Countless readers express this sentiment in their letters to Globe Santa. In many cases, that’s a huge understatement.
But for the mother of two young girls who wrote Globe Santa recently, their tough year isn’t about to get better anytime soon.
“My husband is seriously ill and… our daughters don’t realize that this will probably be their last Christmas [with him] if we’re lucky he goes that far, ”she wrote.
The couple and their daughters, aged 7 and 5, live in a town west of Boston. However in recent years, however, a hospital has been their second home.
The father suffers from congestive heart disease and end-stage kidney disease. He needs dialysis three times a week and his liver is failing.
It is excruciating for the girls to watch him suffer.
When he is hospitalized, they worry about him and have trouble sleeping. And when he’s home, they just want to help him get better.
“When their daddy is home he needs constant care,” their mother wrote. “Whether it’s monitoring his blood pressure, checking his oxygen level with a finger reader, [or] untangling a tangled line of oxygen… they love to be little nurses.
It’s a lot of weight on their small shoulders, and their mother marvels at their strength.
“My 7 year old daughter tells everyone that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up and I hope she can make that dream come true,” she wrote. “My 5 year old is… the warmest person. Compassion and kindness are as easy as breathing for her.
The struggles at home have somehow forced the girls to grow up quickly, but they are still children.
“[My youngest daughter] is an animal lover and knows every dog in the neighborhood, ”the letter read. “She is also passionate about catching snakes, frogs, toads and butterflies.”
With her husband unable to work for the past year, the family survives on a monthly social security payment and nothing else. And while their money problems don’t compare to the pain of seeing their father ill, they are very real.
“[My husband] has used up all of their leave, advanced sick leave and packages [of paid leave time that] colleagues gave her a donation, ”she wrote.
Faced with the prospect of a bleak holiday, she doesn’t want her daughters to forget what it’s like to find gifts wrapped especially for them. So she asked Globe Santa for help.
“One of the ways they remember being kids is through toys,” she wrote. “Please help us give our children the magic of Christmas this year as we face a very bumpy road. “
For 66 years, Globe Santa, a program of the Boston Globe Foundation, has provided holiday gifts to families in need.
This family will be one of more than 20,000 to benefit from the campaign this year.
In 2020, more than 30,000 children in Greater Boston received toys, books, games and other gifts from Globe Santa.
Your donation can help put a smile on a child’s face this holiday season, so consider donating to Globe Santa by mail, phone, or online at globesanta.org.
Christopher Tangney can be reached at [email protected]