The Stressed Sandwich

 


I am a stressed sandwich.  Yes, you read that right, I am a stressed sandwich.

In case you didn't know, there is such a thing called the "sandwich generation" and I fall into that category.  What exactly is this?  To quote from the Pew Research Center:  "Adults who are part of the sandwich generation—that is, those who have a living parent age 65 or older and are either raising a child under age 18 or supporting a grown child—are pulled in many directions. Not only do many provide care and financial support to their parents and their children, but nearly four-in-ten (38%) say both their grown children and their parents rely on them for emotional support."  This article, originally published in 2013, goes on to say:  "Presumably life in the sandwich generation could be a bit stressful. Having an aging parent while still raising or supporting one’s own children presents certain challenges not faced by other adults—caregiving and financial and emotional support to name just a few."

We can take out the presumably, at least when it comes to my situation.  And to be completely honest, the stress I feel is mostly because most issues/challenges/things are out of my control.  (To be completely honest most everything if out of my control, but I like to create a personal illusion that I DO have control.) If I could learn to let go and let be, I'd be much less stressed.  However, that just isn't me.  I TRY to follow that mantra, but...

Let's start with the top layer of the sandwich; that would be my parents.  They are aging, as we all are, and have some health issues which I have written about before.  I wrote with determination how I was going to make sure that my father got the procedure that would help with his pain.  I fought the fight; I was on the phone back and forth with doctors' offices.  In the end; it didn't help.  It was determined that the procedure COULD be done, but only in a hospital setting and the doctor didn't have privileges.  (Let's not go there.)  I've failed.  Logically I know I haven't, but that's not the way that it feels.  My mother also has health issues that no one seems to understand or be able to figure out.  Not having being able to provide any answers or solutions also makes me feel like I have failed.  No one wants to fail their parents.

Then there's the bottom layer; my son.  We just had a (virtual) meeting with his guidance counselor (#3...school does not seem to have a good track record with guidance counselors) where we talked about colleges (or more succinctly how to use Naviance to determine your entire life), SATs and his senior (SENIOR?!?!?) year schedule.  HOLY CRAP!  It's not that I didn't know this was coming; it's not like I'm not prepared, but...I'M NOT PREPARED!  HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!  EVERYTHING is about to change!  How can ANYONE be prepared for that?  Furthermore, being a (somewhat) typical teen (which also being incredibly unique) he is taking a relaxed approach to all this, while I am FREAKING OUT!  (How can I get his SAT scores up without paying a fortune and why do I care when they really don't matter that much any ways...or do they?  Why are the schools that seem to be a good fit for him out of state and hours away and let's face it expensive? )

For now let's ignore the inner layer; that would be me.  That would be my job, other responsibilities and just generally life.  I am the jelly in the sandwich and I am oozing out the sides.

Logically, I know I will get through all this.  I am a relatively intelligent woman and there are many people in a similar boat to me.  MOST of the time, I am rational and know that life will play out as it will, But there are other times...

I'm going to have my stressed out freak outs.  IT's going to happen.  I will rant and rave and be totally unreasonable.  I think that's perfectly normal and acceptable.  (It may even give me more material to blog about.)  I'm not fond of roller coasters, but I'm on this ride and I'll ride it.  I'll hold on tight.  I'll scream.  I'll laugh.  I'll be glad when it's over; because it WILL be over.  And then it will be time to start another ride; because that's life.


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