What is it about being siblings that can turn even middle-aged reasonable adults into screaming, fighting, competitive children? I can think of a few things, but in today’s post the winning answer is a parent’s will. I will further add the parental decision to make one child the executor of their estate. If you really want to mess with your children’s heads then you should by all means pick one of them to handle your affairs. That way the other child, or children as the case may be can immediately revert to their childhood deep-seated insecurities reliving the indignant horrors of how you were never regarded in the same favoring light that your sibling seemed to live within.
Since my friend fell off her newly installed stripper pole she has been unable to drive, so yesterday she asked me to not only drive her to her sister’s home, but to remain there as moral support. Her husband is out-of-town, and each of her siblings would be there with their spouses. Now I’m a realistic kind of gal so my head is screaming bad idea, but my mouth was saying okay. She has had a tough couple of months which included the death of her mother. Plus her sister can be quite the little drama queen even on one of her better days so we knew today she would be in exceptionally rare form since my friend’s mother had named my friend as the executor of her estate.
My friend is the 3rd child (the baby), her sister is the oldest, and their brother is the middle child. The oldest sister is the financially well off, and quite use to running the show. The brother is a gruff retired military man who I don’t think I have ever seen without a drink in hand, except for mom’s funeral. My friend is a published writer, quite the little spit fire most of time, but lately her spark has been a bit subdued. A formidable bunch to be sure, and their mother was a complete down home girl who grew up on the family farm. I happened to adore her, but to be fair she wasn’t my mother.
Back in the day mom was quite the party gal who had married an alcoholic, and their relationship dominated the family spotlight. I think all of the kids felt like extras on the set, rather than the cherished little stars of their family show. So each child naturally comes with all the insecurities of being raised in a home where mom, and dad’s marital issues/drinking took center stage on a daily basis.
So when we walked into the house both big sister, and brother were quite pissed over the baby being placed in charge. The accusations started to fly the moment we sat down. I watched as my friend calmly as she sat looking everyone over. She sat there quietly as the two older siblings ranted over every detail of their mother’s carefully thought out will. Keep in mind all three children had financially supported their mother equally in her last decades of life. She did not possess a large estate, even her home had been equally owned, and paid for by her three children. So the points of contention were over her personal possessions, things that had been passed down generation after generation.
They were fighting over things that were a familiar part of their erratic childhood. It was almost as if each item held some piece of their own self-identity. A kind of symbol of their personal value in their mother’s existence. They accused my friend of manipulating their mother into giving her items that they said their mother wanted them to have. My friend sat there silently as they raved, and ranted. Then she cleared her throat stood up, looked both siblings in the face, and said take it all. Divide it up however you want, I really don’t care.” Then she asked me to hand her two carefully wrapped packages. One for each of her siblings. She had me place one in front of each of them, and then we left.
As I drove her home she barely said two words. Then she turned, and smiled at me. I finally had to ask her what was in the two beautifully wrapped packages she had given each of her siblings. She had given them each a framed copy of their mother’s hand written will with a small note in it with her hand written words that said ” Take it all, with all my love. Mom’s favorite.” 😉