Sandwich Generation


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I recently read a quote, from some distant corner of the internet that said “You shouldn’t bemoan getting older, it is a privilege denied many.” This thought has been a thread tying together a series of thoughts I have had recently that have helped me stay grounded when it feels like the ground itself is shaking.

I recently turned 30 and have had this dreadful feeling that time was slipping away from me. A feeling that made me think I had already waited too long to enjoy the gifts in my life because I have been too busy, buried in the rat race of work and parenting young kids, to appreciate and enjoy this season of my life. I was actually looking forward to the birth of my next child because I would finally have time off to clean my house and take my older children to the zoo… (What delusions!)

However, two weeks after my third child was born, my father had a stroke. And just like that, my priorities changed. I was so afraid my fears had come true. I thought my time with my father was up. I thought my children would be denied the greatest gift a family can give, time.

By the grace of God, my father is recovering beautifully and I have faith he will be back to his busy self in no time.  A  little bumped and bruised, but maybe more appreciative of his own time and hopefully more likely to enjoy it. A month after leaving Colorado Springs for a 3 day trip, the baby and I are still with my parents. I am beginning to feel more secure with their comfort level of their new routine and I will return home soon.

Although we have been slightly in the way, I am so grateful to have had the leave from work to be around to help them. Though many people have felt that we shouldn’t be here because Zach is so young, (and “I just had a baby!”), for my own sanity, I couldn’t be anywhere else. My husband has been the most supportive pillar I could ask for and has taken our older children back to the Springs to carry on alone because although loving, the energy level of the under 5 year old crowd is just too much for here right now.

My parents keep saying it is a blessing to have their adult children around to help in times like these, but I feel like I am the one who is blessed. It is an honor to be the sandwich generation. I know many people who are not as fortunate as I am to have the privilege of being loved by both their children and their parents at the same time. Even though this maternity leave has not been spent the way I had planned, it has still been a time to bond with my baby, slow down and recover and really absorb the love around me.

To be honest, had I been home, I would have spent my leave with all three children, which would have been more exhausting and less relaxing when you consider my parents are much slower and easier to catch than my children.  Besides, my house wouldn’t have been cleaned anyway.

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Rachel is a native Coloradoan, though originally from the Western Slope. She followed her husband Chris to his hometown of Colorado Springs after having met in engineering school at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Together they have four beautiful children, Tommy (2011), Tazzy (2014), Zach (2015) and Zinny (2018). Having a young and active family keeps Rachel on her toes trying to find ways to keep the ship sailing while still meeting all the demands of motherhood. Though Rachel loves her most important role as Mommy most, she also works full time outside the home as a Water Resources Engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources. This role helps keep her life centered, bouncing from detailed and complex discussions relating to Colorado Water Law with her husband ( a mechanical engineer) to daycare and preschool drop off and pick up schedules, while being constantly interrupted by the equally complex musings of her 4 year.