“Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh, here I am at Camp Grenada” – Allan Sherman
Unfortunately real life isn’t quite as funny as the song. Mom was having a rough time this week. She said it was like being at camp and she was homesick and she wanted to go home, but she knew she couldn’t. It’s just heartbreaking to hear that, and realize that the only thing you can do to help is to visit as often as you can, and get her out occasionally if she’s willing to go, and make sure she knows you care and always will.
I thought she was acclimating pretty well to her new apartment, but sometimes she doesn’t let on that she’s not very happy. She doesn’t want to be a burden to us, and she is always afraid that she is. We try to help her see that it’s not a burden; this is what families do when they can’t provide a home and adequate care without help. So we handle the mail and the finances and the condo cleanup and property management because that’s what we can do; it’s not a burden, it’s love.
Part of life in the sandwich is knowing your limits in terms of time, money, other resources, and skills. For things you can’t handle, you find help. And you fill the gaps with as much face and phone time as you can fit in. We have to be careful to fully appreciate the value of even a few minutes of face time on a regular basis. I think with the hectic schedule we live we overlooked that little but important detail.
Just like aging parents, sometimes your adult offspring have their own struggles; things aren’t going well and they feel lost and homesick, like they’re away at camp. Guess what, the same rules apply. Sometimes you can offer a roof over their heads and some gas in the car. Sometimes face and phone time is all you can offer.
Sorry Mom, we’re trying to do better. Hopefully you’ll be saying something like this, real soon:
“Wait a minute, it stopped hailing,
Guys are swimming, guys are sailing,
Playing baseball, gee that’s better,
Muddah, Fadduh, kindly disregard this letter!”
Remembering the importance of regular contact, one of those tasty little condiments of life in the sandwich…