A Different Kind of New Year's Resolution
Forget the usual(ly broken) commitments we make every year and think about pledging your intentions to someone else.
I used to hear the term "sandwich generation" and wonder which generation of Americans really liked to eat sandwiches.
Then I realized that I'm part of it, and it has nothing to do with ham on rye.
If you're like me, you may be taking care of young children and also helping to take care of aging parents.
As I write this, I am headed back to Baltimore on a southbound train after a whirlwind trip to New York to take my mom home after she came to visit for the holidays. She is in good health, but she recently had her knee replaced and, at nearly 79 years old, it's taken a bit longer than she expected to get back to normal.
While she was in Baltimore, we went on our second round of looking at retirement communities. She's not ready to commit to one yet, but we're hoping she'll make a decision soon and get on a waiting list. I would love for her to be just five minutes away if she needs help as opposed to the long haul up the New Jersey Turnpike.
"Everyone looks so old," she says each time we walk into a different community.
How can I argue with that?
It's not always easy to balance it all. My "trip to deliver Granny home," as my children called it, had me zooming north on I-95 just as my oldest came down with the hideous 24-hour stomach bug that's been going around. My 7-year-old is battling a sinus infection. And, my youngest couldn't understand why my husband wouldn't invite anyone over to play in our house/petri dish of germs.
This is supposed to be a restful week, but I'm pretty sure both my husband and I will need a vacation from vacation soon.
Still, I feel lucky to be able to help my mom. I have five other brothers and sisters who also help—two from as far away as Los Angeles and Alaska. The help she needs right now is just on an "as-needed basis". And, besides raising all six of us, she dropped everything each time one of her nine grandchildren was born to help in any way she could. How could we not offer her the same?
But I understand that it can get overwhelming to try to get it all done. It can be especially hard if your parent needs financial assistance. Two good places to start looking for support:
Baltimore County Department of Aging—good for local resources.
Caring.com—a comprehensive site covering a wide range of issues.
Now that my mom is home safe in New York, we are missing her in Baltimore. Thus, as the New Year approaches, I have a different kind of resolution than the usual "drop those pesky 10 pounds" or "de-clutter" my life. It's to help my mom find a place in Baltimore where she will feel comfortable and happy.
And—where no one looks old!