Sandwich Generation Blues

ONE A.M. AND I COULDN’T SLEEP. Rather than wake my husband with my tossing and turning, I’d escaped to the living room. I stared at my laptop screen, clicking aimlessly between websites. This was what stress had driven me to—the stress of having my ailing 84-year-old mother-in-law and my 22-year-old daughter and her husband living in my house, all requiring help in some way. I was spent—and more than a little disheartened. I sank back into my old recliner. God, was it wrong for me to have had such high hopes for retirement?

It had been two years since I’d packed up my classroom. After 32 years as an English teacher, tethered to class bells and the public school calendar, I’d been thrilled to take control of my own schedule. I envisioned a future of leisure and adventure—John and me traveling, just the two of us doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

“What about

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