The "Middle" Age
I have come to realize that I am in the "middle" age. I don't mean I am middle aged. (Although that is true. Once you hit 40 you are in middle age, since the average American lives to about 80. Of course in my mind middle age isn't until 60 or so, but people rarely live to 120. Who wants to admit that they are getting older? But all of this is totally off the topic at hand.) What I mean is that I am in the middle, or as a friend told me recently, I am the in the sandwich generation.
The term sandwich generation might be a little bit better. And explains my situation better too. I am in the middle. Concerned about my son (as any mother would be) AND about my parents, as well as my in laws. There will come a time, in the not so distant future I am afraid, where I will be "parenting" not only my son but my parents. Eventually, I expect that I will also be looking after (in one way or another) my in laws. (And as I write this my mother in law has landed in a rehab facility after falling and fracturing her hip...and she is young when it comes to grandmothers!)
We live in a difficult time. Financially, I support my family of three. Emotionally, I support a larger group. I care for my child (as does my husband). I will also care for my parents when that is needed. (Just as they cared for me as a child.) If my husband needs care, I will care for him too. (And with him having diabetes and some complications arising from that, I'm thinking that this might happen sooner rather than later. I know we agreed to sickness and in health, but enough with the sickness stuff!) All while (hopefully) holding down a full time job.
It seems to be an overwhelming task. And yet is is one that must done. At least for me, there are no other options. These are the people that I love and will care for in whatever way I can. (Who knows what that might mean? Will we all live together in one house? Will my parents move to an adult community where I will visit as on a daily basis?) I already check in with my parents at least twice a day. Although I sometimes wonder who is checking on who.
I know I am not unique in my situation. There are plenty of people I know who care for children and parents at the same time. It is, however, an awesome responsibility. And when the time comes for me to take the mantle on, I hope I will do it with care, grace and understanding.