The sandwich generation experiences the joys of kids growing up and the sorrow of aging parents.
Earlier this summer, T showed interest in bike riding again after having no interest last year.
While he loves zipping down the park, he doesn’t yet feel comfortable taking off the training wheels.
And that’s ok.
I thought about the milestones T has experienced and the ones ahead – and it feels like a series of buildups to taking off the training wheels.
Hands pressed against the wall as he learned to walk. Holding my hand as he learned to go up and down stairs. Hand over hand as he learned to eat with utensils. Getting him potty trained. Hours of practice to help him learn to read.
For me, training wheels also represent the additional scaffolding supports we’ve been blessed to have for T.
Speech therapy to help him learn to talk. Behaviour therapy to help us support T in his early years. His amazing Child and Youth Workers who supported him in kindergarten and Grade 1.
In my prayers, I often hope for T to be successfully independent one day.
It’s too early to tell what the future holds, but I am aware there may be a future where the training wheels don’t completely come off.
Life is a circle – our youth a mirror image of our twilight years.
As I coordinated and took Ma to her appointments the last two years after her stroke and then her muscle disease, I thought about how training wheels return in our elder years.
I watched her work hard during physiotherapy appointments to learn to walk with balance.
I listened with amusement as she told me about working with a speech therapist after her stroke caused her to slur her speech.
I am aware of how limited time is as she asks to hold my hand when we walk outside.
Being part of the sandwich generation is an inevitable part of growing up.
The most trying moment to date was a very stressful week this past March.
As we looked forward to a long-awaited Spring Break vacation, I had to plough through four busy days of work plus four appointments for Ma.
Then T got sent home sick. So we also had to take care of a sick child and virtual schooling, plus the anxiety of our vacation being in jeopardy.
It all worked out – but the stress taught me I can’t do it all and to set clearer boundaries.
A morbid person might say the second we enter this life, we are taking steps towards our exit.
But I choose to enjoy the incremental milestones, detours and side trips along the road of life.
Take it a day at a time and have faith that things work out the way they should and that every life lesson is a quiet teacher.
As with most milestones, T will move at his own pace – sometimes faster, sometimes as anticipated, sometimes needing more time.
This summer, he decided he would finally brush his own teeth without help from the hubby and I.
During a recent morning, he zipped through getting ready in the morning – which can be torture at times – getting dressed, brushing his teeth and combing his hair. All on his own.
Then said with a big smile, “Don’t I look handsome?”
He sure did. And very modest too, apparently!