Sandwich Generation

An annual holiday-time dinner with close friends had me cooking and catering this weekend. It’s a my turn , your turn, their turn kinda deal. And being pregnant had gotten me off the hook for a couple of years.

As we were all pouring our glasses of port or coffees, digesting the fabulous beef tenderloin, crab cakes, and twice baked potatoes I’d cooked up, I began to ask about how everyone’s Mothers and Fathers are. Because a few of our group have gotten AARP (American Assoc. for Retired Persons) cards in the mail and few of us haven’t. But we’re folks of a certain age. The age where some of us have parents who’ve begun to have health issues. And some of us have small children too. We’re called the Sandwich Generation .Unky John buying Eamon a sword on

And then my dear friend, whom I love as a brother, says,”Let’s address the elephant in the room. Who’ll take care of us when we get old?” And my other friend says, “Be really nice to Eamon”. As of now, neither of these couples have had children and that choice, when applied to this discussion, suddenly seems a scary one.Mum Mum and Fiona on

Eamon and I on

First, I’d love to offer up my children to help these dear people out when he and they are older. And surely there will be relationships in place because we are all close. But blood’s blood and I realized that his first obligation is to us, his sister, his grandmothers, and his aunts and uncles.

Grammy and Fiona on

I can’t say that I birthed them because I was thinking about having someone to take care of me. I have yet to think of myself as older and infirmed ever and in a situation where I’d need that care. I had the children for the love that I could give them. That’s the idea. Selflessness and stuff.Snowsuits Suck on

I would hope that there would be no dreadful sense of obligation but more of deep respect and love and compassion that anyone I’d cared for in my life would want to care about me, at the least my kid. But life is quick and tricky and relationships can be slippery.

Sometimes people don’t want to be taken care of. Mark’s Grandmother wouldn’t budge from her house even though she prayed every time she went up and down the steps. I kept thinking how, if she loved all these people, why wouldn’t she cut them a break from worrying about her and move somewhere that meant less risks and fear of danger. Nope. She was doing it her way.

DSC07397Eventually older people do become frail and can not navigate stairs so well. It will inevitably happen to us too. So this house will only be good for us if we’re in good health. And I’ll do everything I can to make sure that our needs are taken care of outside of our children first. Then, we can just enjoy those last years or moments when we need each other most to just be and not worry about details. Provided my children still like me then. You never know. Your thoughts are always welcome here.

Cherish the Darkening Days

The darkening days draw us in. Into groups around fires with food and laughter,

we are reminded on one holiday and then another throughout the Winter that we have meaning.

Fiona and Joyce on

We are loved as human beings and sisters and daughters and Mothers.

Eamion and Fiona at Grammy's on

As we gather with our families and our friends and we count with them the purposes and connections we have in our lives, we are inwardly focused on our basic needs. Mary Beth and Robert for dinner on

Those of community and hope and love.

Eamon and Caitlin on

And when you add pie and gravy to all of this, it is as close as one can get to heaven without buying a ticket.

Remember those you have lost and cherish the ones remaining even harder.

Happy Thanksgiving Lovely People!!!

Family Feasts and Football

We had occasion to go to my Mother-in-Law’s for dinner on a recent Sunday. The air outside has begun to get nippier. And we hustled onto the enclosed porch catching sight of Grammy at the sink in her Orioles t-shirt.

As she opened the kitchen door, she greeted the littlest one first as we all moved into the kitchen. The smell of her cooking hit me. A familiar mix of older people’s house and the simmering dinner. But then my brain pushed this aside for the sound of the whistles on the TV. Football season. And I anticipated the sad and glad memories of this family and families everywhere gathering for their upcoming Thanksgiving feasts and holiday celebrations. Everyone looking forward to the possibility of being together. That isn’t a given anymore. The sentimentality of holidays and the upset that arises around unresolved differences, is still a testament to the bonds of family. And the tenuousness of their time together.

Football Sundays spent with in-laws. Supper interrupting. A special desert and the celebration of someone’s birthday. Watching children get to know their aunts and uncles. And imagining the future when my children will come home from their lives abroad in the world. Me cooking feast food in the kitchen. And perhaps I’ll make sure the football game is on and the whistles are blowing just for the background music. To feel complete.


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Our Day At the Alpaca Farm

Last weekend, we took the opportunity to leave the house with the children (if we have to) and went to an event at the Outstanding Dreams Alpaca farm here in Caroline county. I’ve taken Eamon there before and he really enjoyed these odd and peaceful creatures. This time, we had Fiona with us, lover of all animals. She giggles at squirrels and fearlessly approaches horses and sticks her fingers up their noses.

Fiona spotted the alpaca at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

Fiona's smile at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

outstanding dreams farm on

Fiona at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

Cornbox play at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

Cornbox play at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

The event happens every year and featured antique cars, a bouncy ride, pony rides (Eamon’s nervous he’ll fall off), a cornbox, and vendors selling their wares. Highland Creamery from Oxford had a Scottsman scooping ice cream. So it was a quick and happy visit to hang out on a farm with fellow humans and a bunch of soft furry alpacas.Eamon on a pony ride at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on

The Outstanding Dreams Farm on

Alpaca wool was being spun into yarn and dyed right there on the path in and out. So soft and warm and so not itchy. And animals are dear and only have one row of teeth so there’s no biting to fear. The owners are the sweetest nicest kindest people. We’ll venture out at least this time next year when their event happens again.

Goodbye Pop Pop

With a heavy sad heart, I convey the news that last night, Mark’s Dad passed away while in hospice care. He was released from his tired body and has moved on to his soul’s next purpose. His passing was at the end of a gradual decline as we watched congestive heart failure take him day by day. To know that he is no longer suffering is an immense relief to his loved ones although it’s hard to explain to a 9 year-old what that means. Wanting someone to die to have them no longer be in pain.

Pop Pop and Fiona

Pop Pop was dear, funny, and generous with his love and care. Two miracle granddaughters were born last year and I never saw him happier than when he was gitchy-gooing a grandbaby.

Pop Pop's paper quilt

My son was asked to do a project in school on a family member who had served in the military. Pop Pop served on a destroyer for four years during the Korean War, starting at age 17. So this is the paper quilt that Eamon made to commemorate him.

Pop Pop's paper quilt

The pieces are different scenes from the story of Pop Pop’s ship and how he was feeling about serving his country. I retrieved the art piece today from Eamon’s school so that we can put it on display at the funeral parlor.

Pop Pop's paper quilt

Pop Pop’s and Eamon’s birthdays were so close together in April that we often had joint parties for them.  This photo below was just 5 years ago. It was and wasn’t so long ago, you know?


These will be the memories I will hold of him. Him loving on Eamon and Fiona. His cheering Eamon on at soccer and baseball games. And that incident where Eamon threw up on himself at the McDonald’s inside the Wal-mart in Easton, Maryland, and Pop Pop stripped him down on the tailgate of the SUV in January to put him in clean clothing. He was a take care of it kind of guy and I am immensely grateful that my husband is much of the man I love because of him. We will miss you Terry. Say hi to Uncle Dick for us.

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