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Midlife Sandwiches

Eat More Chicken
Eat More Chicken

“Sandwiches”, by Lorie Sheffer.

“When we were kids, did you ever think we would grow up to become sandwiches, because that’s what we are,” my friend told me.

The Sandwich Generation is the term used to describe us. There are several types on the menu, too.

The Traditional: Those of us who are caring for aging parents as well as our own children who are still living at home.

The Club: Those in their 50s and 60s who are caring for aging parents, their own adult children and their grandchildren. Or people in their 30s and 40s who are caring for their own young children, parents and grandparents.

Open Faced: Anyone involved in elder care.

According to a Pew Research Poll, 1 in 8 American’s aged 40 – 60 is involved in elder-care.

I thought of this when I sat in at my father’s bedside and my daughter brought my grandson in for a visit. Up until June of this year Dad was very independent. It was sometimes difficult to get in touch with my parents because they were always out doing something. Since the day he was born, I cared for my grandson while his parents worked and I drove to his house every day to get him off of the school bus when he started school. He’s 10 now and he is used to seeing me almost every day. “I miss you. When can we have a sleepover?” he asked me. My daughter has a more flexible work schedule now, so I am trying to spend as much time with Dad as I can. I miss my grandson horribly. While neither my father nor grandson lives with me, I spend tremendous amounts of time with them. I miss my adult son, who lives 2 hours away and is a 4th year medical student. Needless to say, he doesn’t have much extra time to come home, though he and his wife do try to squeeze in a trip as often as possible. I want to go to Philadelphia for the day and visit them and see their new house. We text one another and chat on the phone regularly, but those things don’t replace a hug. I hate to miss a day of visiting Dad, so my husband and I have not left the area this summer.

And so it goes. The Life of a Sandwich.  It’s a familiar story. The characters differ, the setting and circumstances are not quite the same, but the core of the story remains. It is stressful and it is demanding and it is draining. But at the heart of it, there are people in our lives for whom we feel a deep love and sense of commitment.

(Lane 8 blog)