Mainers seem to have a peculiar reluctance when it comes to accepting assistance. Is there something ingrained in our DNA that makes us a tad more stubborn and self-reliant? It’s a curious trait we possess. Many Mainers are quick to give the shirt off their back to a neighbor in need, yet they find it challenging to accept help themselves. How often have you offered to assist someone, only for them to never reach out, despite genuinely needing help?

A while back, I participated in a workshop centered around active listening. The workshop emphasized the importance of developing the skills needed to listen attentively to comprehend others’ situations and viewpoints better. This enables one to provide more relevant solutions and perspectives. The skills I acquired as an active listener taught me to discern hidden messages during conversations and pick up on subtle cues.

Being part of the sandwich generation, active listening proves to be invaluable. My nephews and niece, whom I helped raise, are now in their early twenties, navigating the complexities of adulthood. Tasks that were once second nature to my parents, such as yard work, tinkering, or meal preparation, can now be overwhelming at times. Balancing between assisting and preserving their independence poses a significant challenge in the sandwich generation dynamic.

Linda from Camden is also a sandwich generation, this week she shares that sometimes the best act of kindness stems from just listening to what someone is asking for.

My parents have resided in Charlotte, North Carolina, for over 42 years and are deeply rooted in the community. Charlotte is more than just a place; it’s their safe haven where they find joy. Despite their self-sufficiency, I still want to do something nice for them and to help in some way. But how does one help two capable and independent individuals who seem to have everything under control?

During a conversation with my parents, my dad mentioned his craving for a delicious pizza. A few days later, my mom cooked a frozen pizza for dinner, which didn’t quite satisfy Dad’s pizza craving. This sparked an idea. Unable to take them out for a good pizza personally, I arranged for a DoorDash delivery to their doorstep. The surprise of having a restaurant-quality pizza delivered to their home brought immense joy to my parents. Dad savored a delicious pizza, and Mom appreciated the break from meal preparation and kitchen cleanup.

Following the pizza delivery, my parents expressed their gratitude for the thoughtful gesture. Witnessing how this simple act brightened their day, my family decided to continue treating them to a weekly DoorDash meal. Each week, we order a meal from one of their favorite restaurants and ensure its safe delivery. Despite the distance separating us, DoorDash allows us to share a meal with them from afar, bringing a sense of closeness and love through each delivery.