Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Part C: The wife, the sandwich and the spread

I've been doing research on what is called the "Sandwich Generation". That's us baby-boomers who feel we need to take care of our aging parents while we allow our adult children to move back home and we "take care" of them as well.

The definitions totally leave my husband out:

Traditional: aging parents and children of their own
Club sandwich: 50-60 with aging parents, adult children and grandchildren
or 30-40 with young children, aging parents and grandparents
Open faced: anyone else involved in elder care.

So, my husband is 50-60 with 75 year old aging parents, 90 - 93 year old aging grandparents, 31 -32 year old adult children and a 4 year old grandchild with another in the oven!!!

I don't think you can spread the man any thinner than that!

One website calls it "the cluttered nest". LOLOL! All I want in my life is my empty nest!!!

My view is just a tad different from my husband's. My grown children will not move in with us as they need to know that they have to live with the outcomes of the decisions that they make in their lives. My mom is living with my youngest sister right now and one thing for sure, I will never lie to my husband about what I do to help her out.

So my husband does not have my support in how he is dealing with his family. Partly because I think they are all using him. Partly because I think he is enabling each of them in some type of negative manner. But mostly because I know that the stress he is putting himself through, at his own choice, is not doing anything to improve his diabetes. Being a hero to everyone else does not make you a hero to yourself. He really needs to be a hero to himself and get his diabetes under control.

I asked him tonight who would be here to take care of everyone when he is gone. He did not answer me. Who will his daughter move in with? Who will buy his son an airplane ticket to go see mommy? Who will fly and drive his mom to the doctor? Who will take his grandmother wherever she wants to go?

Why is it I see the answer so clearly? Each of those individuals is going to have to come up with some means to take care of themselves when he is gone. Why can't they do it now? Why does he continue to enable them? Why does he put himself through all this stress (and yes, he admits it is extremely stressful). And where am I in all this? Spread completely out of the picture? Off the page? Nowhere in sight? Smothered in the layers of the cluttered nest?

Yes, I will call the counselor again tomorrow as they have not called back to schedule an appointment. In the meantime I'm wondering if I should just spread myself out of this sandwich as it may be to cluttered, too thick, too suffocating for me to survive.

On the other hand, he is flying out in the morning and will be gone for 6 days. While he is gone, his daughter will be moving into our basement. Maybe I will have a couple of days of sheer silence and can do a little bit of mending of my own spirit!!!

Here's to all of you caught in the middle of the sandwich that is one layer diabetes and another layer family! :o)

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