Each part of our lives is a stage; infant, childhood, school-aged, college or out on your own, married, with children, empty nest, sandwich generation and so on…
We spent this past weekend and we will spend next weekend helping my mother-in-law move from her mobile home into the sister-in-law’s house. At one point she got very sad and commented it was like she died and was looking down from above as we divided her stuff. I will admit that I got a little weepy at that. But then I told her that she wasn’t dead, she was just moving to the next stage in her life. Each stage is a big transition and probably all of them are done with some tears along the way.
You start as an infant and have to learn to do every single thing you will need to know to survive. Walking, talking, and eventually potty training. Whether you are the kid or the parent, there are some tears involved in that process to move on to childhood.
By the time you are five years old you will learn the majority of knowledge you will know. Beyond that you are just building with the blocks you already have. Past that is just harder concepts and deeper thinking. You will work your way through school this way and yes, there will be tears along the way with homework, the opposite sex, and life in general.
There will always be happy tears and sad tears as kids grow up and leave for college or out on their own. Until they are also married and/or with children they will not understand why you were so sad at this stage. They were all ready to leave and spread their wings.
Empty nest/Sandwich generation is sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but definitely a new stage in life. Sometimes the empty nest is fluid as children return to the family homestead, sometimes with spouses and children of their own. Sometimes you have to care for an elderly/invalid parent and then you get to be that wonderful definition of the Sandwich generation, caring for children and parents at the same time! I’m doing my part with this stage of life now and in the recent past and will probably continue for some time, albeit without the parent part because both of mine are gone. Now my sister-in-law will get to experience this with a teenager at home and her mother moving in with them. Yes, there will be tears. Yes, there will be highs and lows, but we will hope for many more highs. But I can guarantee there will be many more pros than there will be cons. And isn’t that usually true of most things in life?
What stage are you in? Are you part of the Sandwich generation?
Jill James, writer of romance