Friday, March 20, 2009

The Sandwich Generation

So I am now officially the bologna in the Sandwich Generation--the group of people who used to be called Baby Boomers and who now hold the less-than-enviable position of having both aging parents and grown children. Less than enviable because while we thought we would have these years joyously and selfishly to ourselves, we find that we are called upon to switch our caregiving from our children, who are, for the most part, on their own, to our parents, who were, but aren't anymore.

Confused? You bet.

We have five kids, all fabulous, who would hate being discussed here, but who on occasion still show up on our virtual doorstep (via phone, email, but rarely in person) needing to borrow the odd vacuum cleaner, suitcase or 100 bucks til payday. Actually, lately they've even begun inviting us to their places for a party or dinner, a cause for celebration in my maternal heart.

They are all excellent hosts and hostesses, by the way, if I do say so myself. See the picture of them all with me last Mother's Day. I'm the one sandwiched in the middle of all that goodness.

As I've told my friends in the past, as long as all their plates are spinning, I consider it a great day. And so I wile away my very few and far between leisure hours daydreaming of more leisure hours filled with vacations to faraway and exotic places. I've begun planning cruises to skirt the outer edges of every continent, to explore the hidden wonders of the world, to taste the treasures other peoples and places have to offer.

But lately I've also started concerning myself with the spinning of my parents' plates as well as that of Scott's mother, Alice. And frequently I am left standing in a pile of broken china. Their health, financial situations, caregiving, houses, and especially stress and happiness are all part of my daily thoughts now.

Earlier today I heard a siren and saw an ambulance going in the direction of my parents' home and worried that it was on its noisy way to them. When I called to check, I found out from Dad's caregiver that my mom had gone to the beauty parlor (weekly trips to the beauty parlor, there's a topic to explore.) Thank God. That siren is not for them. Not today.

But one day it will be.

And for now my plans for great escapes are tempered with worries that while I'm away sunning on some foreign shore, a siren will scream down the street to their house or to Alice's and I won't be there to catch the falling plates.

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