How Would You Spend Your Inheritance?

Sold2I knew that per the terms of her grandfather’s will, Donna would inherit a percentage of the money from the building sale. She sat there staring at me, waiting for my response.

“Jeffery, do you realize what this means?”

I didn’t want to answer. I knew exactly what was coming and it was like embracing myself to get hit by a frozen turkey.

“Let me guess, you want your European vacation.”

“Yes, for five months.”

I smacked myself in the forehead. ”Five months! How much money do you think you’re getting?”

“It will be enough, Jeffery.”

I leaned forward. “You’ll spend the entire wad! Shouldn’t that money go into a retirement fund or something?”

“Some of it. Maybe.”

“Remember how close we came to losing our house three years ago?”

“Jeffery, you were willing to sell the house and move to Europe.”

“I never agreed to that. Besides, we were desperate and not thinking straight.”

“Jeffery, this time we don’t have to sell our house. Just because the circumstances changed, doesn’t mean my dream changed.”

I stood up. I could feel my blood beginning to boil. Just when everything in my life is lining up, she hit me with this. “I don’t get your passion for travel.”

“Jeffery, you’ll never understand travel until you experience it yourself.”

“People take three-week vacations to Europe. Nobody goes for five months.”

“I don’t want to be like everybody else.”

Damn it. I wiped my hand down my face. My mind raced. “What about my job – do you expect me to just up and quit?”

She smiled. “You can get a leave of absence.”    

“What about the show?”

“They can play reruns while we’re gone.”

“But I want to start selling the cookbook. The station thinks we are ready to go national. The show could finally start making money.”

“Jeffery, the window of opportunity is now. Soon the kids will be grown and gone. Alex is turning sixteen – in two years he’ll be off to college. Jill’s right behind him.”

“We’ll never get them out of school for this.”

“They have an independent study program at the high school. And Chris’s teacher will work with us.”

With my fingers locked behind my head, I paced around in small circles. “Let’s just go for three weeks next summer.”

She sighed. “You don’t get it Jeffery. We need time to experience the culture over there. I don’t want to blow through Italy and France. I want us to experience Italy and France.”

“Nearly half a year – every day – all day long with the kids. Do you really want that?”

“Jeffery, how much quality time have you spent with them lately?”

I sat back down next to her. “Your timing couldn’t be worse.”

She rested her hand on mine. “We need to focus on our family. Alex is growing up so fast. His world is drawing him away from us. He’s dating a girl that’s too old for him and I’m dreading the day he get’s his driver’s license. He’s not ready for the independence he so desperately wants. We need to spend time with him now. Jill’s so busy with soccer and her friends, we hardly see her anymore. And poor Chris, he’s lost in the shuffle.”

More silence passed.

“I’ve had it with all this.” She said. “I’m tired of the demands on us from teachers, coaches, bosses. . .” She blew her nose. “all on top of producing a weekly television show.”

I offered her my sleeve.

“Travel is much more than you realize, Jeffery. her voice softened,. “It made me who I am. It gave me self-confidence. It opened my eyes and opened my mind. While living in Finland – I promised to bring my own family back one day – to share it with them. For several years now I was afraid that wouldn’t happen. I don’t think I could live with the regret of not going.”

Tears trickled back in her eyes.  “You’ve never shared that part of me.”

I felt her hand gently stroke my hair.

“Jeffery, we can always get the money back, but we’ll never get the time back.”

NEXT: God Get Me Out Of This Mess

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