So, I am definitely the “nana” of two little girls! The oldest is now 3 ½ and the little one is celebrating her first birthday! They are a darling duo — fun, sweet, loving, playful, and keep Pa and Nana busy, as well as their parents and auntie!
Don’t see them as often as I would like these past few months. Seems that the “preschool crud” kept us all down and out throughout the winter season…. But, we have turned the corner with the arrival of spring, more sunshine, and warming temperatures. Rays of hope are shining on the holiday weekend ahead with plans for an extended family gathering with much to celebrate and be thankful for.
My mother, dubbed as “Bubba” by her eldest great-granddaughter, just celebrated her 86th birthday! Bubba is healthy, active, and as spunky and spirited as ever. She has missed her little great-granddaughters and requested a spontaneously family gathering with the help of my sister and niece to make a long weekend trip to our area to celebrate the Easter holiday, the baby’s first birthday, and the arrival of spring. Why not? Definitely a great plan to make happen! I pick up the traveling trio at the airport tomorrow afternoon, and the fun begins! Very excited!!!
We need a happy celebration of life right about now… The winter weather was hard across the country, on the heels of losing Bubba’s sister, Auntie, back in October. We miss those we have lost, yet must find comfort and healing in being grateful for the younger generation who bring added joy to our lives. Bubba has always amazed me with her positive outlook about dealing with life’s losses and disappointments. She grieves in her own way, but channels energy to those who remain an important part of her life. I admire that about her…
My sister and sister-in-law share conversations filled with high school kids exploring college options and aging parents with health complications. Lots of running and planning and juggling in their households these days! Bubba is excited for the accomplishments of her grandkids, but becomes melancholy with mention of college far away from their home base. She anticipates not seeing the busy college kids as frequently, but potential distance saddens her. We try not to discuss it too much… Too soon to know how it will all unfold. Will cross that bridge when we get to it…
My sister-in-law across the country continues to make wise decisions for my father-in-law who has recently been moved from an independent living apartment into assisted living. He adjusted well to this senior complex, thankfully. It has been a good arrangement for him these past years since his wife passed away. My husband and his brother now struggle with a significant health decline with their younger sister. They are responsible for making the best possible decisions for her through this difficult time. The layers of guilt add stress to all our lives. We live so far away. And that same old pull on time and energy tugs at us. We can’t be all things to all people…
Our youngest daughter finished graduate school, passed her professional exams, and found a really nice job in her favorite city early last year and ended up in an apartment only a few blocks from her sister’s home! The arrangement has allowed each sister to be available to assist the other through some big life changes – new job, new living situation, new baby, new job for hubby, stay-at-home mom with busy children. Definitely major lifestyle challenges! I am delighted that they are near, and they report much joy at the opportunity that has enhanced their lives and relationship. As a mom I know my daughters will look back on these years with fond memories and lots of special stories to pass along… (By the way, my husband and I are thrilled to have both daughters on their own!!)
Most of us can definitely relate to all the pull and tug on our time and energy when children and parents and grandchildren turn to us for advice, guidance, assistance, and hands-on care. At the time in our lives when we are beginning to feel our own energy levels sagging, when we long for time to ourselves and with our partners, not only do our own children continue to turn to us for help, but our parents do so as well. We find we are officially inducted into the “sandwich generation,” forced to make hard choices on a regular basis — having to choose between helping our daughter with her active young children, our sister and sister-in-law who ask for tips on helping kids prepare for college, and flying across the country to help an ill sibling. The list is long and ever-changing.
As I have shared before, what helps me in making such difficult choices is keeping in focus important lessons that my mother and father taught me and my siblings over the years. They continue to serve me and our family well.
- Make a list of all the resources available to you. Resources include things like your time, health, physical and emotional supports, finances, knowledge, and skills, to name just a few. Use this list wisely and efficiently. Ask who can do “what” “where” “when” and “how.”
- Communicate your thoughts and feelings with others who are also affected by the situation. Share resources. Help each other. Don’t fight.
- Do your part. Take turns. Don’t go it alone. Ask for relief when you need it.
- Practice healthy self-care. (I dare not miss any of my regularly scheduled dance classes!)
- Maintain your sense of humor while looking for the good in a challenging circumstance. Laugh when you can. Be grateful for what is running smoothly.
I am grateful for the weekend ahead and the chance to celebrate life…