The Burrito Generation


“The enemy is in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides… they can’t get away from us now.”  Marine General Chesty Puller

Chipotle restaurant recently opened a store in my town. For the first couple of weeks, wait times to get in averaged over an hour with lines out the door and circling their building. For those unfamiliar with Chipotle, it is a high-end Mexican grill type restaurant with a simple menu centered around burritos, tacos, taco salads and bowls. They are probably best known for their burritos.

Their famous burritos come to mind as I contemplate where I’m at in the Caregiving journey. Prior to this month, I characterized myself as a “Sandwich Generation” caregiver, with simultaneous responsibilities as a single parent of a special needs daughter as well as a parent with significant dementia.

This month my daughter got into legal trouble and my Mom’s health took a precipitous turn for the worse. My neat, carefully layered “sandwich” looked and felt more like a tortilla with the contents all mushed into a single oblong shape.

Suddenly in addition to work, starting a new home as a newlywed (yup, got married in the midst of this because I just didn’t have enough on my plate), and a son starting college, I’m juggling lawyer meetings, court dates, ER trips and doctor appointments. The coup d’etat:  Mom just entered hospice.

It is soooo tempting to view myself as surrounded by crisis, the enemy.

Perhaps another way to view this is that no matter where I turn, I’m surrounded by my loved ones and the opportunity to serve them. No matter which direction I proceed, I’m going to bump into a need to be met. The fact that these needs are great means that it won’t take much for me to make a difference.

I get to celebrate a son entering adulthood; I get to remind a daughter that even though actions have consequences, our relationship remains unbroken; I get to walk along side my Mom as she enters this last phase of her life and when I wonder how much of her is left I can remember this week:

While sitting in the Dr’s office with Mom, I held her hand. She looked up at me, smiled, and whispered, “you belong to me”.  How much of Mom is left… more than enough.

My loved ones are in front of me, behind me, and flank me on all sides… no way they can get away from me now!

My name is Jo and I’m a Burrito Generation Caregiver!

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5 Comments on "The Burrito Generation"

Profile photo of Dawn
Aug 1, 2014

I love your perspective.

Profile photo of Denise
Aug 1, 2014

Hi Jo–First, congratulations!! How wonderful that you married. I wish you and your bride many, many years of wedded bliss.

I, too, so appreciate your perspective. You remind me of the big picture, which can get lost among all the day’s stresses. And your mom reminds us that we always remember love.

Thanks so much for the update. I won’t look at a burrito the same again. :)

Profile photo of Pegi
Aug 1, 2014

An absolutely beautiful post, Jo. What a wonderful way to look at the world, it gave me goosebumps and a perspective to tale example from. I love what your mom said to you! You will all remain in my prayers.

Profile photo of Trish
Aug 1, 2014

Jo, Congratulations! It’s wonderful to hear from you and to get an update. My heart goes out to you as you deal with these challenges and changes. I absolutely love the quote and what you said about perspective. You have such a wonderful attitude (and your mom warms my heart as much as she always has in your stories). Much luck to your son as he starts college – that is an exciting adventure itself! Take care.

Profile photo of jan
Aug 1, 2014

Wow, that is brilliant. There’s a psychological term for that,”reconfigure”, or something like that. Whatever it is, you have it is spades. Thanks for sharing, Jo.