It's not the peanut butter or Jelly that's getting to me, it's the slices of bread on either side! I am officially entering the proverbial sandwich generation. I've got a six year old and am 30 weeks pg and this weekend my Mom moves in with us.
Originally, the thought/plan was that when we (DH and I) were ready (aka financially stable) we would look at our forever home as being a place that would have room for Mom and Dad to have a "granny flat". This would be either a separate residence on our property or a duplex style home that would give each of us independence but also keep us close enough that it wouldn't be an inconvenience to care for them. This plan originated about 3 yrs ago when my Dad's kidney's started to get worse and dialysis became immanent and my Mom was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia. Two sick parents, me (the only daughter) and the overriding desire to care for them as they had cared for me.
Financial stability has been somewhat of a challenge. I have a great job and it is only looking better for my future. Despite the upcoming mat leave I continue to be the bread winner (my work tops me up 93% - who wouldn't want to get pg, be off work for a year and still make a decent salary!?!). DH on the other hand is in yr 2 of his 3 yr program and although he has work terms, we have tuition and inconsistent and truly insignificant income from him. So that dream home/property is not in our immediate financial grasp.
The granny flat is now only going to contain a granny. Dad went in for heart surgery September 2008 - calcification to the aortic valve caused by kidney disease. Fairly routine. He recovered the first day and appeared fine. Day 2 he was delusional and we knew something was wrong...he got a hospital infection. By the time we were told there was nothing more they could do for him in December, he had had a total of 7 hospital related infections! (He had some good months in there, and we were able to visit and let him know how much we loved him.)
Now that there is only a granny, a grieving granny, it seems that plans have changed. To make her life more affordable and sustainable she asked if we were still interested in the "Master Plan" and wondered if we would let her move in so she could save and we could save. I am willing to welcome her into my home, that is not the problem. The problem, or sandwich factor you could call it, is the role reversal that has occurred over the course of Dad's hospitalization and death. Mom has become dependent on me much like my own child. She is unable to make simple decisions for herself, take care of necessary arrangements and seems to have lost most of her common sense. My hopes of being able to depend on her to even put a dish back in the same place twice are rapidly declining and I'm not sure I'm up for the challenge of being confined to living in such close quarters with an infant, a six year old and a 65 year old that need me to be their Mom!
I pray for strength and patience. I pray that my Mom will continue to heal since the loss of my Dad, her soul mate, because as much as I feel sad for her immeasurable loss I find it hard to tolerate just how much it has changed her.
I hope I don't sound selfish here. It's a bit difficult to explain. All I can say is that the strength of character and sense of independent self that I possess today is a direct reflection of the woman who raised me. To see it crumble away and find her so uncertain about simple decisions makes me worry for her and fear how long it will take for her rebuild herself and fear for how well I will cope when I have another, equally needy, generation to care for.
So I hope that the bread is at least whole wheat, because Lord knows I'm going to need the fibre to flush out the daily shit I'm going to be putting up with!