Sandwich Generation

Sandwich Generation

From Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul

Sandwich Generation

Children have more need of models than of critics.

Joseph Joubert

I am a member of the “sandwich generation.” I’m forty-two, my children are fifteen and twelve, and I visit my eighty-two-year-old debilitated mother three to four times a week.

Widowed, she lives alone in her condo six miles from my home. She no longer drives and is dependent on others for transportation and social activities. I get very bogged down running two households. I’m either taking her to my home for a visit, to the grocery store or for a haircut, or I’m driving her around with me on my errands just to get her out of the house. She appreciates very much every small thing I do for her and tries hard to understand my busy schedule.

One particularly hot Texas day in July, I was driving my daughter from one errand to another when I realized I was running behind—again—and needed to call Mom and tell her I would be late picking her up. As I sped down the road, I called her on my cell speakerphone. I told her we were coming by to get her but that we were behind schedule. Her Irish lilt filled the car. “I’ll be ready whenever you come.” Then we ended our conversation with our daily, “I love you. See you soon.”

As I hung up, my precious twelve-year-old said, “I was just imagining that I was you and that my daughter was sitting next to me in the car and we were talking to you, the grandma, on the phone.” I was stunned. My prayers were being answered. As hard as it is sometimes, with all the running and juggling schedules, I am modeling something for my children after all, teaching them that nothing matters more in this world than the time we spend with those closest to us.

Yes, I may very well be old, one day, and all alone. I hope my daughter will then say, “I love you. See you soon.”

Tricia Short

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