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Alex's dad made this afghan for him by hand, and sent it to him from prison as a seventh birthday gift.
Alex, age 8, has lived with his grandparents since he was 16 months old, when his mother went into a psychiatric hospital and his father was on trial. Today, Alex's dad is serving time in Redgranite prison near Wautoma, and his mother may be living in Washington or Nevada or Missouri. For Alex's seventh birthday, his dad spent over 500 hours crocheting and cross-stitching the afghan which now decorates Alex's bed. "We used to go see him a lot, but now we haven't been there for like 2 years," says Alex. "I would like to go more." Alex is one of about 46,000 children in Wisconsin (4.5 million children nationwide) who live with grandparents but not parents.

Grandparents raising grandchildren: read the full story in this coming week's Isthmus.

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