A Grand Dilemma
Sandra Smith organizes her medication for the upcoming week as her grandson, Jaiden, 1, sleeps in her bed. —Jenn Ackerman for Education Week
For a story about a rise in grandparents raising their grandchildren, I got to hang out with Sandra Smith and her 12-year-old granddaughter, Jonea. Sandra has been raising her granddaughter for more than five years now. She is the ultimate “super mom.” Not only is she involved with her granddaughter’s PTA and Girl Scout troop, she also volunteers every week at another school just because she felt like they needed her help. She is a remarkable woman especially considering that she fought cancer four times in the last four years.
One photo I took during the two days I spent with the family really speaks to the story as a whole. After Jonea left to hang out with her friends for the afternoon, Sandra put her one-year-old grandson, Jaiden, down for a nap while she did chores around the house. After he fell asleep, she began sorting her pills. I knew this image told the whole story. It was the moment when everything comes together right in front of you. In the midst of taking care of these young children, she is dealing with issues that most young parents don’t. One of the reasons I love being a photographer is meeting the people I do during assignments. This is one of those days and I was happy to meet Sandra along the way. —Jenn Ackerman