A couple of years ago the very great Carter Gaddis wrote a piece about the so-called Sandwich Generation. Those people are defined as people who frequently help their elderly parents and are raising children. This past weekend I was between two slices of bread, big time.
I was watching my son playing little league baseball, helping out the coach with the batting order and making sure no one got hit in the head as some kid was taking swings in the on-deck circle. Then I get a phone call. My mom, who lives in the apartment above mine and is a diabetic, had just tested her sugar and it was dangerously high. I told her that I was not close to home. My brother was also not available. She was not feeling bad but was a little anxious. I told her to unlock the front door, just in case she needed to call 9-1-1. I told her I would get home as soon as I could.
We had a bite of pizza with one of my son’s former classmates who had recently moved near the field where the game was taking place. Then I got another call. My mom was in the emergency room. Knowing that she would be waiting for a while, I told her I would go over there after we got home. The visit we had, was really nice and we look forward to hanging out with them again soon. A little while later, I helped my wife get the kids to sleep and I headed over to the hospital.
By the time I arrived, she had been stabilized. They were just waiting for her blood sugar to stabilize. We waited. And waited. And waited. All of a sudden it is nearly 1pm when we get to the car. Happy Mother’s day. I find parking … eventually and get into bed.
About an hour or so later, my son said he wasn’t feeling good and wanted to throw up. I took him to the bathroom and he threw up a bit. He was kind of feverish. After he left the bathroom, and had a sip of water he wanted to sleep on the sofa. So I tucked him in, and sat on my big chair next to him and we both fell asleep. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:30.
"When aging adults need assistance handling their affairs or caring for themselves, family members often help out. Among those with a parent age 65 or older who needs this type of assistance, 31% say they provide most of this help, and an additional 48% say they provide at least some of the help." -Pew Research
Both kids let my wife sleep in the next morning. Which was nice. The little guy was still feeling under the weather and slept for a few hours after he woke up. He had ups and downs, and ended up staying home from school on Monday. It was nice spending the day with him, but I didn’t get much done and I’m still pretty exhausted. My situation is not unique, nearly 47% of adults (40-59) have a parent 65 years old or older and are raising a child under 18.
Having an intergenerational household is nice. My kids like talking to their grandmother and she loves having them around. But sometimes you feel like you are burning the candle at both ends.