Saturday, May 19, 2007

Super Sandwich Generation Ramblings

I like the term "super-sandwicher" to describe people of my generation and our unique challenges.

We're the ones who have parents AND grandparents, both of whom need our caregiving support, advice, attention, as well as having children AND grandchildren, ditto for their needs. Read my friend and employee Wendy's description of her life as a super-sandwicher - I don't think it can really be described much better.

Wendy's grandmother had her kids in her early 20's; Wendy's mom had her at 20 and Wendy had her own kids early. Her son married and had his first child while young, meaning that Wendy is a super-sandwicher at just over 40.

I did it all a little different; had my first child at 30. While I've got two daughters in college (actually, the oldest is graduating in 4 weeks - yahoo!), I've still got one in high school and, thankfully, no grandkids.

That doesn't mean we're not being called into the "can you watch the kids" mode, however. Neighbors saw us pushing the twins stroller AND the single stroller down the street the other night coming home from the park after watching the three toddlers belonging to our good friend who lost her husband 4 weeks before her twins were born; her own mom died 2 weeks after that. We step in on a weekly basis as surrogate grands, although I must admit I prefer the idea of being "Aunt Sharon" far more.

And then there is Sara, a wonderful young woman who used to babysit for us when our kids were little and she was a teen. Grown now, with twin sons of her own, we are both godparents and grands, providing a support network to them.

My own mom, recovering from the auto accident last fall that took the life of my father and left her severely injured, is now living independently and walking a mile or so each day - slowly, with a crooked stride, but resolute in her determination to live life as fully as she can.

She just took the train to visit HER mother, who, at 93, is enjoying this stage of her life in a retirement community. I believe she is on boyfriend number three since moving into the community. The previous two have passed away, leaving her feeling understandably reluctant to make any commitment to this gentleman.

And life goes on. As a person in the middle, I'm in the unique position of being the one both sides turn to for advice, support and physical assistance.

What a priviledge, honor and an exhaustion. I believe I need a nap.