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Amanda Lamb: The sandwich years

Posted March 23, 2014

I went to Pennsylvania last week to attend an event at the local art association in honor of my mother who passed away in 2012.

I had intended to spend just one night, but then decided to extend my trip by a day and a night to spend time with my father who recently had knee surgery. While it was a wonderful visit, it was cut short by my need to be back early Saturday for my children's activities.

My older daughter was involved in a volleyball tournament in Greensboro and my younger daughter had a dance competition in Raleigh. These were non-negotiable events that my husband and I both needed to be on deck for. It made me realize how this time in our lives is complicated by the need to care for our children and the desire to spend time with our aging parents.

My mother's cancer brought this issue into very sharp focus for me in 2012 as I basically put parenting on hold for three months to be a daughter/caregiver.

But this is not the norm. The norm is more of a meandering period of time in our lives where we realize our parents aren't going to be around forever and we want to enjoy their company. For those of us who still have young children or children in the middle years, time is a precious commodity, especially when our weekends are almost always packed with our children's activities.

I haven't figured out to balance these competing desires yet. But I think it's important to figure out a way to do both for while we are mothers and fathers, we are also daughters and sons ...

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.

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  • Ashley Porter Mar 24, 2014
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    I agree Amanda. In 2009 I took 5 months to put parenting to a back seat and give most of my attention to my dad who was dying of cancer. Wouldn't trade that time for anything. Thankfully my mom is still young (so was my dad-they were divorced) and we have many more years with her. Still, it takes work to make sure we schedule time for her too. No one is here forever. I try my best though to have both time with just me and mom and time with all of us together. She's also great about coming to their never ending activities-being local is nice.