Hi, remember me? Been a long time right? It’s a sandwich issue that’s kept me running and unable to blog lately.
I 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.”
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…
What say you?!