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Life in the Sandwich: Year in Review

Lousy? Yes. Bright spots? Yes. Still, looking forward to a new year.

I want to sum up 2011 like this: It was a lousy year, because it was. I lost my dad in February and a few other friends throughout the year. Bad news just seemed to be in abundance: broken bones, unfortunate diagnoses, weather disasters, parental worries (about my parent and about my child), legal concerns and, of course, the common stresses of life.

Then I was reminded 2011 wasn't entirely lousy. There were celebrations: a successful writing gig; National Honor Society induction; a Bat Mitzvah; babies born; the World Scout Jamboree in Sweden. There were trips to the Jersey Shore, California, Las Vegas, Chicago and three visits to the A-B brewery with guests. There were great parties with current friends and opportunities to get reacquainted with past friends. While it was with great sadness we buried our father after a prolonged illness, there was the mixed blessing of his passing just the way he wished combined with a comforting tribute by many of his friends and colleagues.

So is this what life in the sandwich is all about?

Yes, it seems that way. Life in the sandwich is not merely the name of ; it is also my state of being. I am sandwiched between two generations, my son and his grandparents, both of which I worry about daily. I am sandwiched geographically between family on the West Coast and family on the East Coast. I am sandwiched between obligations I must manage and my own dreams deferred.

I know I am hardly unique in this situation. I talk to other friends—mothers, wives, caretakers—who share the same burdens. But this year, 2011, a year of too much sadness and too much stress, just about stretched me to my breaking point.

I must remember, however, the successes. I documented my fitness and weight loss goals throughout the year in this column. I successfully trained for and completed the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in St. Louis in October. I lost a little weight at the beginning of the year and mostly maintained the loss, which is a success in itself. I did all of this while eating at some of our wonderful new restaurants and cafes in Kirkwood, so I'm pleased overall.

I'm also pleased to see 2011 draw to a close. I can only be so optimistic and I'm pinning all my hopes on a less stressful 2012. Then again, I'm a realist, living in the sandwich, which means more bad news or perhaps more celebrations, is always lurking...

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