I’m the turkey in this sandwich

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Sometimes life just squeezes you from all sides. On the one there’s the impending birth of my second child, bearing down on me (no pun) (okay, pun) from a rapidly decreasing number of weeks away. On the other there are my parents, one extremely sick, one just old, and both 8,000 miles away. Somewhere in between there’s new responsibility at work brought on by the departure of one of my editors, into whose enormous vacuum I’m being offered up like some ridiculously inadequate Band-aid.

Not to keep piling on the metaphors, but it’s the classic sandwich experienced by the modern-day worker of a certain generation. I believe I’m the turkey in this sandwich. I can think of a less savory filling, but this is a family web site.

The thing with these Dagwood-style hoagies is that the insides tend to spill out.

I’m heading home to Japan tomorrow to see my mother off into hospice. She’s lived with advanced cancer for so long that we’d lulled ourselves into thinking this day was somewhere in the hazy future. My dad, who is 10 years older, can’t be home alone; thus the grossly pregnant daughter can offer something of assistance, if only by cooking his supper.

It’s not a good time, of course, but is it ever? I’m huge, for one. For another, this is the second time this month I have had to leave my three-year-old in my husband’s care for an extended stretch. Lastly but not leastly, I have new, if temporary, responsibilities at work, which is to say I will have actual responsibilities at work for a time. My bosses and colleagues are being incredibly understanding about my sudden leave, and no one’s even mentioned the horrid timing. Not that this lessens the guilt much.

When I’m home, though, none of this will matter, as I’m pretty sure grief trumps guilt.

So, friends, this is all to say I won’t be posting here until my return in mid-April. Happy spring. Me, I’ll be hoping for a seasonal moratorium on grinders.

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