The Sandwich Generation

From July 23

The Sandwich generation is a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between 7 to 10 million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. US Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of older Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.
The problem with this situation is, I’ve never really liked sandwiches. And, now I find myself as part of the sandwich generation. Perfect! No wonder, I’m not really happy with this situation. I had a friend in a similar situation, except she has 4 kids not 2, and she is caring for her mom, not grandma, write a blog post recently about our situation. I love her take on this sandwich generation. Rather than a sandwich, it’s more like a panini! Yes! This resonated with my soul. Not only has some crap been thrown between 2 slices of bread, my crap has been heat pressed on every side. My guts feel squeezed tight, my sides are burning, I am literally toast, and I just hope all the cheese (the only part of a sandwich I love) doesn’t completely melt and run out.
Last week, our original family unit had a little vacation, sans GranGran. I am not sure who of us needed it most. I really felt guilty on the plane home. I not once even stopped to call my Aunt and check on them to see how things were going. I was kinda relieved she didn’t let Gran call me either. I know all involved well enough that Gran had tried, and she probably had to cut the phone line to keep it from happening. But, the kids were really needing some one on one focus time. For my thoughts to not be scattered between work, keeping house, caring for them, and caring for Grandma. I was all in with them. I even went deep into the ocean to play with them. If you know me well, you know I LOVE the beach. I don’t love murky water where I can’t see what is wrapping around my legs. But, it was great to just be in the moment with Jeff and the kids and have not a worry in the world, except avoiding becoming shark bait. And, we got to celebrate my beautiful niece becoming a MRS. I will admit I was a hot teary mess. She was Lexi’s age the first time we met. And, now she is a wife. Not ready for my babies to grow up!
I had one little incident in the hotel where I almost lost my religion. There were 2 ladies in their 60s having a conversation in the breakfast line about how great it was to grow old with their mothers. One had her 88 year old mom there with her, and the other had just lost her 87 year old mom. They went on and on forever about in adulthood having your mom as your best friend and raising your kids with her, and seeing grandkids get married. I politely just kept my head down and stayed out of the way. Then, one of the ladies addressed me, and said don’t take these days for granted. You better cherish your mom while you have her. I LOST IT. I snapped back that I would love to cherish another moment with my mom but unfortunately she died 17 months ago, and the opportunity to grow old with her was ripped from me, and I’d appreciate them not talk about their luxury in front of me. SILENCE.
Anyway, we’re all back home now. GranGran enjoyed her trip to KY this time. And, we’re settling back into our normal routine at home. GranGran is retaining fluid and has a bad cough. If you know much about heart patients, you know this is classic congestive heart failure. We all had a cold before we left, and she just can’t kick hers. We’ve upped the fluid pill meds to try to move it on through, and go back for another check up tomorrow.
Yesterday was a hard day around here. It was my mom’s birthday. And, I’ll be honest, its one of the hardest days I’ve had in several months. People say that your grief starts to fade and you get used to a new normal around the 15-18 month mark of losing someone. I will say, that had started to be true. In the last few months I could talk about what happened without getting upset, and remembered mom with joy instead of grief over the loss. Yesterday, was grief packed. I couldn’t even see a mom, think about the date, or do much of anything without tearing up. Last night the kids did their annual Chinese Lanterns to celebrate mom’s birthday. It really is a sweet picture seeing them release them and send birthday wishes up to the clouds.
I am feeling very much like a panini today. I am trying to work from home and clean house, while Gran sits in her chair. Every 37.2 seconds she asks me to come do something else for her. It’s 10:19 and the only room I have managed to completely clean is the kitchen. It’s driving me a little crazy. But, at least Uncle Sam and Aunt Ella won’t be joining us for dinner now that I have sanitized.
In the midst of cleaning and Granny sitting I have managed to do some listing marketing and take calls for new listings, and work on some meetings I have scheduled for next week. And, again, I set her realizing how super duper blessed I am. I am in pjs, haven’t showered, living in my upper middle class house, making a great living, have 2 absolutely adorable and pretty amazing kids, and get the opportunity to care for the woman who spent so much time caring for me 30+ years ago. Life is toasty sometimes, but it is really, really, good.

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