MPW.64 / Troy In Grandma’s Care by Chelsi Baker
Photographer
Chelsi Baker Morgantown, West Virginia
Team Lee

Story Summary

Wanda Richard is a caretaker.

For three years, Wanda has looked after her two grandchildren, Brittany, 16, and Cody, 20, after their mother and stepfather moved to Kansas City in search of work.

After years of improper diagnoses, Cody was sent to a special education program. Diagnosed with a highly functioning form of autism, Cody has the mind of a 10-year-old.

Wanda needs to help him with daily tasks. She drives Cody to and from his job at Kroger, helps him manage his money and reminds him to eat sensibly and practice good hygiene.

Wanda often worries about Cody’s wellbeing after she has passed on. While she sees an improvement in his level of independence, she questions whether he will be able to make it without her.

She holds out hope her daughter, the children’s mother, will return and find work here in Troy, and they will be able to live together as a family once again, though she knows she and Cody have established a special bond.

“I know Brittany would race out the door if her mother was here,” she said, “but I don’t think Cody will ever leave me. He is my big boy.”