Chronicles of the sandwich generation
I really should have been journaling my experience with raising my son, but I was too busy juggling. Juggling a marriage, a mother with Alzheimer’s disease, a career and pursuing higher education, and dealing with the loss. No wonder it seems like a big blur. The irony is not lost on me that, I can’t remember. I do have to thank my ex husband for his lack of involvement with my son from the beginning, because it taught me how to be a single parent up front. My ex husband conveniently worked afternoons, which exempted him from a lot of things, but that’s another story for another day.
One thing with looking after a sick loved one is that “guilt” will be your new best friend. I always felt guilty. This is why when I look back at the almost 18 years, I now understand why people say, “how did you do all of that?” Yeah, how did I?
I sat on my son’s school board for 8 years of his elementary school, made sure he was in soccer, swimming lessons and summer camps. Made sure he had manners, stayed up late doing projects with him, we did workbooks every July for the next year, so he could be prepared. When they wanted to put him into a gifted program, ensured he went to French emersion so that he wouldn’t be socially isolated. Made sure he went to Trinidad and Tobago several times, to ensure he knew his culture. Took him to Disney World, went on a cruise, tried to teach him how to drive (still recovering!) I had to do all of those things on my own, why? Because I did not want him to be deprived, he was already deprived of a real father, and his grandparents. I guess I tried to overcompensate. I felt bad for making a bad decision about who I chose as a partner, I guess I kind of knew how that would have worked out, but the as usual, I sacrificed my happiness for his.
I managed to pursue my career and open a business and pursue my education. My parents were both type A personalities, and it is a blessing and a curse. My dad used to say, “the measurement of success is to have a life equal (if you come from a decent lifestyle) or above.” These words haunt me daily. I am always trying to measure up. It has only been in my 40”s, with my failed marriage, several disappointments, counseling, self reflection and dealing with Alzheimer’s disease that I know for a fact, that success is just being able to keep going. Success is going through a series of unfortunate events, and brushing yourself off every single time, finding some sort of humour in the situation and trying again.
I am already successful. I am still here!