Inter alia: I’m not sure I care for this sandwich Richard Armitage…

 

Hi, remember me?  Been a long time right?  It’s a sandwich issue that’s kept me running and unable to blog lately.

sandwichesI love a good sandwich as well as the next gal, but unfortunately, this is not the kind of sandwich of which I speak.  I was talking to a colleague from the Psychology Department the other day about some of the things that have been going on in my personal life and she replied,

“Oh yeah – you could have been a guest speaker in my Human Development class today – we were talking about the ‘sandwich generation'”  The comment was generated by my relating that I’d sent my husband back east to be with his mother who had suffered a heart attack and was in the Intensive Care unit as the doctors tried to determine how best to treat her.

I confess, I’d not heard the term before, but I found that it fits me pretty well right now:

a generation of people, typically in their thirties or forties, responsible for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents.

Sandwich generation.  Yep, that’s me.  I have an adolescent and a preteen at home and 75 year old parents across town.  Then we throw in my in-laws halfway across the country and you’ve got a pretty imposing mix.  The constant travails of my children are so well ingrained into my daily life as to be routine.  My “aging” parents are generally very self sufficient.  My mom has a myriad of health challenges – fortunately for me, she is diligent about staying in front of them (her day planner is well populated with various doctor appointments)  Nevertheless, I’ve been privy to a fair amount of medical information over the past decade.

Thus, when my husband called from the hospital (after a middle of the night round trip to drop him at the airport) to give me an update, I already had an idea of what they had done and were doing.  He reported that his mom several blocked arteries…the worst of them at 100% blockage.  My response: “have they put in a stent yet?”  Indeed – they had done that the previous evening shortly after she arrived at the hospital.  I’m not medically clairvoyant – my mom had a heart attack a decade ago, and currently sports eight coronary stents along with her two stainless steel hip joints (you don’t want to be behind the Bionic Granny in airport security!)  I’ve been down this road before, and for his mom who is diabetic and subsequently diagnosed as being in diabetic kidney failure, it’s going to be a very, very difficult ride.    (she is currently stable, but still hospitalized and most likely looking at dialysis for the immediate future)

Sandwich for two anyone?  Short of moving back east (which is NOT happening) there is very little we can do in a practical sense.  My husband stayed for a week and is now in touch with his mother and his sisters regarding her condition, but it is a profoundly powerless feeling for both of us…this is not something that we can fix with a bandage and a kiss.  This is real life grown up stuff.

Then there are those kids of mine.  Those precocious, talented, bedeviling fiends.  I love them fiercely, but there are days I think that I would cheerfully drop them off on the side of the road and drive away.  It seems that if one is celebrating a high, the other is down in the dumps.

This weekend, Showbiz Kid scored a coup when he earned an Exemplary Soloist Award for a vocal performance at the Wisconsin State Solo and Ensemble Festival.  It’s kind of a big deal as it is the pinnacle of achievement for a high school musician in the state of Wisconsin.  We are all enormously proud.

Mini Me is right there with us, but there are also visible signs that she is struggling with a pretty formidable jealously in the face of her brother’s achievement.  I get it, I really do.  He is almost ten years older than her, he has rights and privileges that she doesn’t, and now this.  How is 10.5 supposed to compete with *this*  Of course, to me, as a parent, it’s not a competition, but I can see how she might think it is.  Actually, I know for a fact she thinks it is because last night at bedtime when I told her I loved her she replied, “I know you love Showbiz more Mom.”

*gutted*

GREAT.  BIG.  GIANT.  SANDWICH!

On top of all of that, my uncle died on April 24.  Granted, he was 81 and he was very sick and living as an invalid for a long time would have been crushing to him, but he was the uncle who threw me in the lake and taught me to swim and the uncle who popped out my first loose tooth with his thumb.  His gregarious, volatile, generous presence will be missed.

Times they are a changin’ I guess…Circle of Life and all that.  Perhaps having written some of this down, I can move it out of my “hard drive” and free up some brain space for some much needed recreational Armitaging…

Raymond

What say you?!

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15 comments on “Inter alia: I’m not sure I care for this sandwich Richard Armitage…

  1. Servetus says:

    The “sandwich” is yet another reason I’m grateful not to have reproduced. I admire your facility and grace in dealing with these challenges.

  2. zan, O1C says:

    *coping and clearing vibes* heading your way.

    • obscura says:

      They seemed to have gotten here…was very late and bleary coming in last night, but noticed this morning that hubs had cleared the dining room table of a mountain of mail. Good start to the day!!

  3. Guylty says:

    I did not realise or generation was called thus. Although I am wondering whether it is really not relating to a specific generation over time (i.e. generation X or Baby Boomers), but generation in terms of our individual phase in life. Because it eventually shall pass (although chances are that we look after the parents longer than we do the kids…)
    In any case, my heart broke a little for Mini Me. The conclusions that children (can) draw, are sometimes so completely wrong… It makes sense to her that you will love the successful, talented son whom you have known for a good few years longer than her, more. Except there is no sense in love… Or maybe she was just fishing. With so much praise for Showbiz around, she probably needed some reassurance, and forced it by voicing her insecurity.
    Not an easy time for you. And yes, wouldn’t it be great when at some moment during all this, a dashing, powerful knight came rushing in, to simple whisk us away and make us forget everything with his undying, unswerving love? Hope you’ll have at least a few minutes here and there to dream… xx

    • obscura says:

      I think it’s definitely a phase all generations pass through…I distinctly remember my mother spending a whole lot of time taking my grandparents to appointments and sitying at bedside when I was in my late teens.

      I imagine that someday I’ll look back fondly just as i do to all those sleepless nights with tiny infants that seemed so long at the time.

      Mini me is definitely a fisher, but it was a clear sign that she needs some extra validation sometimes 🙂

      Things have eased up ever so slightly the past few days, so perhaps I’ve turned a corner…maybe that fierce night cleared a little path?

  4. linnetmoss says:

    It sounds hard for you, and for that I am sorry. As therapy, try to visualize what first came to my mind when I saw the words “Richard Armitage” and “sandwich” juxtaposed.

  5. jazzbaby1 says:

    Hugs and an ear if you need it, sidewinder.

  6. Perry says:

    Hugs coming here also. I would think the almost 10 years difference between mini me and Showbiz Kid would make things a little easier for her – how could she compete with an almost adult? She’ll find her niche and special talent soon, I’ll bet. Hang in there and keep your eye on Greece – just around the corner.

  7. Sorry to hear about your family health crises, loss of your uncle, and your little one feeling “unremarkable”–even if her just being with you is remarkable and a blessing to start with. It’s tough to juggle all of that at once Hugs! But kudos to showbiz kid–aptly named, it seems, and destined for stardom.
    P.S. Be sure to take time for yourself. Worrying about other people’s needs often pushes our own needs to the sidelines. But if we are to be the care givers–or stressing from afar when we can’t do as much as we would like–we have to take care of ourselves, too. Hugs again!

  8. Hariclea says:

    Sending a big hug your way! Sorry it’s all a bit daunting at the moment with all things needing your attention. I am sure mini Me will be ok 🙂 there will be something great she does just around the corner which will make her feel special 😉 I am sure she know she is loved but just wanted confirmation or a bit o extra attention.
    i know role reversal with parents and close relatives is tough, at least you can be there and are there to support them as much as possible and i am sure they are happy to have the support. The kids accomplishments at least bring some positive balance to it.
    Don’t know if it helps at all but what i took away was to try and enjoy the little things we have in time spent together. Any time spent together is a bonus, even if it just helping out.
    Hope the good things keep dropping in to balance things out and sending you all positive thoughts for a lot of energy. Really sorry about your beloved uncle, you have wonderful memories of him which will always be with you.
    Hugsxxx

  9. katie70 says:

    Everyone who has children and parents goes though this stage of life. Been there and done that. It is not easy and heartbreaking at times. Because the younger boys where very young when I started to have to help my parents I let everyone know that the boys came first, they had to at the time. I also was an only child and born later in their life. Dad was 47 and mom 34 when I was born. They are both gone now and are missed.
    In my Developmental Psychology class we talked about the sandwich genaration a couple weeks ago. I kind of knew of the term as my aunt kind of talked about it before.
    Good job to your son what a honor in our state. I hope mini me can cope with it all. Kids will be kids and it is all apart of life.
    Sorry to hear about the death in you family. Hope your husbands mom gets better.

  10. Esther says:

    Didn’t realize there was a term for that… and yes, started with that here myself with my dad who sadly passed last year but for me it’s not as bad as it is for you! So sorry to hear about your uncle… Hang in there and hugs!

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