The Sandwich Generation is defined as the generation caught between raising children and taking care of their elderly parents. Yesterday, I was the son of an 87 year old mother in a nursing home and the parent of an eight year old girl and a ten year old boy. Basically, a poster child for the Sandwich Generation; I wouldn’t have been smiling in the poster.
I woke up, the kids and wife were gone. I rode to work, talking, driving, and doing a phone session with an alcoholic in a hospital, her therapist, and her beaten-up family therapist. I then worked eight hours straight, talking to my mother’s nursing home, getting her back on hospice. It wasn’t looking good. I cancelled dinner with my wife and kids, went to see Mom, and drove home in time to put the kids to bed. The kids and I talked, we prayed, we sent good wishes to Grandma.Then it was just my wife and I. She had work to do, I had work to do, but, we went to the pond.
Our pond is luxurious, filled with movement and color. It is a beautiful, tranquil piece of man-made nature. However, when it is raining or winter, we go to the couch. And sit. And talk. And debrief/unload/dump. We carve out the time to be a couple. Again, we both were busy, but we took the time out from all the other stuff and focused on our connection.
I have a list I give to engaged couples. It has around fifty items, and I write no less than three or four times that each should carve out time for your coupleship; keep that time sacred and immovable.
Sacred: Time together is special time. No electronics, minimal talk of kids, just two grown-ups sharing their day…Or sometimes, sharing their hearts.
Immovable: It’s a priority. It doesn’t get moved. It doesn’t take a back seat to work, kids, or tiredness. Date nights are wonderful, but here I am talking about fifteen minutes of connecting. That’s all it takes.
In the old days, the marriage was the focus of the household. Today, not so much. It’s all about the kids. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like kids. I enjoy kids. I think they are pretty special. I even have owned four of them, but the “core” of the family is the connection between the adults.
The best gift we can give our kids is a good marriage.