by Leslie Morgan Steiner
A few weeks ago I wrote of the joys of the sandwich generation  as I hurtled into life’s next juggling act: caring for three kids, my cancer-riddled mother, and my career simultaneously.
Okay -- there are joys. My mom is living with us now (or dying with us, as I think to myself). She uses her walker to play basketball with my son. Our house is filled with relatives we love to see. It’s a party all the time.
Except that right now I’m one thousand miles away on business.
My husband is two thousand miles away on business.
Before I left, I arranged for three adults to care for my kids and Mom in our absence: my sister, my father-in-law, and a private nurse.
The first call came at 7:24 am. My seven-year-old had slipped off the kitchen counter and fallen into the dog’s water dish, a large, hand-painted ceramic bowl. Seven year old was okay. Dog was okay. Bowl had shattered. I never liked that piece of pottery anyway.
Then I got a text from our 11-year-old, who just got contact lenses. She sent the message from the downstairs bathroom, announcing she had gotten one contact lens onto her eyeball unassisted. Getting an invisible plastic disk to stick to your eye is a big accomplishment, so I texted back: “Good job, honey!” I inquired about the other lens. “Down the drane,” her text read.
Four minutes later, I received a call from the car service we hired to drive the kids three miles to school. Yes, we have neighbors who can carpool. However, none can handle three additional kids without a bribe far larger than the car service charges. Three minutes before pickup, the driver was lost.
Twenty minutes later, after repeat frantic phone calls and texts, the kids were safely at school.
Then my cell phone rang once more. Could not possibly be the kids AGAIN. School had begun and school does not allow cell phone usage inside the classrooms.
My mom’s nurse. Her mother was in the hospital – having a heart attack.
My mother wears diapers. She cannot sit up in bed unassisted. A nurse is a necessity. But so is a mother in the hospital having a heart attack.
And now – off to make an hour long presentation to 350 people! Yippee. Yes. I do feel squished.
P.S. at 5 pm from US Airways lounge – The presentation to 350 people went fine. During the Q&A I received two texts from Mom’s nurse asking if it would be okay to take my wheelchair-bound mother to the hospital to visit her mother having a heart attack. I also received three phone calls from my 11-year-old asking if she could go to a friend’s house instead of Afterschool, and one call from my 12-year-old asking if he could go to Afterschool instead of taking the Metro home. My mother’s hospice nurse also called twice from my front door because she had an appointment to see Mom this afternoon but the private nurse (the one with the mom having a heart attack) wasn’t answering the phone or doorbell. Today’s sandwich generation text and cell phone tally: 27 cell phone calls, 11 text messages.