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Single mother wants the thrill of presents on Christmas morning for her four children

HINGHAM, November 25, 2012- Chef Paul Wahlberg and Globe reporter Kevin Cullen helped out with Globe Santa's sleigh at Hingham Shipyard. (Mary O'Connor for The Boston Globe)
Chef Paul Wahlberg (left) and Boston Globe reporter Kevin Cullen helped out with Globe Santa’s sleigh at the Hingham Shipyard on Sunday. (Mary O'Connor for The Boston Globe)

In what was perhaps the most courageous decision the mother of four had ever made, she mustered the strength a few years a go to escape a 15-year marriage that had been riddled with abuse.

Although living free from fear has been a blessing, she wrote in a letter to Globe Santa this year, it has also left her with the daunting task of trying to rebuild her life while caring for her four young children alone.

“I decided that the former career I held would not suffice, as it would require 40 hours a week with travel,” she wrote. “I needed to be present in my children’s lives as we recovered from the harm that had been done to us.”

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So the mother, who has a 7-year-old son and 5-year-old triplets (two sons and a daughter), said in her letter that she made a bold choice: She returned to school to study for a degree in education and has aspirations of starting a second career, this time as a teacher. The full-time class schedule, coupled with whatever work she can find, leaves money tight, but she writes that she firmly believes her investment in education is paying dividends in other ways.

“My children have learned many lessons about what is truly important in life — safety, togetherness, family, food and shelter, community, education, resilience, and resourcefulness — we take nothing for granted,” she told Globe Santa. “They have all taken a trip to school with me, sat in on classes, and visited the library; and I am working hard to be the best role model I can possibly be for them.”

As important and enduring as these lessons are, however, she feels her young children also deserve the chance to be carefree, to know that Christmas is for everyone and that Santa Claus remembered them, too. So she wrote to Globe Santa, hoping he could help bridge the gap this year.

“During this time of rebuilding, we have had to make sacrifices and at times it has been uncomfortable,” she said in her letter. “Needless to say, toys, games, and other material items do not fit into my budget. They are a treat, extras in life.”

She has the same simple wish that motivates so many parents and guardians to write to Globe Santa: She wants her children to share in the thrill of finding presents on Christmas morning. Yet she is afraid that without help, they will miss out.

“Young children especially love a present to unwrap on Christmas morning, so please consider our family this holiday season as recipients of your Globe Santa program,” she wrote. “I myself look forward to the day when I am once again on the ‘giving’ end.”

Because of the generosity of individuals, groups, and local businesses who support the effort, many of whom have made giving to Globe Santa a part of their Christmas tradition, these four children will join some 50,000 others who receive a visit from Globe Santa this year.

In 2011, $1.2 million was raised so that more than 32,000 families throughout Eastern Massachusetts this year can enjoy a Merry Christmas morning.

And every dollar contributed to the Globe Santa Fund each year is used to buy gifts because the Boston Globe Foundation pays all of the administrative costs associated with the effort, which is now in its 57th year.

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