Friday, February 2, 2007

Care For a Sandwich?

You've heard of the Sandwich Generation, haven't you? They are the baby boomers who are caught in the middle of life, caring for their elderly parents on one hand, while the other hand is still involved in their children's lives. These boomers are like the filling between two slices of bread.

For some, the tension is overwhelming, causing rifts in relationships. Parents demand more and more time, requiring help for the basic needs of life. Adult children ask for financial aid, or presume babysitting is always available. What's a boomer to do??

I feel like I'm living in the midst of this, but in a way most people don't get to experience. Both my husband's mother and my parents live only 25 minutes away. But that's not a negative thing at all.

My mother-in-law is 90 years old and lives in a memory care facility for Alzheimer's. Until we moved her here from Arizona a couple years ago, we only got to visit her once a year. Now we get to spend time with her at least a couple times a week There's a bond there, even with her dementia, that we've never had before. We lead a worship service at her facility every Sunday and have this wonderful little congregation of people in different stages of Alzheimer's. They have enriched our lives.

My parents moved from California just over a month ago. We've always been close and correspondended on a daily basis, but there's something so special about having them near and being able to drop in and see them any time I feel like it. They're only in their 70s, so they still are very involved in life around them and in reaching out to others. They have added a new depth to my life.

My husband and I share a house with our daughter and her family. She and Kevin and the kids have a complete house upstairs, while John and I have our own house downstairs. It has been an incredible time of sharing our lives with those two generations. Getting to watch the grandkids grow and get in on all their activities is just great. We have a connection with them that most grandparents miss out on. And since Christina and Kevin are some of our best friends, we've all found it easy to live together. Plus it's always so handy to have someone to borrow milk from!

So I guess what I'm saying is that being involved in multi-generations of family can be a very good thing. I'm finding that being the filling in the sandwich is very fulfilling!

5 comments:

Christina Berry said...

Um...so I guess you're saying you want your milk back?!?

Love you!

Pat said...

Sherrie, how blessed you are to live so close to both slices of bread! I'd love to live that close to either slice. Visit me at www.generationsandwich.blogspot.com.

Pat said...

Sherrie, check out my blog at www.generationsandwich.blogspot.com today. You're the star!

Susan said...

I really appreciate your positive energy here, rather than seeing the Sandwich as just a burden. My mother (who has early Alzheimer's) lives at home with us, with my two teen daughters and husband and two dogs. It has been very challenging but overall I think that multigenerational living has been a huge gift for our family.

Come visit my column! I also have a blog (not totally about the Sandwich) at www.readingwritingliving.wordpress.com

Lynda said...

Hey Sherrie, Thanks for your comments. I understand a little of what you're saying. My 91 year old dad came to live with me several years ago.

A friend who took care of her elderly mother for many years until her mom when home to Heaven told me, "You will never regret the time spent honoring your parent that way."

I'm single and have no children, so I guess that makes me an open-face sandwich?? Or maybe I'm just one slice short of a sandwich?? Okay, now I'm getting depressed!
Lynda in MO