Sandwiches are only fun at picnics.
Not as much fun when they become the bucket you fall into as the “sandwich” generation – caring for your own children while caring for your parents. That’s me.
I’m not sure how I ended up becoming the caregiver for my mom. It became the next obvious thing to do. Sort of like picking up a coat off the floor and hanging it up, my mom coming to live in North Carolina in a senior community felt like the right thing to do.
“You get mom,” said my sister, “I get dad.” We joked together about how each of us had been given one parent to care for, as we constantly compare notes on how to encourage each other. We talk weekly on the latest funny story or how our parents have become like another child to care for while home and hearthing our own family.
On top of the child-rearing issues, I get to learn about things like walker maintenance, Medicare, Social Security, what to do when your teeth fall out and how many doctors you can possibly see in a year.
I hope this doesn’t sound like whining. Being my mom’s “it” girl has been a huge blessing for our family. My son spends time weekly with his grandmother. We cook together and spend lots of time simply doing life. I am fortunate because my mom is fairly healthy, right now. Still, I worry about what is down the road on my sandwich.
For the moment, this sort of sandwich is all I have. I watch my mom teach my son how to make “toast treasures.” Slicing up the bread in tiny thin strips the way she used to do only when I was sick or sad as a child. My son watches in awe, sure that he is witnessing something life changing.
And he is.
PS. To read more about my story as a family caregiver, check out my excerpt in the recently released book “Chicken Soup for the Soul for Family Caregivers.” The book features 101 stories of love, sacrifice and bonding from people of all ages who take care of family members at home or in outside facilities. This book is filled with great practical advice for anyone facing the important task of caring for a loved one in their golden years. Find it on amazon.com or wherever you buy books.