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.