Six-year-old Pammy Collins, and her brother, nine-year-old Christian, play on the merry-go-round at their grandparents' house. Pammy and Christian lived with their grandparents, Pam and Jimmy McIntosh, in Whitesburg, Ky.
Pammy and Christian lived with their grandparents because their mother had an addiction to alcohol. “I knew my daughter had problems, and I always tried to let her come out of it herself and try to be a parent, but when I found out they (Pammy and Christian) were staying at a babysitter’s for a good while, and then like three months span on and off, and she had been about a month that she hadn’t come back to visit them or anything, and I just called the babysitter; I said, ‘I’m coming to get the kids,’ and I did," Pam said.
Pammy gives an Easter flower to her grandmother while her Papaw Jimmy pretends to pull eggs out of Pam's ear. Jimmy had just picked the eggs from the barn and let the horses out to run around.
Jimmy and Pam laugh as Pammy sings and dances to a song that she learned at school. "They’re so funny," Pam said. "They’re just really, I mean, you forget how funny kids can be and that they don’t know a lot of the things that you’re saying to them like adults do."
Jimmy walks Christian and Pammy to the end of the driveway to wait for the school bus every morning when the weather is nice. Pam and Jimmy were awake by 5:00 a.m., and got the kids ready and out of the house by 6:45 a.m. on school days.
Pam asks Pammy to sit down in the chair while she helps her and Christian with homework. "This (helping the kids with their homework) is the hardest part," Pam said about raising her grandkids. She said it's so difficult because the kids have a lot of trouble focusing, and she has to reprimand them when they misbehave, which is typically the parents' job. "As far as just enjoying them and things, you know, I could enjoy them more if I didn’t have to be raising them and be the parent," she said.
"My mom left me with her (Pam) because she's drunk," said Pammy, who had been living, with her brother, at their grandparents' house for over two years. "Whenever they came here, they felt freedom, really," Jimmy said. And you could tell a big difference in it after they got here a few months later, they were actually changed kids, because they had horses they could fool with, they had chickens, and they love the chickens."
Jimmy rocked Pammy to sleep every night before her bedtime. Jimmy said that his life had changed dramatically since Pammy and Chrisitan came to live with them, but he loved being with them all the time. "That’s what makes your day though, now, you know, that Pammy and Christian are there to fire you up."