Remember when we were little kids and our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, when we saw the thick, sugary icing and special colored roses on our birthday cake? Everyone fought over those colorful, sugary roses that contained enough fuel to shoot us to the moon and back, or at least until midnight when the sugar buzz finally wore off. We were probably 5 or 6 years old, but already we had learned a lesson that would follow us throughout our lives.
The voice in our heads beckoned us to eat as much as possible including all of those coveted roses — after all, it’s my cake, my birthday. Why shouldn’t I have it all to myself? Mother’s quiet, yet serious tone forced me to share, and share equally among the other children at the party. “You have to be fair to everyone,” she would say. It isn’t fair, I thought to myself. That’s my cake! I should have all of the slices of cake with the roses on them. (The roses were, and still are, my favorite.)
So it is with much of life. We all want the “roses” in life and that includes our loved one’s estates. You’ve had your eye on that grandfather clock, or mom’s diamond ring, or dad’s fishing lure collection for years. And you believe you are entitled to them, or perhaps they were promised to you long ago, so you just assume they will be yours one day. Then that “one day” comes, and your sibling claims the same thing … the trouble begins.
Until they are gifted to you in person prior to infirmity or death, or until there is a written plan for those heirlooms upon a loved one’s passing, you are entitled to nothing unless it is given to you. Even if you don’t end up with your beloved “rose,” we must remember that while we would like to have the majority of the cake, it is good and appropriate to share equally.
You taught me well, Mom!
© 2011 Julie Hall