Tom and I made a will when our boys were young and named a brother-in-law our executor and willed our children to them (Tom’s sister and her husband) should we fall out of the sky on a trip we were planning.  While my boys love Tom’s sister and her husband, they were always horrified that they might actually have to be raised by parents who were tough micro-managers while our parenting style was more a benevolent neglect. My youngest son, Sam, jokes that his second mother was Wendys, and Sharon Kamarath, (now his mother-in-law), Mary Ann Wright, and a host of other women who fed him, adored him, and took him on vacations to Bear Lake.  Sam always had a mother who owned a boat, a tennis court or a swimming pool.

Anyway, Ed, son number two, was here two nights this week and I was updating him on how we wanted to go out of this world and reminding him that he was executor now.

“Have you written this down?” he asks.  He has grown into a practical adult.

“ No, but we will.”  I think we’ve been saying this for a decade.

“You might want to write it down,” he says.

“And I want to be cremated,” I say.  “I don’t want morticians touching me.  “I want the family gathered around my body when I die, and then I want you to wrap me in a sheet and take me to the crematorium.”

“In my car?”  Ed cares a lot about his car.

“Well, yes.”

“I have a better idea.”  His look is smug.  “We should invite a lot of people over to see you when you die.  We’ll give them each a magic marker, and they can draw on your face and then have their photos taken with you.”

Unlike his aunt and uncle, whom I don’t think would have found this funny in the least, I break into five minutes of guffaws.  That’s the trouble.  I encourage this kind of irreverent behavior, and now my children don’t respect me.

I think about the time, a hundred years ago, when I was sitting at my parents’ table with my brothers and sisters in the kitchen, and my father was describing how hungry they were during the Second World War in Holland.  I probably had that same smug look on my face as Ed had, when I said, “Why didn’t you just go to the refrigerator and get yourself a HoHo?”

My father rolled his eyes and exchanged an exasperated look with my mother.

Sorry, Dad, wherever you are.  Hope you’re smiling at my overdue realization that what goes around comes around.