where wildly different is perfectly normal
But I don’t WANT a sammich!
But I don’t WANT a sammich!

But I don’t WANT a sammich!

I’m pretty sure, in this day and age, that most people are familiar with The Sandwich Generation. And if not, click on through to the Wikipedia article and catch up. Back? Good.

My parents were the first incarnation of The Sandwich Generation. They had me and my brother to care for while trying to care for their moms long-distance. My grandpas both died on the young side and fairly quickly. But both of my grandmas had long, drawn-out, quality of life issues that dogged them until the end. We lived several hours from them, so it was really hard on my folks, my dad in particular, since he was an only child. My uncles lived near my mom’s mom and were able to be on hand in case of emergency. Still not easy on my mom. My parents know what it’s like to be far from family while raising kids. So do Tom’s parents. Same situation.

And now it feels like it’s our turn. No, we’re not sandwich material yet, but ingredients are being pulled out onto the counter while the bread cools on the stove. Our parents are in their 60s and starting to have more health issues. Tom’s dad was in the hospital briefly last month (while Tom, coincidentally, was in town) and my dad recently got an unexpected diagnosis. They’re both ok and moving forward, but Tom and I realized that we’re just not ready for our parents to get old. We live such a distance from our families that it hurts to be far from home when things go wrong.

We’re starting to feel the pull to move back to the midwest, though that is unlikely to happen. While we would desperately love to return and be closer to our families, we have very deep roots here in Colorado. Uprooting the boys would likely traumatize them and frankly, we spend enough on therapy now as it is. I’m getting more involved in non-profit work here and having a ball. If the opportunity arose, however, we’d think long and hard about it.

I’m not ready to be the next Sandwich Generation. My parents are some of my very favorite people and I love them dearly. I just love spending time with them. I love watching them with the boys, and the boys adore them beyond words. I want to be nearby if they need me, but unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Just not in the mood for a sammich.


  1. Theresa

    That’s a tough spot to be in. I don’t envy you. My mom is only 15 minutes away, so caring for her when the time comes will be easy. But if I had to move out of state to do it? Tough decision. I’d have to remember who took care of me for the first 18 years of my life.

    1. Jen

      I know babe. I can’t imagine that spot, either! But I’m so close to my folks, and want to get closer to my brother. He’s a lot like A, and he and I butted heads a lot growing up. We get along better now, and I want to be there with him. Not easy.

  2. Wow. I feel your ambivalence. I am a piece of bologna right now.

    We moved both sets of parents to Colorado in the past two years. They live in wonderful retirement communities and have made new friends, but one of the four has dementia and another has a Parkinson’s-like condition. The prognosis is not bright for either.

    We also have two kids in college and one still in high school.

    After reading your post, I am so grateful that they decided on their own that moving here was the right choice for them. I can’t imagine what our travel would be like if they still lived in Texas and California.

    I wish the best for you and your family. For what it’s worth, in the midst of the doctors and the worry and the planing for the future, I’m really glad we’re all, all three generations, in this together.

    1. Jen

      Piece of bologna? LOL!
      Neither set of parents would be inclined to move, so we’re kinda stuck there. I know my boys will survive anything that happens, they just won’t make it easy for us! LOL

Whaddya think?

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