It’s the Sandwich Generation Blues. We are, quite literally, right in the middle of it.
Two out of three of our kids can’t drive yet, and one’s not old enough to be left at home alone while I run to Shop-Rite. So I’m still in the middle of the Mom’s Taxi Years. Between the hours of 3 and 9 PM, it’s hit or miss whether you’d be able to find me at home. You’re more likely to find me in the jughandle at the intersection with Route 130 on my way to or from the high school. And that’s OK. It’s where I expected to be at this point in my life.
But now, my husband is grappling with the dilemmas his family faces; his mom, a widow, is no longer able to drive due to deteriorating health. Her ability to live alone is quickly waning–more quickly than she or other family members are willing to admit. And we live 75 miles away.
It’s frustrating and difficult. I’m juggling kid-transportation, attempting not to think about some unresolved health issues of my own, and generally trying to keep all the wheels spinning here at home while he works hard, manages his mom’s finances, and runs a 50-boy Cub Scout pack. Oftentimes, his head is not in the game when he’s here, because he’s worrying about other things–important things.
There’s a lot of “woulda, coulda, shoulda” going on, a lot of conflict with family members who aren’t on the same page. He keeps most of it to himself; he almost never wants to talk about work, but today he did unload some of the burden of what’s been going on within his family. We had breakfast at the diner, which we’ll have to stop doing soon, because this is about to affect our budget in a big way, so we could get out of the house and talk through some of this.
Sometimes I get that guilty feeling because I think I should do more, but I don’t want to. And I don’t think it would work out well if I did. I know he’s hurt, though, that I don’t.
Meanwhile, I try to keep those wheels spinning here at home. I try to be flexible (whenever possible) about his extremely erratic arrivals for dinner and sudden changes of plans, though I often fail to be gracious about them. That’s a part of his burden that I should be willing, as well as able, to shoulder.
We’re stuck in the middle right now, and he’s going to need to be able to lean on me. I have failed in so many ways. Now, I pray for the strength he will need, and that I will be strong enough and generous enough to be his support.