes from workers' compensation, it will all have to go to catching up on bills.
The couple’s biggest concern right now is Christmas and being able to leave presents under the tree bought a few years ago. It is already up in the couple’s living room. The children still believe in Santa, so there is no explaining that times are tough, meaning fewer presents.
“I don’t want to have that talk about Santa yet,” Judy said. “I don’t want them waking up Christmas morning and wondering what they did wrong because they are not getting what they are used to.”
Judy said the children are happy with most any toy. Her son, the youngest, loves anything SpongeBob. The children all love balls and sports-related things and learning toys. Mom said the two girls like the typical “girly” things. The family also needs things such as toilet paper and hygiene items that can quickly become costly.