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What kind of sandwich am I?
Monday, April 2nd, 2012

I know I’ve dropped hints here and there about my home life situation. However, I don’t think I’ve ever fully described it. My thoughts were, who really wants to hear about real life? I’m a romance author. I must have this exciting life, and to some degree I do, but for the most part, I’m just like all of you—adjusting to life as I figure out how to take care of family.

Almost five years ago, I moved from Texas to Arkansas to live with my parents. Hubby and I had been living separate lives for a long time. Long story there, but all I’ll say about it is that we grew apart. Sounds cliche, right? Truth is we both had dreams we wanted to pursue. I wanted to be a full-time writer. He wanted to get his dog-training business off the ground. He moved to Virginia, but we keep in touch almost daily. We share in taking care of our grown kids as best we can and help each other out, but the divorce was final this past month, so while we still have this deep friendship that won’t end with a decree, we’re both okay.

Why Arkansas? I was the only “single” sibling of four. I wanted to write full-time, but couldn’t without a little support to get going. My parents’ health is failing and they have this large piece of property and a solid comfortable home. It’s a win-win for us all. I moved, and the daughter I left in San Antonio decided to follow just a few months later. What can I say? I’m a good mother and she couldn’t stand being so far from me. We love each other to death. She doesn’t want to live with me, has married, and thankfully, her hubby loves me too. So all is copacetic!

Then last year, another family emergency prompted our home to fill a little more. My grandfather passed away. My grandmother could no longer live on her own. But she wouldn’t move without my aunt coming too. So now we have grandma, the aunt, my parents and myself, all living under the same roof. Thank goodness it’s a large house, but we are still working out the kinks of our relationships because we are all different people. Straight and amibiguous. Atheists, agnostics, “lite” Christians, and my wierd flavor of the month religion (I have Buddhas, pagan altars, Norse and Catholic statuary blended in my rooms). We’re Democrats and Republicans. Animal lovers and NOT. We struggle every day to make it work.

And while everyone right this moment is able to take care of him or herself, the day will come, very soon, when that will change. I’m going to be the major caregiver. I’m prepared for that. Or have been preparing for that. Last week the Red-Headed Hellion and her family moved into the house across the street that I bought so that she will be close by to help out.

I’m very much that “sandwich” generation everyone talks about. I have my life outside this family. My friends. My own interests, but I’m also very integral to this family—and sandwiched between the elderly members and the younger members. Both sides of that sandwich need very different kinds of help. I don’t mind one bit. It’s what families should do for their own, when they can.

So what flavor sandwich does that make me? Am I the bologna and cheese? Or the PBJ filling? Hearty and cheesy or gooey and sticky? Are any of you out there facing the same situation, either in the future or right now? I’d love to hear how you make it work or what you’re doing to plan for it.

Now you know more about me than you might want to. Exciting news from here in the looney bin is that the pool is warm enough for swimming! I gasped through a thirty minute swim yesterday! Woot!

17 comments to “What kind of sandwich am I?”

  1. Cari Quinn
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    1
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 9:46 am · Link

    I liked learning more about you, Delilah. And I absolutely agree – family should help each other out when they can!

    Btw, I started Five Ways Til Sunday yesterday. Loving it so far! :-D



  2. Delilah
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    2
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 9:55 am · Link

    Cari! Thanks! I’m thrilled you’re enjoying that romp!



  3. Lavonne
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      · April 2nd, 2012 at 10:07 am · Link

    I am my Mothers only caregiver and I am helping raise 3 of my grandkids. This can be very stressful at times and can be a joy at others. You have to remember to find time for yourself or you will burn out. I learned this the hard way.My me time is spent with my Kindle and some really amazing books.You are an amazing writer and I enjoy your books so much. Thank you.
    :lol: :lol:



  4. Fedora
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    4
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 10:10 am · Link

    Delilah, thanks for giving us a peek into your busy life–yes, family does come first, and I’m glad yours has the blessing of being together :)



  5. Betty Hamilton
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    5
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 10:25 am · Link

    My respect for you just went through the roof! God Bless you!! I became a happily divorced mother of 2 in ’81. Just about the time that the kids were old enough to sort of take care of themselves my mother asked me to move in with her…. so that I would be there at night (her bad times). So, I worked full time (and over time), kept an eye on the almost grown “kids d our homefront, continued night school (I was in my senior year), and was at Mom’s every night so that my mother felt safe. Time moves on and its a lot of years later and I am in a condo…. with my son, who is still single and will probably one day be my caretaker. Family is everything but I think you know that. Its wonderful that the “Red-Headed Hellion and her family” has moved across the street from you. It sounds like she shares your love of family.



  6. Marika Weber
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    6
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 11:18 am · Link

    I’m sorry about the divorce but at least you are still friends.

    I hear you on the sandwich generation. I’m only 45 and my brother is 43. My mom’s health is slowly declining (she’s 70) and my dad is able to work from home but he needs help on the weekends. I live about an hour and a half away but my brother lives much closer. For about 10 years, we didn’t hear from my brother (long story) and I had taken up much of the slack. Now he is taking up the slack from me.

    There are days were I feel guilt but some days not. My brother needs to take up the slack from me. Don’t get me wrong, I have made trips to Dallas to help but not like I used to.

    Good luck with the living arrangements. It will all work out.

    Marika



  7. Delilah
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    7
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 11:23 am · Link

    Lavonne! The Red-Headed Hellion’s two girls are wonderful to have underfoot. We all hit the pool yesterday. What fun! We do find time for fun things. We love “junking”—finding treasures at garage sails and flea markets. We love to travel, even if it’s short day trips. But we really have to plan the fun because we all have such busy lives. Burn-out is a real issue. I’ve had weeks, when I was under deadline, when driving to doctors’ appointments over an hour away would take the stuffing out of me. But we do what we can.



  8. Delilah
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    8
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 11:28 am · Link

    Fedora! Thanks for commenting. And I’m thankful my parents opened their home when I needed to make the change. Everything has worked out wonderfully.

    Betty! Your family sounds just like mine! All the generations contributing! :)

    Marika! There are four siblings. My brother moved down last year and lives in town, so he helps with the heavy lifting. My sister is four hours away, but gets down to help when she can. I’m really glad I can be here full-time. Sounds like your brother is stepping up!



  9. Deb Carter
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    9
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 12:22 pm · Link

    Delilah, my respect just soared and gives me hope of maybe someday I can be a real writer and just for the women that like my erotic snippets. Which was funny since I started to write a kids book on a girl wizard and got writers block. So someone told me to write something else that wasn’t close to what I was writing. So out pops erotic lesbian short stories.
    Well anyway one of my sisters and I also care for my dad who had a stroke 10 years ago. We are both single but I have really been finding myself these last couple of years. We had to move here from a house we lived in for 36 years because it was getting harder to get dad up the stairs to his bedroom. But before we could get the house to sell and move my mom died in August 2005 then they closed the Movie Gallery video store that I was the manager of in December of the same year. So it became my full time job to care for dad. But having family close helps so much. We have a sister and her family across the street and 2 other sister and a brother all within 30 minutes of here. We all help each other when needed. Just the way we was raised. Family takes care of family.
    So thanks for sharing your life with us and now I know I don’t have to give up my dream to be a writer even though I started late in life. Maybe someday I will be good enough to be an author and not just for a hobby.



  10. ELF
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    10
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 1:40 pm · Link

    Delilah,

    Thanks so much for sharing your situation. I am even more amazed at your ability to juggle. I agree, you will have to learn to take time for yourself…not the writer/granddaughter/daughter/mother/grandmother….just you…with a good book, a masseuse, or whatever floats your boat. My admittedly small family exploded last year and I am still dealing with the fallout but I am fortunate to have a loving spouse who is patiently dealing with my struggles as I vacillate between frustration, apathy and depression. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to lose myself in books and have met many kind people over the past year who help as well.



  11. Delilah
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      · April 2nd, 2012 at 2:00 pm · Link

    Deb! I feel your frustration, but can tell you that you don’t have to give up your dream. Yes, life serves us challenges, but if we want something badly enough, we can still make it happen. Writing’s a flexible job. You can weave it in between all the responsibilities. You just have to learn a little discipline.

    ELF! Believe me, I have learned to treat myself (shopping/junking), and to find escapes (short trips). Keeping a smile on my face and learning to laugh at everyone’s quirks helps too.



  12. red headed hellion
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    12
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 2:54 pm · Link

    You are the bologna! Lol! Love u momma!



  13. Nichelle Y. Scott-Williams
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    13
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 7:37 pm · Link

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It is nice to get to know you. You’re right. Family should take care of family. It isn’t an easy thing all the time, but it is how it should be.

    Again thank you for the insight into you.



  14. Joyce Palmer
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    14
      · April 2nd, 2012 at 8:54 pm · Link

    Thank you for opening up your life a bit for us. I really enjoyed learning your story.

    I have elderly parents, too. My mom has Alzheimers (SIC), and my dad is trying to take care of her by himself. He said he will die if he has to put her in a home. He cries just talking about it. But, I can see a day when they won’t be able to live on their own. I have one brother, but mainly it’s me who they turn to.

    I don’t have a home to bring them to. There’s is too small for the 4 of us. I’m afraid my husband and dad would kill each other.

    We lost our home and everything in 2010. We are currently living in a mobile home on a precious friend’s property. And, I just got a real job after searching for 3 years.

    I have one son who just got married last month. His bride comes with two small children, which we love as if they were are own grandchildren.

    So, life goes on, and I write to escape. It’s a wonderful thing.

    You make it more rewarding by providing so much support to those of us striving to be good writers. And, we thank you for all you do.

    Wishing you happiness and joy!



  15. Tracy Darling
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    15
      · April 3rd, 2012 at 1:16 am · Link

    You are the glue that holds it all together Delilah! Definitely a gooey sandwich. PBJ perhaps?

    Thanks for opening up and sharing from the heart, it adds new dimension.

    My father lived with us in his final year, and we saw him through to the end. I am currently in a holding pattern, and changes will inevitably come. My husband is 69 and still in good shape for now. My 29 year old son and his wife are expecting their first baby. I will be there for them all, to help in whatever way I can.

    I believe we are embodiments of the divine feminine. We are the caregivers, nurturers, and supporters of those we love.

    Long ago I wondered how it would feel when my kids grew up and didn’t need me anymore. It hasn’t happened yet, and I doubt it ever will.

    Just don’t forget to nurture yourself along the way. If you let the well run dry, there’s nothing you can give anyone else either until you replenish yourself.



  16. Mary Preston
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    16
      · April 3rd, 2012 at 2:43 am · Link

    I live in a tiny house. So, no room at this inn. My grown children still live with me though. I like the company & they like the fact that life is good living with me.



  17. Delilah
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    17
      · April 3rd, 2012 at 9:29 am · Link

    RHH! I love you too, mija!

    Nichelle! Thanks for that.

    Joyce! I hope you will be able to find a good solution for your mom’s and dad’s situation. It has to be heartrending.

    Yup! Children never outgrow their need for you. And I am trying to learn to say no once in a while. :)

    Mary! At one time, before I moved here, I had my daughter’s and my son’s families living with me. A madhouse!!!!!! Am so glad they can live on their own now, but they do know I’m always there for them.