The Meat in the Sandwich

Caring for aging parents while raising children.

I am in that generation.  You know the “Sandwich” one, where I am trying to help my parents while still caring for children at home.  I am blessed that my children are all in high school now, but they still need guidance and care.  My three guys are busy guys and having someone keeping things at home moving along…a.k.a. making food, really helps.

On the other side of the sandwich my parents are still living and reside 11 hours from me in my native Kansas.  It is not easy to just pop in for a visit and see how things are going.  Throw in the fact that my boys go to school Monday thru Friday and my husband works Sundays and there are no weekend trips.  We rarely make it the 2.5 hours to our daughter’s in Austin or to visit the son in San Marcos.   We have been here for a while.  We lost both of my in-laws in the past four years.

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It is a tricky time in life.  It can also be a little overwhelming.  I know I am blessed compared to so many, but when a crisis arises, it proves taxing.  That is where I find myself right now.  I left home 8 days ago to drive up to Kansas by myself in preparation for my dad’s major surgery.  He has actually done fairly well considering the type of surgery and his lifelong battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis and now COPD.   Unfortunately, today we found out he has infection, which will set back his going home.   I was really hoping to be here for a few days after that to help my mom and he with the transition, but I really need to get home Friday.  My mom suffers with major health issues too and despite Home Health coming in, I know it will be a huge strain on her.

I feel bad leaving, but if I don’t leave Friday I won’t really see my guys much for a while.  Next week is stacked with appointments leading up to camps, etc.  This week was our “free week”, having just finished school last week.  I had a long list of things we needed to do, in addition to some Mom University classes that I was going to cover (more in depth on that in a future post).  Instead they are going to get lessons from a guest professor–DAD!  He plans to give them one of my writing assignments, cover some financial classes with them and teach them how to sew on a button.  He is much better at sewing than I am anyway.  We feel that time is ticking so fast with our last two and we have only had the third son for two years, so collectively we are trying to give them all the life lessons we can while there is less going on.  We are also trying to spend some more dedicated time with them.

My mom and dad with our daughter on her graduation weekend.

My mom and dad with our daughter on her graduation weekend.

So in the meantime I am trying to clean my parents house, make ahead some food (after I clean out all the unhealthy products in their storage) and fix small things, like turning off the fireplace pilot light and backing up my dad’s computer files.  I will also help my mom set up some housekeeping and meal making services (finally!), Home Health will care for the medical and the church family here will provide emotional support in addition to errand running, etc.  What do people do without a strong church family?  I know that so many people like me are also the “meat” in the sandwich right now, and that so many have more difficult circumstances than me, (like not having a supportive spouse) but it still is an interesting challenging chapter in life.  I am thankful I am here for it, but it is a hard one to read.

Let me know if you are in the “Sandwich Generation”.  Tell me about your situation and how it is going for you.  If you have already lived this chapter what advice do you have for us “meatheads”?  I look forward to hearing from you.

 



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