Doing The Senior Shuffle is my choice to dance a routine that weaves speeding teenagers with their whirling mother, and their unhurried grandparents. As a stay-at-home mom with a wonderful energetic husband, I strive to master this lively sequence while shuffling 3 high school sons, ages 16, 17, and 17 everywhere. And while dishing out large quantities of food.
As a daughter of parents 85 and 87, who have differing degrees of dementia, I lead slower steps. There is a whirling pattern of shuffling, repeating, shopping, laundry, dining, and did I say repeating? In between visits 3-4 times per week, I shuffle mini-mountains of medicare paperwork, bills, and Veterans Affairs pension correspondence at my home.
At 49, I am in the middle--just one voice of the “sandwich generation”--mostly moms caregiving for children and parents at the same time. Some days I feel like a smushed peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Squeezed. Done. Other days I feel like a veggie on wheat focaccia. Healthy and able to offer a model of compassion and mercy to the next generation.
Learning to do The Senior Shuffle gracefully and with joy is important to me. I want to honor my parents and to effectively communicate much love and courage. I want my sons to see what that looks like on a daily basis.