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Life in the Middle

It seems like lately, the tears are always right behind my eyes, prickling my lids and ready to spill over like a water fall at any moment.

The constant feeling of heaviness always in my head, the weight of the world on my shoulders. The ceaseless migraines that beat me down every single day.

There’s a pain here. It’s physical – the migraines, the body aches, the exhaustion – but it’s emotional too. I’m sad – I remember the past so vividly, her vibrancy, energy and tenacity. The way we used to spend all our days together – somewhat unhealthily – as an interconnected pair. Things have shifted so much, and it’s painful to witness and process.

Yet here I am, trying desperately to manage and parent my three in a meaningful, loving way. But from the moment I wake, I’m already depleted; I don’t have the energy or patience required to be a “good mom”, the way I so desperately want to be. I don’t have the energy or patience for my spirited one – the child who wakes each day seemingly ready for battle —  and rather than remain calm, I’m too quick to fly off the handle and battle back, like we are two school kids engaging in a war of words on the playground. I’m ashamed.

And so it goes. Lately, the days always seem to begin this way. With depletion, tears, frustration… followed by the guilt and shame of not being good enough and there enough for them – especially for the spirited child who requires so, so much more.

Life in the sandwich generation is hard. At any given moment, I never know which loved ones need – deserve – more of my time, attention and worry. Granted, I’m very adept at worrying and certainly have more than enough to go around.

Then there’s me – I have my own hopes, dreams, goals and desires as well. I want to write more, read more, dance more, fill my own cup. But at this point, all of that just seems so frivolous. I know more than anything that self-care is not selfish, but when it comes at the cost of others’ wellbeing, well… sometimes it feels that way.

And so I carry on. Each day, waking feeling somewhat lackluster and lethargic, hoping today’s the day I’ll figure out how to balance it all, how to care for myself and manage life in the middle, splitting the weight of worry for those younger and older in a healthy even-handed way.

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