Life is funny in its circularity. Not haha funny but wistful.
My oldest son had a bank CD which was about to roll over so, given the abysmal interest rates, we decided to close it rather than allow it to roll over. We went to the bank this morning. I was the custodian of the account and it turns out the account was opened in 1998 when my son was just six. As we were closing the account certain things became clear. I no longer needed to be the custodian. It’s his money, as it was always intended to be. I have been removed. Oh, let’s not get melodramatic. I haven’t been removed from his life but in some ways it’s another small rip in the fabric that binds us. It’s a process and we’ve been tearing off that band-aid for a while now. I’m not a sentimental person, but I had a strange lump in my throat at the memory of that adorable six- year-old boy transformed into a twenty one year old man of whom I’m insanely proud. And, it’s all good. It’s as it should be but, even so, it makes me a little sad.
This has dovetailed with my mother asking me to be a joint account holder on several of her bank accounts. I understand that it’s her way of giving up control. It’s her way of falling back. It’s never been a question of trust but it’s a hard thing to give someone that kind of carte blanche authority over your finances. She needs me more than she ever has. Perhaps life is a series of tightening and loosening of the bonds with the people we love or a constant redefining of our roles as either the caregiver, or the cared for.
And, as I sat at that bank I thought that if life plays out as it normally does the next time my oldest son and I have a joint account it will be because he is accepting responsibility for me and not vice versa.
And that, my friends, is the most terrifying thought of all.