For the past five years, Mary Harris raised her two grandchildren, Kyle, 14, and Nevaeh, 5. Their mother Nichole, 38, has been incarcerated for auto theft and drug-related offenses. As a mother to her grandchildren, Mary has encountered new financial and emotional challenges that she did not face the first time she was a mother. With Nicholeís forthcoming release, Mary hopes her life will return back to normal as she relinquishes her duties as a stand-in mother.
Mary wipes her eyes in frustration and exhaustion after Nevaeh climbed into the front of her grandmother’s moving car. Nevaeh refused to put her seatbelt on after Mary picked her up from school in Tampa on October 8, 2013. Mary has found it hard to discipline Nevaeh over the five years that Mary has been raising her since Nevaeh’s mother was incarcerated.
“It is not my place to bring up my daughter’s children,” Mary said. “This is her life. Those children are her children. I’m always going to be there always going to be there for them, but my daughter needs to be the head of her household. It is not my place anymore. I want to go out and live some more.”