Monday, November 6, 2006

The Sandwich Generation

I haven't posted about my mother in awhile but things are going very well with our relationship. I was the one who had to make first contact after our fight. We exchanged e-mails for awhile and eventually spoke on the phone a few months later. So far, things are progressing slowly but we are speaking a couple of times a week.

She's still living in the south and still bouncing around from job to job. No dental insurance and not enough income to support her in the fashion to which she has become accustomed. I am really worried about her. She's only fifty years old. At this rate, she will run ot of money long before she even begins retirement. She's a bit delusional and believes that she can actually retire right now., Mom, you have fifteen more years of working until retirement. Sorry. Of course, she has no money set aside for retirement and she doesn't seem too worried about that little fact. So, why am I stressing?

For starters, she's my mother, and I'm scared to death of ending up poor like her (and I hate that she's this poor this late in her life). We don't save as well as we should (or hardly at all) but we do the best we can with what we have. Plus, we're twenty years younger than she is and I have yet to begin my career. My mother has no career and no immediate plans for improving her lot in life.

Secondly, I feel a tremendous amount of angst about her situation. She's claiming hardship so that she can get her high blood pressure medication for free. She's applied for Foodstamps and she's having weekly garage sales to pay her living expenses. She has reached a critical, financial point in her life. But, what can I do? We are a single-income family with three small children and one big mortgage. I have a six figure student loan debt. How can we assume the responsibility for a grown woman? There are no easy answers.

She may have to come live with us. Something neither she nor we want. She'd rather live in her old Ford van. But, if she can't support herself, what choice do we have? I won't let her be homeless and eat cat food.

Right now, I'm hoping she can find a permanent job that will pay her living expenses. In the meantime, I'll send her what we can spare and hope for the best.

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