Like most women I know, I’ve filled and morphed a litany of roles in life—baby (not that I remember but I’ve seen pictures), daughter, student, wife, mother, dog owner, etc. I thought the next role I’d learn to play was Empty Nester. Not only is this flawed because my son is now attending college locally and living at home, but because I’ve become lunch meat. And cheese, mayo and pickles. Just call me Patty Paninni.
That’s right, I’m now one of those Sandwich Generation Women—Still responsible for raising my children while also responsible for taking care of my parents.
Let’s compare my life to the dictionary definition of a sandwich—them:
“sandwich |ˈsanˌ(d)wi ch |
an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal : a ham sandwich.
• something that is constructed like or has the form of a sandwich.
“verb [ trans. ] (usu. be sandwiched between)
insert or squeeze (someone or something) between two other people or things, typically in a restricted space or so as to be uncomfortable : the girl was sandwiched between two burly men in the back of the car.
“ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: named after the 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718–92), an English nobleman said to have eaten food in this form so as not to leave the gaming table.”
And now me:
“sandwich woman |ˈsanˌ(d)wi ch ˈwoŏmən|
1. A middle aged woman on verge of rediscovering life with her husband 2. A middle aged mother on the verge of her last child moving out 3. A middle aged daughter whose parents (5 states away) are in need of her physical care and presence 4. Only offspring (out of 4) of said parents who has career-travel flexibility.
“verb [usu. to morph from daughter to caregiver]
squeeze multiple last minute flights to south Florida in-between previously scheduled business and family obligations and travel, typically to the point of mental confusion: The woman wandered the airport parking garage in search of her car.
“ORIGIN: early 21st cent.: named after 1st Karen of Rinehart (1964–), an American cul de sac, work at home mom, with 1 stress-ridden husband, 2 non-independent college age children and 2 aging, increasingly needy parents.”
Are you getting the picture? Are you right there with me? And if you are, how did we recently wake up in our parent’s house and think, Hello! I’m mothering my mom and dad! OR wake up in a freezing hospital waiting room and wonder, Why is that 12-year-old doctor talking to me? And why doesn’t the flippin coffee bar take credit cards?
Well, if so, (and even if you’re not) stick around. Have I got some Sandwich Stories to tell you—plus some actual real live honest to goodness Survival tips! Bet you didn’t know you can knit wearing latex gloves, huh? Or comprehend the necessity and power of Sippy Cups? That’s right, Sippy Cups. So go click on that “Follow” button so you’ll never miss a handy, helpful and witty post!