Christmas is a time to spend with family, but for four young children between the ages of six months old and 10, that wasn't possible.
Their mother's in the hospital with heart failure and now, a Metro East couple's taken them in.
"They said this was their best Christmas ever," said Jessica Marek. "So, I'm going to take that as a pat on the back."
Jessica Marek told News 4 it's been a difficult couple of months for the kids.
"It's just been a lot of adjusting for them," said Marek. "They're used to their mom being there everyday."
Their mother, Tasha Lytle, is in the hospital battling heart failure. Meanwhile, Marek and her fiancee are looking after the children.
"She says that I'm her big kid, so at least now I've got little ones to play with," said Marek's fiancee Chris Hahne.
All laughs aside, the Collinsville couple knows how serious the situation is for their friend. Doctors say Lytle is in dire need of a heart transplant.
"We're prepared for the worst, but hope for the best," said Hahne. "We talked to their mother and had stuff written out, so if something were to happen to her, the kids would come to us."
No matter how hard it's been setting aside wedding plans and having her household grow from two to six in the last couple months, Marek knows she made the right decision.
"We've got way too much negativity going on in this world," said Marek. "If we all just do one simple act of kindness, the world would be much better."
Lytle woke up from a medically-induced coma on Christmas Eve.
She'll spend the next two-to-four weeks recovering at the hospital.
If you would like to donate to the family, you can find their GoFundMe page here.
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