Giving Grandma A Vacation

Peggy King, four grandchildren
CBS/The Early Show
Ask any single parent and they'd tell you: Raising children on your own is not without its challenges. But imagine having to do it all over again, just as you're settling into retirement. Such is the story of Peggy King, a grandmother of four who has re-entered the world of parenting.

It's Valentine's Day at the home of Peggy King, where she and her four grandchildren are exchanging gifts.

"A necklace that says 'I love you,' " King tells her grandchild. "Valentine's is special because it expresses love."

And there's plenty of love to go around.

Kristina, Karla, Kourtney and Kandace all moved in with their grandmother six years ago.

King recalls, "My daughter found out she was pregnant in 1998 with Kandace and we were all so thrilled, but during her pregnancy doctors had diagnosed her with ovarian cancer. She lived 14 months after the baby was born."

Before Candy King Oliver died, she slipped on a wig, posed for a final family photo and promised each of her daughters that she'd love them all the way to heaven.

"My daughter was like an angel," Peggy King says, "She made me promise to take care of her children, and I made a promise to her that I would do that."

So King sold her retirement condo and built a new home to raise her grandchildren.

"This is their home," King says. "They'll have a home forever. This will be their home, and they'll have memories that they've made here with me."

Some recent memories the family would sooner forget, like last year when King endured her own battle with breast cancer.

Taking care of the girls required the help of a family friend. All of them emerged as survivors.

Six years of successful single parenting, and today, Peggy King is the one who's thankful for what each of her granchildren has done for her.

King says, "Kristina was my first when her mother had her and she's very special. She's involved in band. She is great in band.

"Karla is my fix-all. If things are broken, Karla fixes it.

"Kourtney is my little honey. She's my huggy bear.

"Kandace is an angel. She says things that just win your heart.

"But what they really do for me is they replace an empty spot in my heart, because in each of them I can see my daughter," King says.

Well, Tuesday, they surprised their grandmother as they all visited The Early Show. King had thought they were invited to the show to talk about "grandmothers raising grandchildren," she said.

But that was not so. On the show, Kourtney read a portion of the letter she had written on behalf of her sisters to the Week of Wishes asking for her grandmother to get a vacation.

"Dear Harry, Hannah, Rene, Julie and Dave," Kourtney read, "We love our grandmother so much and we want to do something nice for her. That's why I'm writing this letter. My grandmother needs a break. All of this happened with the death of my mom and her health problems, and now, she's a mom all over again and she's not young anymore. I want to see my grandmother laugh again the way she used to do when my mom was alive."

It's been King's dream to take to the road with the girls in an RV. So co-anchor Harry Smith showed them the RV parked outside the plaza, thanks to El Monte RV rentals.

"We would like to present you with six free weeks of motorhome rentals," said Kirby Sandberg. "Unlimited mileage in this 31-foot motorhome from any one of El Monte RVs 31 sales rentals locations nationwide."

Kampgrounds of America is providing space for one year at any of their 500 campgrounds across the country.

Its representative said, "We invite you to be our KOA VIP guest the whole year and, just so we can recognize you when you get to our campground, we have a vest for you to keep you warm."

ExxonMobil handed King a gas card valued at $2,000, "You can use that at any one of the 14,000 service stations. If the fuel's not enough, if you're thirsty, we have stores, 400 of them across the United States, and you can get some coffee," its representative said.

And to top it all, Costco is stocking the RV's shelves and refrigerator with the gift of a cash card to be used at any of their warehouses.