We have no children at home - well, no children except our two-year old "wanna-be grandson", Riley, who is with us on a average of three to four days a week from 5:30 in the morning till 3 PM, and his brother, Miles, who also comes then, but goes to school at 8:30 AM. So I guess we do have small children in our home.
But also, between the two of us, we have three parents who are "advanced in age" - the Bible's age-old terminology for that time of life. And as of this past weekend all three parents are living near us and depending on us for some of their care. So Robert and I are sandwiched somewhere in between the two generations we care for. People in this situation are now called the "sandwich generation".
Robert's father, now advanced to 90, just moved from the east coast (Long Island, N.Y.) to Merrill Gardens here in our own community this past weekend. My mom, 82, moved day-before-yesterday to the same facility, though she had been living just blocks from us. For both of them it is such an improvement. Words cannot express the relief we sense just knowing that they are both very well-taken care of.
Robert's mother, 85, (his father and mother were divorced over 50 years ago) who lives about half an hour away, is still living on her own. Robert visits her weekly for shopping and doctor visits and also for any other needs she may have. They speak daily at 5 PM on the phone. Robert and I are the only people available to care for his parents, but, thankfully, my sister has been a mainstay for our mother.
Our schedule has been grueling for about 2 weeks now, getting Dad Kaufman's apartment furnished, getting my mom to doctor's appointments to be evaluated for her new residence, and paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, etc. And come to think of it, when we were down to the wire last week, I also had Riley and Miles for four of those days. Whew!!! I was not only a "sandwich on the go" but at times was really "out to lunch" also as the caption on the graphic depicts.
Of course, we've come up against all the customary challenges in caring for our charges - the children and our parents. None of them know the Lord and that is the most heart-rending, urgent need for them all. So we pray.
But, as many of you know, there are daily changes with little folks as well as those advanced in years. During the move, we saw Robert's dad become so disoriented that he, in very angry tones, asked Robert where Robert was and insisted that Robert was not Robert and that he should stop playing games with him (quite alarming). Thankfully, he recovered within an hour and everything was rosy again.
Though, as a "sandwich on the go" I could easily feel like each one we care for is just wanting to take a bite out of me, as Christians, Robert and I simply want to love the ones we care for. Most importantly, we want to point them to the Savior who can rescue them from an eternity without His benevolent presence and delight them with Himself. We can only do that as we have been in His benevolent presence and are perfumed with His lovely fragrance of grace and truth.
Hopefully life will level out soon (really, does it ever?). We'd also love to hear from any of this blog's readers concerning these matters. What has your experience been and how have you manifested Christ's endearing love to those you care for? We need wisdom as we go about ministering to our parents (and also the children). We also need rest and strength and welcome any tried and true insights that would make this endeavor truly a work of grace and mercy toward our loved ones.