Fellow members of the sandwich generation - I don't know about you but I already don't like the sandwich thing and we haven't even gotten much past getting out the condiments. But I can smell the mayo and mustard, I can see the lettuce leaves descending and the pickle slices aren't far behind. My dad died about 8 years ago. My mom is 84 and relatively hail but fragile as only an 84 YO woman can be. My spouse's dad is on dialysis and just returned home from surgery to fix a broken hip after a fall. My mother in law is doing great (thank goodness) and is much younger than my mom so we have a ways to go on that end of the loaf. What is really making me feel like I'm living in a baggie is the squeeze from my mom and my younger sister C. who live close to each other about 500 miles away from me. My sister should be dead - I mean really, she should have died a couple of different times in the past several years due to very serious health problems. She lost most of her small intestines to stage 4 endometriosis in 2004 and her life has been a living hell ever since. C. has been slowly sinking as time passes. Each crisis is worse than the last and she recovers less function each time. It is so terribly sad. My sister is utterly brilliant - as in IQ 185+ couldn't even measure it. Major learning disabilities but that has not stopped her one minute. Already has a Masters, is a native-level speaker of ASL, an accomplished clinician where children are concerned. She had just started a rigorous doctoral program in So. Cal when she lost most of her gut and would have long since graduated but for the health issues. Her gut is in such bad shape that she's been on IV nutrition for the past 6 months and even then she is losing her eyesight due to vitamin deficiency. She is in tremendous pain all the time and on 19 different medications a day. C and my mom live in the same complex about 3 minutes walk apart. For a long time, when one was sick the other helped out and vice versa. No longer. Mom has stopped driving except for brief daylight excursions in their small town and C can hardly see to drive now let alone read and write. Mom's health is declining and she is on several medications (which she hates passionately). Mom is often depressed, in part due to grief over my sister's unrelenting misfortune, and in part because she misses my dad. My sister tries so hard to stay "up" but cannot help being overwhelmed at times. They are seriously co-dependent with each other. I think they would probably have a different relationship but for my sister's illness. My mom is mostly supporting her, a thorn in both their sides. Maximum fuel for big drama here and they rarely disappoint long distance and in person. I have been down to help one or the other or both 3 times over the past 3 1/2 weeks. That makes over 8 times in the past 6 months I have dropped everything to fly down to help out. My mom had a TIA (small stroke) 8 weeks ago and my sister ramped up trying to help mom a lot. Result: I had to take my sister into ER on Thanksgiving and she spent 6 days there recovering from a blood infection. Then this week she is back in the hospital again with a secondary infection caused by the antibiotics used to treat the first infection. I cannot keep doing it. Between the expense of the last minute, maximum price plane tix, the total disruption to my own little family's life and the lack of stability difficult child#2 has had over the past 3 months ... something's got to give. I cannot play long distance caregiver and it is so hard to step back and let them flounder. My brother is a sociopath and cannot be trusted not to abuse our mom. My youngest sister is out of state and has her own sandwich drama going on with her husband's mother; not to mention that she's working 3 jobs to keep her family afloat since her husband lost his job almost 18 months ago. They will not move closer to me because my sister is holding on to her graduate program like it was the last piece of wood from the Titanic and my mom will not leave my sister. I cannot mover closer to them due to spouse's job and so here we are. Because of the confluence of all these things, we just got a Xmas tree today. I have no place to put it because for months everything has just been shoved here and there by everyone until the house is a wreck. I have almost no presents made or bought. Our twins' 14th birthday is Sunday and the only reason they got a present was because my spouse took them shopping while I was gone and let them have the stuff right away. I have zero Xmas spirit - or any other kind of spirit for that matter. I have about 10 paper bags and boxes piled in various places with stuff to give away that are too good to just send to Goodwill but I have no time to deal with them. I have a big bin full of unopened mail from the past month. I shudder to think of what is in there. Then there's figuring out if we need to pay more money in taxes before the end of the year. And a bazillion other things. Told our psychiatrist that I felt like I was drowning under paper and she said ME TOO. She told me she had been taken to collections for a bill from the medical center where her MD husband practices because she hadn't paid the bill. OMG she's like - can you imagine how embarrassing THAT is? We laughed together really hard. It was great but it was also crazy as I feel like she is the closest thing I have to a friend and, in another life, maybe we would have been friends but in this life she's my doctor instead. I feel like I am suffocating. I know I am not the only one but I feel so alone. I have no close friends anymore and no way to get any that I can see except on-line. And as close as I sometimes feel to folks on-line it's just not the same as being able to call up your friend and have lunch ya know? Sorry, sorry, sorry. The holidays are not getting any easier the older I get. What kind of a rotten deal is THAT? And to top it all off, I went to post my Holiday Cards on the photobucket website and it won't let me in to our little card party. The login info Abbey sent me won't work at all. Boo Hoo Boo Hoo Boo Hoo *sniffle, wipes nose, smiles bravely* OK, I'm done now. I will go to bed so I can get up and shift stuff around so we can put up the tree somewhere since I don't think my spouse will make good on her threat to leave the tree outside and pitch all 2 presents out there with it because the kids are being so awful. Don't ya just luuuuuuuuuuv the holidays?