I’ve been spending a lot of time lately caring for my dad, who was hurt in a car accident. At the same time, my daughter has begun crying at night, having trouble getting to sleep.
As a sandwich-generation guy caring for two loved ones, I’m useless lunch meat who watches his people suffer.
I go from aching dad to weeping child, wishing I could take away the pain and anxiety, feeling unable to truly help either one.
I read that about 16 million baby boomers like me are raising kids and helping care for an aging parent. The numbers are only going to rise in coming years – bad news for my daughter. In 25 years, there will be 60 million Americans between the ages of 66 and 84, many of whom will require full- or part-time care from their kids.
I don’t mind the ping-ponging responsibilities. It’s my ineffectuality that rankles. I grew up, went to college, got a job. Nothing in that unremarkable progression prepared me for concurring geriatric/pediatric problems.
This weekend, I’ll take my daughter to see my dad. Maybe seeing each other will help. And ease their hard days and nights, if only for a while.