31 Days - Loving The Sandwich Season
Of course, I don't mean a PBJ sandwich either. I am talking about the real season that so many of us find ourselves in. The season of raising children and helping our parents.
In this season there is also a more rare season and that is the one of still being in the middle of raising your children and being a grandparent, too.
I am blessed in that I have parents who are only in their early 70's and pretty healthy. They moved to live near us about 15 years ago, and we were so excited that they did. Tim and I decided years ago that we wanted to be able to help out our parents when the time came for them to need extra care. Tim's mom lives in Florida with her second husband of almost 30 years, and is not interested in leaving Florida. We are thankful that Tim's eldest sister lives nearby and stays over, visits and helps give them care.
With my parents living in the same area as we do, we have included them in our lives. They come over every week to spend the day (my Dad goes bowling on this day) with the grandkids and their great granddaughter. They play games and talk, and my parents stay for dinner. My parents have become friends with all of our friends too, because they have always been included in gatherings that we host. It's fun to see my Mom's FaceBook page include conversations with not only the teenagers from our church, plotting another game night, but also my homeschool friends, and other friends of ours who have become their friends too! My parents have even gone on a double date to the movies with Lindsay and Joseph!
My parents hope to have their home sold in the next year and to be able to add on in law quarters to our cottage so that when they come to need help, day or night, we are just a few steps away.
Next month my niece will come and live with them, moving from out of state. Multiple generations living together is such a blessing when done with the right motives and attitudes! And sharing our lives together for so many years while living separately will help ease the transitions when they come to live here with us.
At this point, my granddaughter and her Momma live with us, so we have three generations here right now and when my parents add on, it will be four. The challenge here is to be grandma, and not Mommy which I make a point of doing. We are responsible for her from 7:15 - 5:00 pm every day except weekends, so we do have some training we do with her as well.
This can be very stretching for us all. We work at giving Kamryn's mommy and daddy (when he's visiting) the freedom to parent her, while helping them grow in their parenting skills. Sometimes I am dealing with a bad attitude toward an Auntie...and teach the auntie to deal lovingly with her niece. Kamryn loves her Uncle Kyle and they play together happily every day, she calls him "Uncle."
It hasn't always been easy as we worked to build these relationships together. Tears have been shed, at times, but the Lord has helped us. We are profoundly grateful.
We have committed in the years to come to walk alongside my parents as they age, and to walk alongside our children as they marry and start their families. We will be sandwiched even more, but we know that as we walk together, God will walk with us and help carry our burden as we help carry theirs. It's a beautiful thing.