The year I was eleven I developed the certain knowledge that my parents would die the year I turned eighteen. What led me to believe this I'm not sure, but I was utterly convinced that I had seen the hand of fate, that we would be huddled on Mom and Dad's bed after the funeral, us against the world, spurning the entreaties of various relatives to join their various households, that the bank would take the house, and that I would be forced to get a job and become the stoic provider. I was enough convinced of this that I thought it best we take the precautionary step of creating a will on my parents' behalf, carefully outlined in my childhood diary. This led to the now infamous family story of my sister Ellen's response to the question, "When Mom and Dad die, which of their things would you like?" No hesitation:
Ellen was five at the time.
I was thinking about this today while searching for lawyers so that I could make my own will, hopefully one more binding than a handwritten list sealed with a heart-shaped lock (not that my eleven year old self's claim to Mom and Dad's Shaker china cabinet wouldn't hold up in court). The plan is to divide my household effects and savings evenly among my sisters. The problem is that I have three sisters. The bank won't recognize 33.3333333333333(to infinity) as a legitimate allotment option; someone has to get an extra one percent.
In the interest of fairness, I think I might award this to Karyn. She had only just turned four when we made that first will, and all she thought to ask for were the plant stands.