Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Growing Up

Here are the books I grabbed at the library to read in the next few weeks.

But here are the books I am actually reading now.

I do not want to read these books.  But it looks like I have to, as part of growing up. 

I’m not preparing to be a caregiver for my parents.   Long ago they made their move to the Old Folks Home.  They have given their three children many gifts, and this gift of arranging for adequate care in their old age is perhaps the biggest gift of all.  

Instead I am reading in preparation for taking over my aunt’s financial affairs.  For some reason the extended family thinks I am a wizard at handling bank accounts, bills, and the like.  While it is true that I never met a spreadsheet I didn’t like, I think this is an unfair characterization. In our family, my husband and I split the duties – I usually spend the money, and he usually makes the income and pays the bills.

Based on my reading of about 35 pages so far, here is my conclusion:  Getting old? Get a lawyer.  Practically every other sentence says, “Consult an attorney.”  This is for people who haven’t committed a crime.  It seems it is impossible to age properly without legal action.  And I thought aging was just going to be about fending off hot flashes.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am glad we have lawyers to protect us from people with Nefarious Purposes.  I just think that it would be simpler if we lived in the world of “The Invention of Lying” movie, where it was simply impossible to tell a lie, unless you are Ricky Gervais.  I could just call up the bank and say, “My aunt trusts me completely to handle all of her finances.”  And the bank would say okay, and that would be that.

But as it turns out, there is not yet a New Heaven and a New Earth, God’s justice does not yet roll down like rivers, and the world is not like that.  So, for the Common Household Mom, it’s Welcome to the Grownup World.  I wish it was just a visit, but I think I’ll be staying here for a while.


Angie said...

I worry about being so far away from my folks as they get older.

Renee said...

Those books scare me. I remember, 15 years ago or so, when my grandmother, who was in her 90's, died. My mother complained about how her mother hadn't left a will, so things had to go through probate, which took a very long time and made everything more complicated. However, when I asked my mom if she'd written a will, she told me that she didn't want to talk about it!

I'm hoping that she and my dad have actually written wills now (they're both 82), but I don't ask anymore. I try to remember that they're grown-ups (no senility or Alzheimer's) and hope they know what they're doing :-)

Maureen Profeta said...

1st: I'm blown away that you had planned to read five different books in just a few weeks. 2nd: Growing up is complicated enough without adding lawyers to the mix. Praying your find your way through this mess soon.

Common Household Mom said...

Angie: I'm convinced this financial stuff can be done from a distance, once it is all set up. Other issues - I don't know.

Renee: this book I'm reading by the AARP starts out with "how to introduce the topic that no one wants to talk about." It's not easy, for sure. My family talks easily about the death part, but not about the loss of autonomy part.

Maureen: please don't be overly impressed by all those books. I usually borrow 5 or 10 a time, and once I get them home I actually crack the books open to decide what to read. Once I choose them, it takes me longer than three weeks, by far.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

This is a tricky business--I'm glad my MIL has designated different children to do different things for her. Sad that caring for family has to be so LEGAL, but there you go, it's America.