Yesterday afternoon, while I was on hold with a dentist's office, trying to get Lauren an appointment, the call waiting on my home phone beeped in. I didn't answer it because I really needed to finish my conversation with the dentist's office. Well, I guess I should have answered it because it was the social worker at my mom's care facility. After failing to get me on our home phone, the social worker called my cell phone. I picked up the call on my cell phone and the social worker said, "I'm calling about your mom." I said, "I'm on hold with my daughter's dentist's office, is my mom okay? is it an emergency?" She said, "it's not an emergency, but it is urgent." Yikes. I had my home phone against my left ear and the cell phone on my right ear. In that moment in time, I literally was in the middle of the generation "sandwich." I was helping both my daughter and my mother at the same exact time!!
How many of us between the ages of 40-60 years old are helping to take care of our parents or an elderly relative (at home or in a care facility) AND raising our own children? It's quite the balancing act isn't it? I think of myself as a circus "juggler" with many "balls" up in the air, trying not let any of them drop. The most important thing I think to remember is that you are only one person and you can only be in one place at a time. You have to take care of yourself, emotionally and physically. Try not to let yourself go to the bottom of your priority list. Talk to friends who are going through the same things and lean on your spouse or partner more for that much needed support. I have been wanting to fly back to Maryland, because the past two or three weeks, I have noticed a significant mental decline when I've been talking to my mom on the phone. She is aware enough to realize this is happening to her, which makes it all the more heartbreaking. I have been in a "holding" pattern and hesitating to book a flight, because based on Dominic's two seizures he had in June, he had to get an MRI. Last Tuesday, I heard from the neurologist that he was fine. That evening, I booked my flight. I am super blessed by my husband. He will assume the responsibility for taking care of Dominic in my absence. This is not the first time I have had to fly "solo," but as Dominic becomes more verbal, he is able to put into words how he feels about me leaving. He is very into the calendar and his "schedule." Before I could tell him I was going to be gone, he noticed it written down on the family calendar. I told him that Grandma Martha was "sick." No less than three or four times a day since then, he has been saying, "Mommy leave for Maryland and Daddy will take good care of you." This morning he said, "Dominic go to Maryland." I had to gently remind him that I was going by myself. He then said, "good-bye mom." I really had to restrain the tears for that one. Sigh.