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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Family decisions

As I sit here typing, my feet rest on a stack of files full of old Edward Jones reports. Behind me are three garbage bags containing either trash, recycling, or shredding. This room was trashed before the cleanout began. It is much worse now. There isn't even walking space like I had last week. Poor Jeff will have to climb over stuff to get to his desk to work tomorrow.

Church was good today. The new pastor seems to be finding his feet. The focus of the sermon was treating others the way you'd want to be treated and how hard that is to do. I asked for prayers in Sunday School because tomorrow we meet with the stock broker and the person who handled the trust for Mom and Dad. The thing I've discovered in life is that money brings out the worst in all of us.

One of the things we have to decide on is this house we are living in. It is a very nice house on a great lot but probably not the one I would have picked had I gone out shopping. That being said, it would be nice not to have to move my children again (or me either since Jeff never has time to help in the packing) in less than a year's time. If we stay here I want to make it our home. I've suggested that we get a home inspection to make sure there are no major issues and then pay what Mom and Dad paid for the house when they bought it once any major issues are fixed, just like any buyer.

My sisters may not like that plan. To me, it makes the most sense and saves all of us the headache of getting a house ready to sell. Not to mention the weeks, months, or even years of waiting for a buyer only to in the end have to sell it for less than what was originally paid for it because the market is so bad. In the meantime having to pay homeowner's insurance on an empty house ( which goes up instead of down when you take your stuff out-explain that), the utilities, the termite contract, the homeowner's association, and the property taxes. And based on the stuff we had to do to get our house in Knoxville ready to sell, when we had already plunked $40,000 on upgrades, (and that didn't include the seven thousand we had to spend because our foundation was sinking) and then having to price it at eight thousand less than we paid five years ago, the odds of us making more than they paid for it any time soon are slim at best.

But my sisters' may disagree with my assessment, which will be difficult when it seems like the best plan to me. In that case, I guess Jeff and I will have to find another house with sellers that are more motivated. The big thing I wonder is, as time passes, if we stay here will my sisters always be wondering if they could have gotten more for the place? I don't mean to suggest that either of them are anything less than supportive but it's the money thing. My parents were not known to divvy things out equally and neither were their parents before them. They gave very generous gifts when it hit them to do so.

I know there have been times in my life when I have sat back and nickeled and dimed the fact that my oldest sister has four kids to my two. Because of sheer number, they have had so much more money invested in them than my family ever will. Or I've mulled over the fact that Mom made a big investment for her oldest son and mine will never have that option. Do I begrudge these gifts? No, in fact most of the time I'm thrilled because I love all these people too. I only mention it because I know if that greed (what's mine and who is taking what's mine) can hit me and I know how much I value these people than I know it can hit anyone. I don't know that they have but it would be very easy for my sisters to sit back and chronicle the things I've been given too because there is plenty.

It is easy to focus on what other's are getting and to worry that you aren't getting your fair share. Certainly, when I was focused on gifts given to others, I wasn't praising God for the fact that I wasn't homeless or thinking of all the people who would give most anything to be able to give their children what I can give my children because of my opportunity to go to college. It was all about me. Not exactly the 'love others as you love yourself,' suggestion of the Bible.

Not to suggest that I think either of my sisters would be greedy. They would just have a different opinion of the best use of resources. And that is what we are supposed to do, use our resources in the best fashion possible. But if it didn't jibe with my opinion.... So, all that said to say, I hope things go well tomorrow, that we can reach equitable decisions that don't leave anyone feeling cheated or angry. I love my family so. There has been too much going on for something so petty to cause strife on any one of our three sides.

So tonight, I am grateful for my sisters and their families, for the gifts that Mom and Dad left us of love and compassion, for my family who will go with me wherever we need to go, and for God who will use us wherever he puts us in the end because wherever we live here on earth, it is not our final home.

1 comment:

  1. For other than the obvious reasons, this is why I dread my parents passing too. There are five of us and Mom and Dad are doing an admirable job of trying to pass on anything we mention we want - or at least labeling things for us that they're not ready to part with. But what about the money?? You never know - maybe there won't be any left! Would that actually be a blessing?
    Talk to you soon.

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