Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Feel Like a Sandwich?
Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12 NRS)
I think sandwiches are great. So much so, I have become one myself. Yep, that’s me. Part of the sandwich generation. I have a son who is maturing and gradually needing me less and mother who has a variety of health concerns and is needing me more. My mom took great care of me while I was growing up. I’m glad to return the favor. I recently traveled to care for her during full knee replacement. I had delusions of getting writing done while there. Ha! Knee rehab is a full-time job for all involved. I did succeed, however, in stocking her freezer to the bursting point with individual portions of her favorite home-cooked meals, plus a batch of homemade strawberry jam for good measure.
Being part of the sandwich generation is a role I’m glad to fill in the midst of being a wife, mother, pastor, writer and speaker. It’s a role that comes with choices. I didn’t want mom to know I was missing my 30 year anniversary in order to be with her, but she figured it out. She knows I keep pretty busy with my ministry, so I spared her the details on deadlines. Nevertheless, she noticed my computer was on A LOT. Oftentimes those of us in the sandwich generation need to decide between two or more important things, choosing which is more pressing at the moment. In this case it was not at all a hard choice to make.
Any parent in the sandwich generation feels the extra needs within the extended family. For special needs parents it is more so. We run the risk of being stretched too thin while juggling many needs. On the day of Mom’s surgery it was the fourth day in a row I had woken up in a different place across three different time zones. As my alarm clock beeped rudely I had that disconcerting sense of “Where am I? Why am I here? What time is it?”
I was where I needed to be, with mom, getting her to the hospital on time, calming her nerves and my own. Life went from hyper-speed to the speed of a walker powered by wincing baby steps. Blessings come in many surprising ways. I took a page from my own book regarding self-care and, once Mom was to the point of having a less painful day, I got out of the house for an hour and a half to run along the coastal hills of California. When my college roommate offered to stop by with lunch I gratefully took her up on it and we enjoyed an afternoon of giggles that was far too brief.
Along about day six or seven after surgery, days filled with multiple ice therapies, massages and stretching, Mom said, “Well, one thing you certainly got right is honoring your mother. I feel so loved and cared for.”
Yes. I’m where I need to be, and glad to be there. Truthfully, it feels pretty good to be loved and needed by both generations.
Gracious God, thank you for calling me to be where I am needed most. Help me to be enough. Amen
Photo “Sandwich With Eggplant, Tomatoes, Peppers And Cheese” by Apolonia from FreeDigitalPhotos.net