Meaghan:Ester! We are doing the Friday Chat all by ourselves today. It is a new era.
Ester: Hello! Yes! Ladies Are Doin’ It For Themselves, amirite?
Meaghan: You are right. Okay so, why not get right down to it and talk about our own mortality?
Ester: That sounds terrific, Meaghan. How else could we spend this gorgeous sunny afternoon?
Meaghan: Ha! Exactly. So, you have a child.
Ester: And you’re about to have a child.
Meaghan: Either that or I have something TERRIBLY wrong with my abdomen. Ha. Okay, but one of the many to-do things in all these baby books is to MAKE A WILL. And while I certainly haven’t done it, I have thought a lot about it. And then I saw your 1 Thing last week was to get going on your own will. Have you made any progress?
Ester: I have encouraged other people to make wills (and living wills)! That’s progress. We have also consulted a lawyer — i.e., had lunch with my husband Ben’s friend, who does Trusts & Estates — and gotten her advice, which is an important step. Possible Actually Making The Will will be my 1 Thing for next week!
Meaghan: I have googled, “How to make a will.” Does that count?
Ester: Right, exactly. And yes! It kind of does. It’s a start. Because you will learn that it is pretty straightforward and simple. The harder part is actually making the decisions that go into the will.
Meaghan: Um YES. I think that might be where my block may be. Because while a will can, I guess, have anything you want in it, a lot of the recommended things, or the things I am hung up on, are like…funeral arrangements and who to give your children to! Ahhh.
Ester: INDEED. And I take one look at a question like that and run back to my Roku box to re-stream an old episode of “Veronica Mars.”
Meaghan: Hahahaha. Yeah Dustin and I tried to have a conversation about this, or had several over the course of the week. But we kept ending up crying at some restaurant, talking about whether we wanted our ashes scattered together, and who would die first.
Ester: Oh my god. That sounds awful. I’m so sorry for you and your waiter.
Meaghan: Ha. It was at the Meatball Shop. I guess I can blame pregnancy hormones.
Ester: Why not! I still blame pregnancy hormones for all bad decisions (and zits). But aren’t you a vegetarian?
Meaghan: Ester they have amazing veggie meatballs there. GO.
Ester: Hahahha okay! No problem. I’ve been a terrible vegetarian since pregnancy anyway because my iron levels have required frequent meat infusions. ANYWAY. Ben and I have also had a version of this conversation, though less soggy ones, thankfully. For one thing, we’re Jews, so cremation is out. Our corpses go straight to the ground and stay there until the Messiah comes.
Meaghan: Well, that is one less decision you have to make, I suppose.
Ester: Exactly! That’s what religion is good for. Relieving you of a tough decision here and there.
Meaghan: Plus, you don’t have to worry about hell, right?
Ester: Quite right! No hell. Lots of angst & guilt in this life but no flaming sulfurous pit afterwards. Not a bad trade.
Meaghan: Ha. Okay so your child will be raised without the threat of hellfire and brimstone, check. And if you and your husband both die at once (*touch wood*), did you decide who will get to, um, take care of her for the rest of her life? This is so dark! And so fraught. How do you choose?!
Ester: I know, seriously, it’s the worst. The only silver lining is that, if anyone is super offended or upset, we won’t be here to see it. But yes, we’ve basically decided. My mom is incredibly fit and active — as I mentioned, she hiked Everest earlier this year as a 67-year-old widow. But she’s still working full-time. Ben’s mom is retired and lives in the glorious socialist paradise that is Asheville, NC.
Meaghan: Well they both sound amazing. Dustin and I had this conversation, too. Both of our moms are fit and could support a kid and would be seemingly WILLING to do that (way too eager, probably), but then how do you choose between them?! I imagine they would each be devastated if they weren’t chosen. Or maybe they’d be too devastated by our simultaneous and untimely deaths? But also you never know when this could happen, so maybe it’s better to ask a sibling?
Ester: My feelings exactly. Ben’s mom and my mom both love their granddaughter and could offer her a terrific childhood, and so could Ben’s dad, for that matter, who’s remarried to a lovely woman who has raised two daughters of her own. But we cut the knot by deciding that a sibling might be the safest way to go. My older brother is married to a woman who looks like a Disney princess come to life. They’re young, healthy, happy, energetic, employed. They want to have kids.
Meaghan: That sounds like an ideal situation! All of our sisters are younger and less settled, so it’s hard to tell where they’d be in the future.
Ester: That is trickier. There’s a Carolyn Hax advice column today on that topic: a 29-year-old single woman is left the guardian of her 13-year-old nephew after an awful accident.
Meaghan: Wow! Yeah I feel like ideally it would be someone with a family of their own who lives nearby and etc etc. Though I guess ideally you and your partner do not die in a terrible accident :(
Ester: Right. The downside with my brother and SIL is that they live in Southern California, and do we really want our Brooklyn baby growing up an Angeleno? But you can’t have everything, because if we had everything, we would still be alive to raise her ourselves. The most important thing is that the poor child doesn’t end up like the orphans in The Series of Unfortunate Events, bouncing from one sub-par guardian to another. (Although those orphans are scrappy and awesome.)
Meaghan: You just made a dark thing even darker.
Ester: That’s my superpower.
Meaghan: HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!