"I just try to do the best I can and to keep everything together for my boys," this mother said.
Her "boys" include a bipolar teenager with Asperger's syndrome, which is a disorder on the autism spectrum, a husband who recently lost his job and a son who, she said, is "a typical toddler who takes a lot of time and attention."
The mother herself suffers from chronic migraines and severe depression, but said she won't let that keep her from taking care of her family.
"My teenager is in a vocational rehab program now, getting trained for the job market. He does this four hours a day, two to three days a week. I'm the one who takes him to work, picks him up from work and also takes him and picks him up from counseling twice a week. Then, if he has any other appointments, I'm the one who makes sure he gets there."
Her husband, a skilled tradesman, was laid off from his job a month ago. He is currently looking for work and applying for any positions for which he thinks he may qualify. He goes out on interviews whenever he hears of a new job and is taking classes on resume writing.
"It sometimes just seems they'll hire him on a job and then let him go before the holidays," the mother said. "It's been very stressful for us and he's not getting unemployment. He's been doing his job for more than 30 years, so this is really sad. The other day he said to me, 'Hon, you know sometimes I wish I could change my career. I just hate to put my family through this.'"
If this mother had a dream for herself, she said it would be to get her GED and to eventually go back to school to become a dental assistant. "I very much hope to make that happen some day."
In the meantime, she concerns herself more with her family's dreams than her own and prays for some way to make a good Christmas for her boys.
With our readers' assistance, Press Christmas for All works to brighten the holidays for people like this - the jobless, homeless, those who are barely making ends meet, individuals with disabilities or illnesses. Many are alone this holiday season.
Each year, our generous readers' donations allow us to assist thousands of Kootenai County families in need. Each day until Christmas, we will share the stories of those whose holiday memories will be a little happier because of Press Christmas for All.
Donations are collected, then distributed in the form of gift cards to Kootenai County residents in need.
Press Christmas for All is a holiday charity now in its 28th year. It is managed as a nonprofit by The Hagadone Corp. Because it is run by volunteers from The Hagadone Corp. and their partners at Kootenai County Fire and Rescue, every penny raised is distributed in the form of gift cards from local retailers who also generously support the program. The cards can be used to buy food and gifts but not alcohol or tobacco products. All contributions are tax deductible.
To give, please send a check to:
Press Christmas for All 201 Second St. Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
You can also call (208) 664-8176 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and donate by credit card.
Donations can be made securely online at www.christmasforallcda.com
Recent donors: Donald and Donna Bresemann; Raymond and Patricia Polland; Joseph P. Lt. Col USAF (RET) and Marylou Dion; Marilyn Freeman; William and Susan Sturgeon.
• Application deadline today
Today is the deadline to submit applications for help. Those seeking assistance from Press Christmas for All have until 5 p.m. today to fill out an application at the Press offices, 201 Second St. in downtown Coeur d'Alene; at Post Falls City Hall in the recreation department; or online at www.christmasforallcda.com.
No applications will be accepted after 5 p.m. today.
• Notes from our readers
It is with pleasure that I enclose a donation to your Christmas for All program. Your organization was the inspiration behind me starting Turkeys for All and I cannot think of a worthier cause to donate to. I would also like to thank you for the excellent coverage of our charity. Each time there has been mention of TFA in the Cd'A Press, we have received numerous donations and this is very much appreciated. It is a privilege to be in a position to give back to those less fortunate, and the leadership the Cd'A Press has taken with Christmas for All is both admirable and inspires others.
president, Turkeys for All