About the Author

Deidra is a national speaker and the author of Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are, and One: Unity in a Divided World. Follow Deidra on Instagram @deidrariggs

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  1. i loved this post. I am a young adult, who is not in that situation right now, but I can see my parents going through it. thank you for the way in which you expressed this.

  2. I can so relate to this post. I spend a lot of time with my father-in-law, taking him to doctor visits, sitting with him during 7 surgeries in 6 years, balancing his checkbook, helping him clean his house. But I also spend quite a bit of time babysitting my two year old grandson.

    There have been a couple of days when I was with both of them, and had the feeling I was edging near the ‘this is more than I can handle’ zone. But I am reminded that God is always faithful and He always gives us grace for the situation we are in.

    I want to send out a thank you to all you lovely women, for this edifying blog, You all truly are a blessing.

    • Thank YOU, Carolyn. I think I speak for us all when I tell you we’re the ones who are blessed. Each of you – leaving comments, praying for and with us, encouraging and cheering us on – you bless us. This community is a sweet, sweet place and we’re all thrilled to be able to hang out here together with you!

  3. I am loving your small space 31-day series. This post was so appropriate too as my husband and I are approaching “bologna” status. One child in college, one a junior in high school and our parents teeter on the edge of needing care…with good timing, maybe we can avoid doing it all at the same time. That’s in God’s hands! Thank goodness..

    • Hey, Lori!

      So glad you’re following along with the 31-Days series! There are SO many great bloggers doing wonderful posts on their blogs as part of that project.

      Bless you as you approach the middle of the sandwich. God’s grace is more than enough. It is. πŸ™‚

  4. I have 3 boys under 4 and my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in January. He passed away in may- but I remember for those 5 months I couldn’t do anything right. When I was with my dad I felt like I should be with my boys- when I was with my boys- I worried about my dad being alone. I spent most of my drive time in tears calling out to God to help me.

    In the end I know I did the best I could. I was by my dads side as he took his last breath. And now I will make sure my boys know about their grandpa.

    Sandwich generation. Perfect name for it. Prayers to all going thru it!!

  5. Love it! I can relate as I Homeschool a junior in high school, have two in college, and a parents just minutes away as I help my dad cope with my mother who has dementia. I keep telling my kids that we do not get to chose how our bodies age but with God’s help we do get to chose how we respond those aging around us.

  6. Oh this is wonderful Deidra. You made me laugh out loud. This will stick with me for a long time to come-I am sure even when the day comes when I too am (and am not) a piece of baloney πŸ™‚

  7. Move over, sister piece of baloney………you are not alone! LOL I came to the same revelation a few years ago in the midst of caring for my ill, elderly mother and my grandchildren. I walked into the house with my husband one evening and there in the entry sat a walker for my Mom and a car seat belonging to our youngest grandchild. I looked at him and said, “That just says it all, doesn’t it?” My life for years revolved around Mom’s doctor appts and eventually daily care and then nursing home visits and being available to watch the grandkids when needed. Caring for either can be a challenge but to do it at the same time can’t be done correctly without the help of Jesus. My Mom went to be with Jesus last year in Feb. You’d think that life would have settled down by now and all the chores that were set aside for so many years would be completed……..but no. My daughter had to get a job last year to supplement the family income as her husband couldn’t work after surgery….requiring more time with the grandkids. My husbands job became more demanding requiring me to take on more of the day to day responsibilities for our home………praise God that he has a job……..and now, my in-laws are starting to need help and care. My mother in law fell and broke her wrist requiring surgery and my father in law has a hip replacement scheduled in the next two weeks…….so here we are again………watching grandkids, checking on parents and my oldest sister was widowed in March and is disabled so I go to spend time with her as often as I can.

    I have been a piece of bologna for a long time, my bread is soggy and the mayo went bad a long time ago but I am still blessed by a God who loves me, provides for me and uses me and I hope it is to His glory. I am still not caught up from all the years that I cared for my Mom and have now accepted that I may never get there. I know that God is good and I know that I am setting an example for my grandkids.

    I’m so glad I found (in)courage today…….thank you, Jesus for your guidance here.

    Brenda

  8. This is such a great post. I’m a piece of baloney too and it is what it is, as you so eloquently put it. Like you, I see that God must have it in His purposes for us.

    • God knows what He’s doing. That’s for sure. And no matter where we find ourselves…He is right there with us. Cheering us on. Building us up. On our side. Always.

  9. I am the piece of cheese so add me to the sandwich! Your so not alone.
    Caring for my parents , Mom with the starts of dementia and other health issues. Dad is 84 and can’t do this alone. Hubbys Mom is alone his Dad passes 12 yrs ago. So she needs help to. Then we look at our kids in the twenties..starting out. Its always something going on. Then there is our little Grandgirl…Who needs looking after some days…Yup I am Cheese….right next to Baloney.
    All I know and depend on some days is knowing God has a plan and He has the faith where He has put us!!

    • It’s so wonderful to know none of it takes God by surprise, isn’t it? He knows exactly what we need when we need it. Thank God for His plan, and for putting us in communities where we can share life together.

  10. Or, you’re the glue. The wonderful hub of the wheel of life in your home. Holley Gerth says something like only you, wonderful you, can do the things you do.
    That has comforted me. Dad moved in with us when single child was only 7 going on 8. I’ll be the sandwich generation for who knows how long?
    God does, praise him!
    Thanks for writing.

  11. I know the feeling between daycare, caring for grand children often, caring and managing my sister who lives in an assisted living home, both sets of parents are seniors in their 80’s one living in the same assisted living home as my sister, life is busy and demands many things from us. But it is for a season and that is good to remember, like my other sister tells me after she cooks several meals for our parents, “I resent doing this ever weekend but I am glad I do it because someday I will know I helped them.”

    • It really is a gift to be able to care for our parents and for our children. It is a beautiful dance of life. I know I approached it a big tongue-in-cheek, but it truly is a blessing to be part of this wonderful dance.

  12. Today i just feel like the mush, the mayonnaise, the salsa, the mustard, whatever holds the sandwich together.
    Yesterday my mum was 81, bless her and is doing okay. At the end of the month my dad will be 82 and again he’s doing okay.
    I have osteoarthritis in my knees and it’s bad. The Docs have had to change my meds because i had a bad reactions to the last lot and im not sure these ones are doing any better as i spent all day yesterday and half the night being sick.
    Then last evening my 22 year old daughter got engaged and i should be cheering and celebrating but today i spent the day with broken hearted sister has she watches her marriage and her life fall apart after the death of her 21 yr old daughter 2 years ago.

    No today i feel like the mush and i pray that God will be with us all.

    • Oh, I know about those mushy days. Praying you’ll be comforted and encouraged in the middle of it all, Bev. Know that God sees you. He hears you. He knows. And He is oh, so able and willing to lean down beside you and take the weight right on His own shoulders. Praying that you’ll soon be cheering and celebrating – altogether.

  13. You’re the *meat*–you’re what your family needs; substance and good for their health. Not just baloney, as in “full of it”…you’re the rich meat and that’s saying a lot. So neat to think of life that way.

    Rich blessings as He leads you…in guiding your children and assisting your parents. It’s a role to depend on Him and ask for your eyes to be open, for sure. A lot to learn in this stage, and I see it with my own mother.

    • Exactly, Amy. We are not “full of it.” No. We are filled with the Spirit and fully equipped for each season of life. Even in those moments when it all seems too much, God speaks quietly through the fog to tell us, “You are more than enough. Just as you are.”

  14. Oh Amy, I agree so much to learn. Plus so much to teach our kids as we learn.

    Beth I agree we are the glue holding things together and that isn’t easy but a blessing when I think about it.

    Theres a lot to be said about the beauty in the substance we share with those we love. As well from those whom love us in return.

  15. Such a blessing! This must speak to so many women. My parents aren’t there yet as they are in their 70s and have taken much better care of themselves than many previous generations … but they will be there. As my children ease towards teen years and my parents repeat stories more often or make decisions that leave me a bit breathless at times, I feel the pending season. Thank you for sharing your revelation because it will help so many just to know they are not alone in a season that can feel as lonely as when we gave birth to our first infant and were left isolated and fearful and overwhelmed at times. Praying you will find sojourners in this same stage of life who will shoulder the burdens with you.

  16. Youhit the nail on the headwith this psot Deidra. I have no kids, but spent much of the first 7 years of our marriage worrying about and dealing with aging parents.

    I’d be at home or work just waiting/worrying that the phone would ring and mom would be in hospital again with another ailment. It took it’s toll on me. I can’t imagine balancing children/teenagers with that kind of stress.

    God please bless all of us in this Sandwich Generation!

  17. You hit the nail on the headwith this psot Deidra. I have no kids, but spent much of the first 7 years of our marriage worrying about and dealing with aging parents.

    I’d be at home or work just waiting/worrying that the phone would ring and mom would be in hospital again with another ailment. It took it’s toll on me. I can’t imagine balancing children/teenagers with that kind of stress.

    God please bless all of us in this Sandwich Generation!

  18. Thank you for your post. It is encouraging to know there are others in this situation. “Fellow Boloney” gals. πŸ™‚ Take heart-you are teaching your children a valuable lesson of love, serving and caring for others. I was a teenager when my parents were the sandwich generation. They set a great example for me and my brother by our family’s moving in and caring for our grandparents for 3 years. There was one point when all 4 of my grandparents were in the hospital and we would each stay with a grandparent. It was exhausting, but life changing…teenagers caring for their grandparents instead of out with friends. My parents taught us how to love and serve. Now, 16 years later, I am the sandwich generation. It came to soon…it seems like we were just caring for our grandparents. Now my parents are needing care and lots of help and I have 2 young sons. It is difficult…even more so because I have been through this once. I wouldn’t trade anything for the memories I made with my grandparents. I take heart knowing that I am passing on what my parents passed on to me…serving and loving those in need and sacrificing for them. Remember, your children are watching and it does make an impact. Blessings and encouragement!!

  19. Oh how right you are. Reading this just opened my own eyes to my current status.
    This week I will turn 45. My in-laws will arrive this weekend and my hubby will help drive them out to Washington state to live with my BIL. It’s not that they can’t care for themselves….it’s just the time for them to “be with someone”.
    We have college & HS kids (BIL has no children).
    I didn’t think this BEING IN THE MIDDLE thing would come so fast. Seems like only yesterday that I was a young newlywed.

  20. I can so relate to this thought! My mother is 87 and my boys are 14 and 11… they all need a lot of me and sometimes it is overwhelming… I know that I am not alone and God’s grace is sufficent for my every need!! But the reminder that others are traveling with me makes “living in the middle” much easier.

  21. Ohhhh Deidra! You are my sister! I have just returned from taking my 80 year old parents to the grand canyon. I have so many stories that I choose to laugh about. The whole time there both daughters were calling wanting to tell me something important while I’m going for a hike in the canyon (my parents were taking an afternoon nap). I get out of the cayon and back to the lodge before dark and I’m met at the door by mom, whose hands are on her hips! “Where have you been? We were worried”. (she was worried, dad looked at the ceiling)

    They couldn’t get to the Grand Canyon with out me, the girls would not make a decision without talking it through, wise decisions from both “slices of bread”. Yes I am bologna as well. It’s frustrating at times…I just wanted a quiet hike down in the canyon! But I am so thankful that I am there for them all.

    My daughter has a good friend and I’ll use her quote for you…You are my sister from a different mister! Thank you, for calling it as it is! ~Di, AKA Bologna!

  22. Diane, My niece just got married in August. We are from Michigan my folks live very close to us. My sister on the other hand lives near Portland Maine. No way my folks could make the trip by plane due to my Moms failing health. So my Dad asked if we would join them to make sure they could get to the Wedding. My husband drove and we had a great time. Most of the time. We have great stories to tell and things we will always have from the trip.

    My oldest sister joined us half way. We picked her up at the convent where she has been a nun for 33 yrs. As long as we have been married she has lived there. We had a great time and more time together then we have had for years.

    I had to chuckle about you saying…* Where were have you been? We were worried* My just rolls his eyes. I was with my husband and they still worry.:)

    I am so happy we got to make the trip though it was exhausting. It was a gift to have my parents and sisters all in one place. I am just so thankful!! It is frustrating at times but as frustrating it is…its such a blessing to have the time!

    Still a day later love this post!! πŸ˜€

  23. Straight from the heart, Deidra. Very powerful and profoundly simple analogy! The sandwich season creeps up on us so quickly. I am just thankful I can be of service to both slices of bread!

  24. Glad I”m not the only one who has salient moments in the steamy shower – showers are revelatory, if I may and a favorite part of my evening! Bless you Deidre for this!