Monday, June 3, 2013

Nothing To Leave But My Stories

My husband and I are in the process of updating our wills.

It’s one of those things you don’t like to think about, but it’s a necessary evil. You kind of hope you never need them, like dentists. And The Biggest Loser.

The last time we wrote our wills I toddled off to the post office and bought two pro formas for about two bucks. I spent a lot of time talking about random items I owned, none of which were worth anything, and which the recipients probably wouldn’t thank me for anyway. We had two kids, and hadn’t yet whacked a chunk extra on the mortgage to pay for the renos. I took it to mothers’ group and made some of my friends sign it. I think. It could still be unsigned and undated somewhere.

Now we have three kids and the mortgage is so big that I can safely say we probably own the letterbox and carport. The bank owns the rest. But if something happened to us, the bank would quickly own it all, because neither of us had enough life insurance to pay off the house, and the three kids would wind up living in the car.

So we have been dealing with the life insurance companies to make sure that if something happened to either or both of us, we could keep the house. And I have made an appointment with some actual real-life lawyers to get our wills sorted.

They sent me a pro forma to fill out prior to the meeting. They wanted to know if I had any specific items I wanted to give. You know, like antique jewellery, first edition books and Van Gogh paintings.

So I wandered around the house and had a look. No Van Goghs. The oldest jewellery I own belonged to my grandmother, and was bright yellow plastic beads that are now in the dress-up box. Most of the books I own are from the op-shop.

I have a lot of things I value, but nothing of value to give.

The one thing I want to make sure my children have, are my stories. But you cannot gift words.

I want to make sure they know who I was. But you cannot pass on history.

I need to ensure that the girls understand how much I adore them. But you can’t put love in a box to be unpacked by an executor.

So I guess it is lucky then, that I have this blog. All in one place: my stories, myself and my love.  And the best thing is they don’t need to wait until I am dead to have it. And it is constantly growing and changing (albeit slowly, I am bogged down in university assignments at the moment which is why I haven’t been blogging much lately).

Then there was the small question of what to do with my diaries.

I kept a diary from the early literal recordings of an eight year old ‘went to school and had sausages for tea’ to the salacious and loquacious ramblings of a love-struck, experimental teenager to the angry rants and scandals of my early 20s. They’re full of secrets, few of them mine.

What do you do with diaries? I’m thinking of leaving them with my sister until Baldy Baby is an appropriate age (say, 35) and then she can hand them over. I wonder if the kids would even bother trying to decipher them, or whether they would just be tossed in the corner as a relic of a past life?

What do you want to leave to your children?



  1. My mum has a diary that we're not allowed to even look at until she's dead. Of course I'm not wishing any ill of her just for the sake of looking at her writing, but it would be interesting to see what she wrote. I have very little of anything to leave my little girl, and my biggest reason for a will these days is to make sure she goes to the proper place and doesn't end up in the wrong hands.

    Hope your studies are going well :)

    1. Thanks singlemum, I appreciate the well wishes for my studies. I need them.

      I think my blogging voice and chatty-review voice has ambushed and killed my 'academic' uni essay voice.

      Talk about rusty.

      best wishes to you, your little girl and your diary-writing-mum... I love that she has told you that no one can read it until after she's gone. It MUST be juicy!

  2. My photos.
    I don't keep a diary (well I did for a few years while a teenager but I don't wish to share any of it. Ever.) but I have taken a lot of photos which embody a lot of the memories I'd have wanted to put into a diary.
    Every so often I have an attack of mortality anxiety and get some into a photo book, but I'm still a few years behind.


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