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How grandparents are providing a safety net for parents with children during COVID-19

Posted at 9:40 AM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 09:40:50-04

CLEVELAND — Sunday is National Grandparents Day, and 2020 has reshaped their role. The coronavirus pandemic has upended work and school life for so many families, who are only able to rebound from the fallout because of the safety net grandparents are providing.

So, we put out the call and you shared your stories of grandparents to the rescue.

It is said, you never know the love of a grandparent until you become one.

"I mean, they're my life," said Laurie Matzelle. "They're my heart."

Laurie is grandma to Anson, four, and Ali who is one.

"I love my grammy," said Anson.

"My mom is my savior," said Laurie's daughter Megan Rhodes.

Megan is a single mom to two little kids, working two jobs at a bakery and in real estate to make ends meet.

"So, I was working five days a week from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and day cares were closed," she said. "It was crazy!"

Like so many working parents, the pandemic turned her life upside down.

"I didn't know what I was going to do with the kids," she said.

Laurie stepped in and became their child care provider. She says it was fated since she had just quit her job in February.

Megan and the kids had actually recently moved in with Laurie as well.

However, the demands of this work are different.

"I know why women my age do not have children," laughed Laurie. "They're wonderful, but yeah, it's exhausting!"

The kids aren't tiring of all their grammy time.

Anson described what he loved doing with grandma, "Playing games, and playing with my toys, and reading books!"

Although it's exhausting, Laurie continues to care for the children today.

"To see them growing as they do, and be there when Ali takes her first steps... it is a blessing and I wouldn’t have it any other way," she said.

"It means so much to me," said Megan. "I don't know how I can every repay her. She is just, she's just my angel."

This story is part of The Rebound: Northeast Ohio, News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:

Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.

Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.

Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.

Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.