Cloudy
31°
Cloudy
Hi 35° | Lo 23°

Tammy Boucher of Pembroke living the sandwich generation roles of mom and daughter

  • Tammy Boucher and her son Cove, 10, laugh while getting him ready for his scout meeting at their home in Pembroke on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher and her son Cove, 10, laugh while getting him ready for his scout meeting at their home in Pembroke on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.
    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher talks with Jason Lalla, a prostetist at Next Step Orthotics and Prosthetics in Manchester, during a client meeting on May 9, 2013.  Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher talks with Jason Lalla, a prostetist at Next Step Orthotics and Prosthetics in Manchester, during a client meeting on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Cheyenne Boucher, 15, left, greets her mom Tammy after getting picked up from Pembroke Academy on May 9, 2013. Tammy runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Cheyenne Boucher, 15, left, greets her mom Tammy after getting picked up from Pembroke Academy on May 9, 2013. Tammy runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher brings in her trash cans to the garage at her home in Pembroke during a break between work and picking up her kids on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher brings in her trash cans to the garage at her home in Pembroke during a break between work and picking up her kids on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Cove Boucher, 10, greets his mom Tammy and sister Cheyenne, 15, after getting dropped off at his bus stop on May 9, 2013. Tammy Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. May 9, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Cove Boucher, 10, greets his mom Tammy and sister Cheyenne, 15, after getting dropped off at his bus stop on May 9, 2013. Tammy Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. May 9, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher helps her father Roy finish his dinner while on the phone with her husband Steve at Pleasant View retirement home on May 9, 2013. Boucher was asking Steve to get a snack started for her son Cove who only had a few minutes between visiting his grandfather and his scout meeting. Boucher's father Roy is afficted with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher helps her father Roy finish his dinner while on the phone with her husband Steve at Pleasant View retirement home on May 9, 2013. Boucher was asking Steve to get a snack started for her son Cove who only had a few minutes between visiting his grandfather and his scout meeting. Boucher's father Roy is afficted with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher looks to her kids Cheyenne, 15, and Cove, 10, after playing a new ad for them that she worked on on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher looks to her kids Cheyenne, 15, and Cove, 10, after playing a new ad for them that she worked on on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • A necklace that her family gave her for Mother's Day a few years back hangs on Tammy Boucher's neck. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    A necklace that her family gave her for Mother's Day a few years back hangs on Tammy Boucher's neck. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher moves her father Roy down the hall while visiting with him at the Pleasant View retirement home in Concord on May 9, 2013. Roy is afflicted with both Parkinson's and Alzheimers. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher moves her father Roy down the hall while visiting with him at the Pleasant View retirement home in Concord on May 9, 2013. Roy is afflicted with both Parkinson's and Alzheimers. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher and her daughter Cheyenne, 15, laugh while looking over homework at their home in Pembroke on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher and her daughter Cheyenne, 15, laugh while looking over homework at their home in Pembroke on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher walks to her car to head home and pick up her kids from school following a client meeting in Manchester  on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher walks to her car to head home and pick up her kids from school following a client meeting in Manchester on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher walks back home with her daughter Cheyenne, 15, and son Cove, 10, on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. May 9, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher walks back home with her daughter Cheyenne, 15, and son Cove, 10, on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. May 9, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • The Boucher family portraits hang on their home in Pembroke on May 9, 2013. Tammy Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    The Boucher family portraits hang on their home in Pembroke on May 9, 2013. Tammy Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.
    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • On the refridgerator at the Boucher family home is a calendar that Tammy Boucher keeps to manage appointments and activities. Tammy Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. May 9, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    On the refridgerator at the Boucher family home is a calendar that Tammy Boucher keeps to manage appointments and activities. Tammy Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. May 9, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • "Some days are good, some days are bad," said Tammy Boucher about her visits to her father Roy at Pleasant VIew retirement home in Concord. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    "Some days are good, some days are bad," said Tammy Boucher about her visits to her father Roy at Pleasant VIew retirement home in Concord. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher holds her father Roy's hand while visiting with him at the Pleasant View retirement home in Concord on May 9, 2013. Roy is afflicted with both Parkinson's and Alzheimers. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tammy Boucher holds her father Roy's hand while visiting with him at the Pleasant View retirement home in Concord on May 9, 2013. Roy is afflicted with both Parkinson's and Alzheimers. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tammy Boucher and her son Cove, 10, laugh while getting him ready for his scout meeting at their home in Pembroke on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tammy Boucher talks with Jason Lalla, a prostetist at Next Step Orthotics and Prosthetics in Manchester, during a client meeting on May 9, 2013.  Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Cheyenne Boucher, 15, left, greets her mom Tammy after getting picked up from Pembroke Academy on May 9, 2013. Tammy runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tammy Boucher brings in her trash cans to the garage at her home in Pembroke during a break between work and picking up her kids on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Cove Boucher, 10, greets his mom Tammy and sister Cheyenne, 15, after getting dropped off at his bus stop on May 9, 2013. Tammy Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. May 9, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tammy Boucher helps her father Roy finish his dinner while on the phone with her husband Steve at Pleasant View retirement home on May 9, 2013. Boucher was asking Steve to get a snack started for her son Cove who only had a few minutes between visiting his grandfather and his scout meeting. Boucher's father Roy is afficted with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tammy Boucher looks to her kids Cheyenne, 15, and Cove, 10, after playing a new ad for them that she worked on on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • A necklace that her family gave her for Mother's Day a few years back hangs on Tammy Boucher's neck. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tammy Boucher moves her father Roy down the hall while visiting with him at the Pleasant View retirement home in Concord on May 9, 2013. Roy is afflicted with both Parkinson's and Alzheimers. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tammy Boucher and her daughter Cheyenne, 15, laugh while looking over homework at their home in Pembroke on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tammy Boucher walks to her car to head home and pick up her kids from school following a client meeting in Manchester  on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tammy Boucher walks back home with her daughter Cheyenne, 15, and son Cove, 10, on May 9, 2013. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. May 9, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • The Boucher family portraits hang on their home in Pembroke on May 9, 2013. Tammy Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • On the refridgerator at the Boucher family home is a calendar that Tammy Boucher keeps to manage appointments and activities. Tammy Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. May 9, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • "Some days are good, some days are bad," said Tammy Boucher about her visits to her father Roy at Pleasant VIew retirement home in Concord. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tammy Boucher holds her father Roy's hand while visiting with him at the Pleasant View retirement home in Concord on May 9, 2013. Roy is afflicted with both Parkinson's and Alzheimers. Boucher runs her own public relations business which allows her to be at her home in Pembroke with her kids and visit with her father at Pleasant View retirement home in Concord. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Holding a forkful of mashed potatoes in one hand and a cell phone in the other, Tammy Boucher hovered between two worlds.

She’s a mom of two, a daughter, a wife, a business owner and a community volunteer. She’s the keeper of the paperwork on her dad’s veterans’ health benefits and the knower of the answers to her daughter’s algebra homework.

Boucher, 45 and a life-long Pembroke resident, is part of the generation navigating the role of parent and child at the same time. On Thursday, as she tried to feed her dad some mashed potatoes for dinner, she asked her husband, Steve, on the phone at home, to start the oven so there would be a warm snack for their 10-year-old son, Cove, before his Webelos Scouts meeting.

The so-called “sandwich generation” are the parents of kids in their most active years – cheerleading practice, math club, scout meetings and sports games – and the children of parents who are living longer and requiring more care than ever. In a report released in January, the Pew Research Foundation found that 47 percent of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child.

For Boucher, it means some long days and tough emotions, but “Mom” is the title she wanted most in life, and helping her parents as they age is her way of repaying them for what she thinks was the best childhood ever.

“I had as close to the image of the white picket fence that you can imagine,” she said. “So much of what I value and live as a parent, I learned from them.”

She remembers the little white table in the bay window where her mom would set up wine glasses of juice and a snack for her and her brother after school.

Six years ago, she faced the choice of a new job with a big title and lots of travelling or being home to meet the bus. She chose the bus, and snack time, and baseball games. Her parents attended all her basketball games, and she couldn’t imagine not giving her kids that same support.

She turned down the job and started her own public relations firm from the family home office – a room dominated by a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf overflowing with the kids’ books.

She meets with clients in the mornings, then picks up daughter Cheyenne, 15, at Pembroke Academy, and they meet Cove at the bus stop every day. They pick out snacks together and settle in for homework.

And she still keeps the family tradition of baking cookies every year to send to school for the kids’ birthdays.

For Cove’s last birthday, though, she rushed out the door empty-handed to bring him to school and meet with clients.

“We were literally at the school, and I said, ‘Oh my God, I forgot your cookies.’ He was great, he said, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ but I left there and I was thinking, ‘Is it okay? What do I do now? Will he forget this in 10 minutes and be fine? Probably.’ But, I thought, ‘I can’t. That is a family tradition that I take seriously.’ ”

She called her clients and asked them if she could be 30 minutes late. She sped home, baked a batch, and dropped them off at his school.

“I’m so blessed to have such understanding clients. I know I could have made a decision differently and life would have gone on, but the minute he got off the bus, he came and gave me a big hug,” she said.

“I am so fortunate to have the ability to see the kids at the end of the school day. It doesn’t matter what’s gone on the rest of my day. . . . All they have to do is get off the bus and smile, and I think, okay, I can keep going.”

She’s emphatic that she doesn’t do anything too remarkable, and that she doesn’t do it alone, having her husband and one of her three siblings nearby.

But Steve, and her mom, think she’s pretty special.

“Being a mom is her passion in life,” said her husband, Steve Boucher, in an email. And he should know, since he took backseat to her mom instincts when they were dating years ago.

As a young mom raising Cheyenne on her own for four years after a divorce, Boucher says she never questioned putting her daughter first. She didn’t date; she worked and they spent their nights together, reading and playing.

“It really wasn’t hard,” she said. “It sounds silly, but I’ve known since I was 19 that I wanted children, so when it was just us, that was my focus
. . . I made the decision that was my priority.”

When she and Steve started dating, she waited a long time before allowing him to meet Cheyenne.

“Yes, I was picking a husband, but more importantly I was picking a dad. It was so important to me that it be something that was good for her, too,” she said.

After Steve proposed to Boucher, he gave Cheyenne a ring, too. When she was 7, he formally adopted her.

That day in court is “one of my proudest mommy moments,” Boucher said.

Visiting dad

Three years ago, on the other side of her sandwich-generation life, she began one of her most difficult ordeals as a daughter.

When her father, Roy Annis, was in the hospital after suffering congestive heart failure, the doctor told them he’d need either a feeding tube or end-of-life care. Years earlier, he gave Boucher power of attorney, and she knew the paperwork said he didn’t want excessive means used to prolong his life. After she explained the situation to her mother, though, he began recovering on his own.

“There’s no physical reason for him to still be alive. But he’s an old World War II vet who won’t give up the fight,” she said.

However, he also suffered from dementia the doctors said was too severe for his wife to care for him at home. So almost every day, Boucher visits her dad at Pleasant View Center in Concord. She’s watched him refuse more and more of his meals, and watched the imposing presence of the man she knew fade away.

As his dementia has grown worse, Boucher is never sure if her father is going to have a good day or not.

Annis wasn’t having a good day on Thursday. A virus was giving him a fever; he didn’t seem to know exactly who Boucher or her kids were, but they ignored his silence. The kids carried on one-sided conversations with him one at a time as Boucher went to get a tray of dinner.

While she talked in an upbeat voice about Cheyenne’s great grades and Cove’s Scouting activities, the kids retreated. Cove played math games on the computer in the visiting room, and Cheyenne texted on her cell phone.

Annis didn’t eat much dinner. He said he didn’t remember Boucher’s high school basketball career. He used some colorful language, repeatedly, to describe his visitors.

After he continued to refuse his food, Boucher cleaned up, then wheeled his chair to the nurses’ station. The kids gave him kisses goodbye, then took the elevator down to the lobby. Boucher lingered a few extra minutes, for a few more kisses. As the elevator doors closed, she blew him one more.

In the elevator, alone, she hung her head and hugged her arms around herself, her hair falling in front of her face. On a good day, he would have waved goodbye.

But good days are even harder. On good days, he wants to know when he can go to Cove’s baseball games. He wants to know when he can go home.

On good days, it’s even harder for Boucher not to cry in the van on the way home. But most days, good or bad, she doesn’t.

Most days, good or bad, she gets the kids home and feeds them snacks so they’re full for their evening activities, and she and Steve get a full dinner ready for when the whole family is together to eat, no television or cell phones allowed.

After dinner some days, the kids have more activities, or more homework, or she has work to finish for a client. But every day, good or bad, Boucher ends it ready to get up and do it all again in the morning.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

Related

Pembroke’s Tammy Boucher to be featured on ‘Dr. Oz’ show about caregivers

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tammy Boucher thought it was a practical joke. The woman on the other end of the phone call said, “Hi, this is Amanda from The Dr. Oz Show.” When Boucher pressed her to come clean and admit the joke, the woman said, a little more firmly, “No, really, I’m Amanda, from The Dr. Oz Show.” So began a whirlwind week …

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.