Christmas is a time for families to be together. One grandmother in Freeport reunited with her grandkids just in time for the holidays. Now she's struggling to hang on to them.
"Patrick gave me a coupon book and it says things Patrick will do."
This Christmas Bonnie Gingrich's grandson is giving her the gift of free labor. He'll cook her a meal, straighten up the house, he says it's nothing compared to what she's given him and his siblings.
Grandson Patrick Muneio says, "It's a secure, loving environment. We eat food together, eat dinner together every night, it's much different."
Patrick and his siblings are enjoying a stability this Christmas they've never had with their mom. She's constantly in and out of legal trouble and that means the kids are in and out of her home.
"I want to make things legal, so the kids know they're not going to be bounced around from mom to me, to mom to me, so they know this is where their home is going to be," says Gingrich.
The kids moved back in with Gingrich just two weeks ago. This time she won guardianship, allowing her to enroll them in school and take them to the doctor. Now she's fighting for legal custody.
She says that's the only way to keep them with her and keep away her fears: "I thought this Christmas was going to be bleak. I was worried about the kids, I didn't know where they would be and when I realized they would be with me I couldn't have asked for anything that would have made me happier."
The kids are enjoying christmas like never before.
Grandson Draevyn Muneio says, "Compared to my old house, I dunno because I never had a Christmas at my old house, but it's pretty fun here."
Gingrich is a member of the organization, "Grandparents Raising Grandkids," that fights for grandparents rights. Call Bonnie Gingrich at 815-232-6689 to find out how to contact your local chapter.