It’s Be a Responsible Grown-up Day at our house. Not for everyone, just for the actual grown-ups who pretend somewhat convincingly to be responsible on a semi-regular basis. And by this I mean just the people who pay the bills, fill the tummies, walk the dog and put the toilet paper on the roll.
Mike and I are trekking downtown to the lawyer’s office to sign updates to our Wills and Powers of Attorney, that sort of thing. There are many more then 500 words involved and while I can read 98.7% of them I only admit to comprehending the necessity of 1/3. My secret belief is that long ago some fancy pants directed that every sentence in the legal world contain a four to one preposition ratio and at least one set of parenthesis to maintain the Water-buffalo-esk secrecy of the bar. Fast forward a few hundred years and a hand scratched “I leave everything to Bo-bo” on a Sony’s Drive-In napkin is almost useful enough for a judge to polish his gavel with—A job security planning win. If you want your words to stick you have to head to the office tower and get the prepositions and parenthesis put in.
So off we go.
I mentioned in passing to Rebecca that we would be late arriving home today because we had a lawyer’s appointment. After the “I’m an adult now” round of questions: “Do I need a lawyer Mom? When can I get a lawyer Mom? What about insurance, can I get that?” We got to the “Why do you need a Lawyer, Mom?” question. I explained we were updating our Wills. The abrupt response was “You don’t need a Will.”
I immediately understood for the first time in 19 years that my children think I’m going to live forever, that their Dad is going to live forever, that there will always be someone changing the toilet paper.
I laughed, trying to alleviate some of her rudimentary horror… “I hope you’re right!” Then I carefully explained that having a Will drafted isn’t a superstitious letter of resignation. It doesn’t send a bat-signal into the Universe alerting the Fates that you’re ready to leave. You aren’t going to die because you have a Will but life could be pretty messy for everyone left behind when the time arrives. I let her in on a little secret “I’m going to die, you are going to die, every person alive faces the same fate. It is the one thing we all have in common. It is the downside of being born.” …and you don’t want some Bo-bo to get everything when it happens.
My mother’s voice whispered in the back of my head, “You talk too much.” This one time, I thought, she might be right.
Children (even the ‘I’m an adult now’ kind) understand two things; One—they are never going to die, even if you say so, and Two—as long as they are alive somebody has to fill the refrigerator. The fear then is not ‘my parents are going die.’ The fear is ‘what’s going to happen to me?’
So I carefully switched tactics “I don’t need a Will because I’m going to die.” I explained, “I need a Will so that when I do; somebody will pay the bills, fill the fridge, and stock the house with toilet paper.”
That’s it—Okay? The entire fear of my death alleviated with the promise of uninterrupted internet, cheese stings and a lifetime supply of Charmin?
I better write my own eulogy.