Torn in two. That's the feeling of several friends currently in what has been called the “sandwich” generation. While continuing to parent their own children, at the same time they are more and more needed to care for aging parents. With a great desire to honor their parents they feel torn between competing priorities. Most often this is complicated by distance and travel.
Parenting our own children seems more natural than exchanging that role with our own parents. Decisions such as driving, living alone, medical issues, all loom on the horizon and present emotional pitfalls. Unresolved conflicts flare again and sibling rivalry finds another arena.
As a senior citizen myself, observing this process, I am challenged to think ahead and consider how I might make this easier on my own children. Philippians 2:3 calls us to consider others more important than ourselves. For me, as that aging parent, that may mean leaving my own comfort zone to be nearer to one of my children. It may mean making some of those difficult choices myself, such as relinquishing the keys to the car and bearing the inconvenient consequences of such a decision.
My husband and I talk of writing letters to ourselves now about these emotional decisions and how we desire to handle them. Then we will give the letters to our daughter to return to us with our blessing at crucial decision-making times. We can speak to ourselves and remind ourselves to focus on the welfare of all rather than demanding our own way. None of the options may be pleasant. Living with increasing limits isn't fun. But finishing well provides an opportunity to learn contentment and patience again.
Maybe you have found other ways to traverse this season of life? Share it with us.