LIMA — It came out of nowhere.
Margaret’s sister had celebrated the birth of her sixth child last year when, less than a month after the birth, the sister died of a heart attack, a deep and tragic loss for Margaret and her family.
“We were very close,” Margaret said, her voice breaking. “I used to drive her everywhere.”
While the newborn was able to live with other family, the older five children were faced with an uncertain future with no guarantee they would be able to stay together. Despite taking her mother in not long before after her father’s death, Margaret did not hesitate in deciding what to do.
“We went up and filed for custody,” she said. “(The father) wasn’t allowed to be around the kids anyway, so it really wasn’t much of a fight.”
Suddenly, Margaret went from living by herself to having six other people living with her while still working her third-shift job. Thankfully, Bryce, 17, Tori, 16, Nick, 14, and 9-year-old twins Adam and Seth are all in school, making it easier for Margaret to get some sleep after work.
“I went from a one-bedroom apartment with no kids, no family to — well, here’s your kids and here’s your family,” she said.
While Margaret’s job is paying enough to provide for the essentials such as food, heat and electricity, there is not much left to give the kids a memorable Christmas, leading Margaret to go to the Salvation Army. While they are “doing all right,” as Margaret said, it would be nice to help make their second Christmas without their mother a little more special.
“The kids aren’t picky or anything,” Margaret said. “They love Nerf guns and Xbox 360 video games.”
In the mean time, Margaret and her family are continuing to get used to what is now the new normal.
“I’m learning to adapt to being a mom,” she said. “I just wanted to keep them all together.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.