Sunday, August 7, 2011

Unsandwiched by Margaret Ullrich

Summer is a great time for get-togethers.
Graduations, weddings, anniversaries, reunions.
Facebook is abuzz with folks planning for or returning from visits.

It's a little easier to travel when you don't have to pack 20-pound coats.
Cheaper, too.
Gotta love the itemized airline surcharges.
They really think that makes the final ticket price more acceptable.

I grew up in a just-off-the-boat immigrant family.
Every weekend was planned.
It was easy.
We - the family - got together.
The same thing we'd done the weekend before.
And the weekend before that.

Since there weren't our parents' old schoolmates, neighbors or friends on the continent, the guest list was all set.

It wasn't totally like Logan's Run.
There were a few elderly people at the table.
They were the parents of the Sicilian in-laws.
They were invited, made comfortable, and allowed to nap when the mood hit.
Why not?
They were over 60.
They'd done their share of hosting.
They'd earned the right to let someone else - like their kids - do the work.

Those were the days....

Now folks around 60 are called the "Sandwich Generation".
Responsible for caring for their even older parents and the kids.
And, the kids' kids.

It's a world-wide situation that crosses all income levels.
Picture it... 
Charlie and Cam have to fire up the grill for his parents, Elizabeth II and Philip.
Don't forget the three sibs, their spouses and kids.
And their own boys and the new daughter-in-law.
Oh, and is that a baby bump we see?
The Boomers must host them all, for however long they live.
Didn't the Queen Mum live past 100?

Yesterday I listened to my friend rattling off her plans for a reunion.
D-Day took less work.
Yessiree, she was planning a humdinger.
Her kids, in-laws, grandkids, and gloryoski, a great-grandson! 
Don't forget her six siblings, their spouses and the parents.

One of the kids offered to host at his home, the McMansion, and have it catered.
My friend wouldn't hear of it.
This was her party.
With the proper medication, her blood pressure would be under control.
She just expects them all to come to her house.
After all, she's still the Mom.


Maybe it's time to pass on the apron.
Maybe it's time for the kids to take over.
Maybe it's time for the lid to come off the sandwich. 

Maybe it's time for Mom to call herself "Grandma".

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