Tuesday, July 24, 2007


If something just won't leave my mind alone, I write it down hoping that the muddle will explode into eloquence. That's just a dream. Usually I'm satisfied if I have a little more clarity at the end of a session at the keyboard than I did at the beginning.

Sometimes I begin writing a blog post that I'm not sure I'll publish. The reason for that, most of the time, is that I know I may get fed up and delete it! Other times I realize that, whoa, I don't want people to read this.

I don't know when I first heard the phrase "Sandwich Generation." It was catchy, whenever it was, and I thought it might apply to me. I still had children at home, though two were teenagers, and my parents were getting older and needier. I introduced the term to friends in similar situations, and together we pondered the meaning of belonging to this newly identified group.

That was long ago, but my membership card has not yet expired. No, I'm not taking care of my children now (though I'm still available for giving advice!), but I have a grandchild I want to be with as often as possible. And my father's life is one I lean into more each day.

My reluctance to write about this (see second paragraph) stems from fear that people will think I'm complaining or, worse, glorifying my importance. The truth is, I don't do that much. My grandchild is in another city. My dad lives in Waco but not in my home.

Still, I feel "sandwiched" between my desperate need to be in my grandchild's life and my helplessness to change my father's. The two longings don't compete with each other, but trying to maintain my footing as I leap from one to the other is tricky. And I think I just changed metaphors, because sandwiches don't jump.

Yesterday evening I sat with my father as he described another hopelessly bad meal, throbbing hands that make it tortuous to tie shoes and button shirts, and his sickening dread of a nursing home. I know he usually feels better the next day. But the tears I held back as he talked fell freely the rest of the night. In my frustration I slammed three doors.

As I write this, my dad has gone out to breakfast with my son. I didn't sleep last night but I'm better today, too. Why? Because I'll soon hold a baby. . . .

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