I love my hairdresser and he loves donuts, so a trip to the shop near his place of business is a must before I get my monthly “maintenance.” A few weeks ago I was racing against the clock to make it to my appointment on time, but I was still determined to fit in a donut run. I rushed into the shop and was disappointed to see a group of three ladies already at the counter.
I took a deep breath and was mentally telling myself not to get overly stressed about the situation when I heard one of the ladies say in a loud voice, “Well which donut do you WANT?” I assumed she was talking to a toddler until I saw that there was no toddler present — just a middle-aged woman, an elderly woman, and a teenage girl. It took me a moment to realize this was a three-generation deal, and the middle-aged woman was addressing not her daughter but her elderly mother.
At first the tone of her voice had concerned me, but now she was very patiently reciting the names of every donut available to her elderly mother — who was obviously a bit hard of hearing. I could tell that this was about the tenth time she was doing this. Fortunately for all of us, grandma finally made her decision and mom wisely directed her daughter to take grandma to her seat. It was time to pay up, and mom could only do so many things at once. I admired the way the teenager carefully seated her grandmother at the table and fetched the fixings for her coffee.
The middle-aged woman was keeping a close watch on the goings-on, and I caught her eye. “Sandwich Generation, right?” I asked “Yes,” she answered without hesitation. “I’ve been there,” I informed her, and she laughed. I could tell by the way the grandmother was dressed and the interactions between the three women that she was doing the right thing by her mother.
Watching this scene unfold made me miss the hectic days of bringing both of my parents and my kids to the donut shop near their apartment on Ocean Avenue in Long Branch. But it also gave me a warm feeling to see the love and respect between three generations in action, and I decided to say so.
“You’re doing a wonderful job, and so is your daughter,” I told woman. “Thank you!” she said, and I knew she meant it.
As I passed their table on my way out of the store, the middle-aged woman flashed a wide smile. “You have a good day now,” she said. “You too!” I replied, and I could tell
that she was pleased to have encountered a kindred spirit.
I know that feeling all too well.