I am the Sandwich Friday, Oct 4 2013 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandwich_generation

The Sandwich generation is a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.

According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between 7 to 10 million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. US Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of older Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.

Carol Abaya categorized the different scenarios involved in being a part of the sandwich generation.

  • Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
  • Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.
  • Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care. [1]

Merriam-Webster officially added the term to its dictionary in July 2006.

The term “sandwich generation” was coined by Dorothy A Miller in 1981. [2]

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My eldest son, mid 30’s and his son, 5, moved out of our home this last weekend.  They have been living with us for almost 2 years.  The joy of having that level of access to my grandson was tempered by being his parent much of the time, versus just being able to be his “Granny”.  My husband and I often had a differing opinions on how things involving our grown child and his child should be treated within our home, adding an additional level of stress to the situation.  But we made it though that phase of the sandwich, and looked forward to having our home and our time delegated back to ‘us’.  We joked about relearning how to have a two person conversation, how to cook a two person meal, about cooking meals we liked vs those the picky 5 yr old would eat, how we’d spent time ..just the two of us…..and so on.   It is a nice dream.  The financial side of the situation is ongoing, but that is another topic.

So, on day two of our ‘freedom’, when my parents called, upset and needing my help, I should not have been surprised.  We didn’t even get a week of ‘just us’ before other responsibilities pressed us back into service.  My parents are aging, not in the best of health, and are quick to call on me, rather than either of my brothers, when they want or need something.  There is a thin line between want and need.  I think they call me because 1) I am female and they are of that generation that believes that caregivers are female, 2) I am the oldest 3) I’ve been down this road before with  my mother in law and 4) I find a way to do what they want if I can.

My husband and I have been ‘the sandwich’ for so many years now, providing care for members of his family and mine, that I do not recall a time when we were not taking care of an aunt/parent/grandparent/sibling and a child at the same time.  It started in our 20’s and we are in our mid 50’s now.  We were the sandwich before there was a sandwich.  We’ve been able to regroup in the small gaps between, but each round it gets harder and harder to reconnect and adjust.   Since we only get one round on this planet, I’d like to assert, we’ve done our time caring for others and we need a break.  But reality is, that is not going to happen.  Buck up, Ms. Sandwich.  This one is a toasty footlong with extra cheese.

News Flash-World Keeps Spinning-Story at 10 Wednesday, Sep 25 2013 

Having now spent over a week answering emails for 1) people who really need help with the new system 2) people who hate change no matter what it is and 3) people who complain because they can, I have decided that the world will continue and nothing will change.  The people that needed help received it.  The people that hate change had change thrust upon them and will adjust or move on.  Keep in mind the last time there was a technology change they hated that system too, and now it is the one they want to flip back to using :).  And the complainers, well, they were killed with kindness and will find another topic to complain about, focus their unhappiness on, and in general continue their unhappy little lives.  Live is too short to worry about them.

During my lifetime, I’ve dealt with different types of issues and problems, one of which was mother in law’s demenita, which I detailed in my postings in this blog and when my brother in law wasted away from lung cancer in front of our eyes.  Currently both my parents have aging issues and there are plenty of real life, personal stresses on me.   That, my friends, is when times are tough and you dig deep, not when online banking rejects your password at 3am.  Seriously, is that the worst thing that has ever happened to you?  Because your reaction seems a bit over the top…..just sayin’.  (In case you don’t get that last part, it was sarcastic.)

So kick back, eat some ice cream, smile.  I’m going too, as soon as I answer all these bleeping emails.

Relax, Get to It! Thursday, Nov 29 2012 

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday I had time to ponder all the things in my life I have to be thankful for, I realized that I need to relax a bit and let myself enjoy all the good things in my life and not stress out about the big and little things that normally stress me out.  And that is so much easier said than done.  Perhaps writing it down will help.  Perhaps not.  Either way, I am writing it down.

I am a worrier.  Always have been, always will be.  I work hard to get what I want. I want things to be right and for everyone to do their part.  When everyone doesn’t do their part, or mayhap the part I think they should do, I tend to tighten up.  If things really go off course and ‘whatever’ is not completed or accomplished, then tighten up is not a strong enough term to describe me.  So it should be no surprise to anyone that knows me at all that stress and worry is a daily part of my life and its impact can spill over onto others around me.

That being said, I can also ‘let things go’ that I cannot control, after putting out a mammoth effort to control it. This is not the same as giving up. If I give it my best and cannot change the outcome, or if other humans are involved and I cannot control the outcome, I can let things go and stop inserting myself into whatever the situation may be.  It is not easy.  And sometimes my tummy will be upset over it.  But I can still relax out of it.  And watch from a distance.  Just in case.

I come by this over worry naturally.  My mother has a syndrome with a name too long to mention that is about being overcautious and worrying that is derived from being a child forced into responsibility too early.  And, while she did not mean to impart this issue to me, years of carefully worded concerns, cautions, warnings and rules, along with sudden air intake and other signs of worry left a deep imprint on me that for years I did not know was there.  My first child status also plays a part I’m sure, as well as being female, as both my younger brothers were not as imprinted as I.  My husband and sons were the ones to point out that my standard goodbye salutation to everyone is always ‘be careful’.  I’d been saying that for years without even knowing it.

But I am getting off point, if I ever had a point, which is relaxing a bit and being thankful.  Because I am thankful for many things in my life.  Some are small and may seem insignificant, but are not.  Some are large and seem significant, but aren’t.  Regardless of the size or the significance, I am lucky to have things for which I am thankful. I have a home, a comfortable life, an old husband (meaning we’ve been together a long time), and things I like to do, I mainly get to do.  I live in a country that allows me the freedoms many females do not get in other countries, and I am thankful for that.  I try not to take it for granted. I have people in my life I love.

As 2012 slides toward the end of existence, relaxation and thankfulness are my goals.  I’ll save the stress for the Fiscal Cliff.

Tis the Season…Stress Out…Tday Plans….Vote yes for Pie Wednesday, Nov 25 2009 

I don’t recall the ‘season’ being so stressful when I was a child, but then again my small slightly dysfunctional family didn’t live around the rest of the larger dysfunctional family, so maybe we didn’t get the larger nuclear blasts.  Or maybe the holidays didn’t come with so much expectation.  All I know for sure is that the holidays are now stressful and not as much fun as I think it should be by definition.  The tension starts when we have to figure out where Thanksgiving will be, which side of what family will be doing what with whom.  His side and my side rarely tangled well-so we’ve always avoid having them tangle and now the family has expanded with married ins.  Our kids are grown, so we mix in their new other halves and families, which may or may not have multiple steps involved.  At least with Scott and I, we did not have split family situations to include.  It was just his pushy, bossy ‘want it all’ side and my quiet, reserved side.  (okay that was a little dig).  I wonder if there are more stressed out holidays than pleasant, peaceful holidays out there.  And I also wonder how much of the stress is self-induced.

We are having Tday at our house this year.  It’s not really much of a mix of sides this time, since none of ‘his’ side will be here (that I know of, so far, yet, things could change, it’s still early).  My parental units, one of my brothers and his family, one of our sons and his family (including his mother in law) will be here for Tday.   Enough to make it interesting.  The strange part is, we volunteered.  Crazy, I know.  Obviously we were not thinking.  Brought this down on ourselves. Scott has started baking…he’s the cook, not me…and the place smells wonderful.  I’m cleaning (when not blogging).

We see much more of his family than mine.  That is to say we are more involved with his family than mine.  So although I see/talk to my parents quite a bit, I am not in touch with either of my brothers very much, and haven’t seen either of them since August, even though we all live around the same area.  And August was because a niece got married, otherwise it would have been last Tday.  Yes, that is shades of dysfunctional.  We don’t fight or anything.  Actually, that’s it.  We don’t do anything.  Never have been quite sure why.  But everyone is busy, right?

The signs of stress are showing. And I know it will get worse before it gets better.  So, today is house cleaning and stuff.  And trying to decide what ‘story’ to tell for why our other son will not be around for the gathering.  Because it is not anybody’s business. But it will be glaring that he is not here. And will add to the stress.  I’m just sayin’.

Scott says he recalls when he was a kid Tday was all about hunting.  The men would all go hunting for the whole week if possible.  If they couldn’t be there the whole week, it would be come and go sort of thing, with the ‘women’ showing up for Tday only, with food.  When our boys were young, Scott and male relatives used to go hunting over the holidays sometimes.  They didn’t ever come back with anything and I never got the impression it was really about actually killing anything anyway.  Maybe it was just the old fashion way men did man type things.  Oh well, doesn’t really matter much now.  It’s about football and pie now.  I vote yes on pie. You?