essays

The Conflicts of Boomerdom

momI’ve heard that my generation (I’m sort of old baby boomer) is the “sandwich generation.” We are still taking care of kids while taking care of elderly parents, and guess what? We are working too. When Mom is putting me to the test (which is daily) about when I’m coming to visit, she always says “well, you know, I’m not getting any younger.”  Then I say, “I know Mom, and neither am I.”  “Well how old are you?”  “I’m 68, Mom.”  “You are not!” “Mom, I haven’t started choosing my age yet like you do; I’m 68.”  “Well, I’m older.”  “I know Mom. You're 95.”  “I am not.  I’m 91.”  “Well,  Mom, whatever you say.” And then the other issue.  “When are you going home? You work too hard. It’s time to cook supper for Dick -- I’ve already eaten my supper. What are you going to cook for him?”  “I don’t know Mom. It’s only 4 PM here.  I usually figure out supper on the way home from work—not a week ahead mom in golf cartof time like you do.”

How do I do this work, this wife-daughter-mother-grandmother thing?  God help me — I don’t know.  Mom is in Connecticut. I am in New Mexico. The kids are mostly in the east.  “Just move, Mom.”  “Well, dear, I certainly don’t know why you are worried about money. You don’t need to work--you’d be living with me, after all.” Well (aside from the fact that I couldn’t quite do that to my husband) it’s not that easy to just move, and as for living with Mom—well living with her is one thing but living her life is another, and that’s what she really wants. I own a real estate company, and we have a house. My husband and I have friends here that are the sort that one can grow old with. We aren’t quite ready to “just move.”

A partial answer to my dilemma might be to sell our house. I’m not ready to part with it, and Dick is definitely not ready to part with it. We are real homebodies. We treasure our environment. What would we do with our art? My gardens? Where would we put the kids when they come to visit? We know one of these days we’ve gotta do it. I’m gradually distributing the family heirlooms, hauling books to the library. I’m trying to get my real estate files on disks to eliminate filing cabinets. I’m trying to take care of any deferred maintenance in the house so it will be ready when we are ready. I know I’ve got to figure it out. I can’t just let stuff happen. I have to decide what the future will look like as best I can and bring it about.

Lucy Noyes is co-founder of La Puerta Real Estate outside Albuquerque, New Mexico and has a million stories in her head, just waiting to get out.

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