After selling her own house, Emma moved into her daughter’s home to help her children develop their businesses. However, upon hearing a horrible conversation between them, she left and started living with her neighbor, Nora. Then she changed her will, hoping to shock her kids.
“Edward, it’s your turn. This is not fair! My marriage is suffering!” Sarah whispered-yelled to her brother on the phone. What she didn’t know was that her mother, Emma Persky, was eavesdropping not too far away. Unfortunately, Emma couldn’t hear her son’s reply, although it was clear that he wasn’t pleased with the conversation.
“Please, Edward! You have to take her at some point. We agreed!” Emma’s daughter continued pleading with Edward. Emma now understood what was happening: Sarah wanted her to move into Edward’s home, but clearly, he disagreed.
Almost a year earlier, Sarah and Edward came to her asking for money because they wanted to expand their businesses. Sarah had an Etsy shop with a decent following but didn’t have any money to buy more equipment to expand it. Meanwhile, her son was running a gardening business and needed an infusion of cash to keep it running.
Emma suggested taking out loans, but her children didn’t want to be burdened with more debts. They were both homeowners with mortgages to pay and were saving up for their own kids’ college. Their idea was to sell Emma’s house, and she would move in with them.
At first, Emma was hesitant. She didn’t want to give up the home she and her late husband had worked so hard to pay off. It was also where she raised her children. It held many memories of a lifetime. But they finally convinced her, and Emma moved in with Sarah and her family.
Unfortunately, their problems started right away. Sarah told her mother to sell most of her things because her house was already furnished. They took her bed and a few items from her bedroom, but that was it. The rest went into storage until they sold it all on eBay. Emma didn’t see a penny from those sales either.
Luckily, she had a savings account with a considerable amount of money. Her children didn’t know exactly how much she had, but they hadn’t mentioned using that money for anything yet.
Emma was having trouble living with her daughter. Her grandkids were amazing but loud, and Sarah’s husband was a piece of work. And now she’s hearing that Sarah is tired of her too. Furthermore, her son apparently doesn’t want to take her in either, based on that phone conversation.
This is heartbreaking. That’s why they say that motherhood is a thankless job, she thought and returned to her tiny room in Sarah’s house. She grabbed her purse and went back to the living room.
“Where are you going?” Sarah asked, standing up from the couch. She had obviously just hung up the phone.
“I’m going out for a while,” Emma responded with a fake smile that didn’t reach her eyes. But Sarah didn’t notice and was just happy to have her out of the house for a while.
Fortunately, Emma kept her car, too, so she started driving aimlessly around their small town of Decorah, Iowa. At first, there was no destination in her mind, but suddenly, she found herself in front of her old house. There was a demolition truck outside, and construction workers had already turned down a massive chunk of the house.
She parked her car on the other side of the street and started sobbing as she watched the demolition ball tearing another big part of her house. It wouldn’t be so heartbreaking if she hadn’t just discovered that her children were monsters. But now, she just covered her face with her hands and sobbed uncontrollably.
Emma cried for several minutes until a knock on her car window startled her. “Emma! Are you ok?” Her neighbor, Nora, asked with a bright smile until she noticed the tears on her friend’s face.
Emma had to roll down her window and breathe deeply before she could answer. “Hello, Nora. How are you?” she asked, trying to sound nonchalant.
“Are you ok, Emma? Why are you crying? Is it your house?” Nora let out a series of questions that Emma didn’t know how to answer.
“Ah, yes. I’m just emotional. I didn’t know they were going to tear it down like that,” Emma replied, looking back at the house for a second.
“Yes, I heard the new people really want it to be a modern house, with like ‘green stuff,’” Nora used air quotes while explaining. “I have no idea what that means.”
Nora was about ten years younger than Emma, but she had been a great friend to her for a long time. She raised her son, Tom, as a single mother, and he was in college now and would come to visit her often.
Emma snapped out of her thoughts and looked at Nora’s kind eyes. “Well, I should go now. I don’t want to see anything else,” she said and moved to put her car in drive. But Nora stopped her and asked her to come inside for coffee and cookies. Emma didn’t want to agree, but that was the best offer she had received all day.
Nora knew that something was up. She poked and prodded until Emma fessed up about the conversation she had overheard earlier between Sarah and Edward. “That’s horrible. I can’t even imagine, especially after the huge sacrifice you just made for them,” Nora commented, sipping her tea and burrowing her eyebrows.
“Yes, I don’t know what to do now. How can I go back there knowing I’m not wanted?” Emma asked her friend. “It’s not even about the money. I don’t care about that. But that house. I raised them in that house. It holds… well, held the last memories of their father. I just can’t believe all they care about is money. I’m a bad mother.”
“No! You can’t blame yourself over that. Some people are just like that. Money blinds you. You and your husband were the best parents I had ever seen. You inspired me often and helped me whenever I needed something with Tom. My son always talked about how great you treated him whenever you babysat,” Nora insisted, placing a hand on top of Emma’s in comfort.
“That’s so kind to hear. Tom was a sweet boy, and he looked up to Edward so much. Those were much simpler times,” Emma commented and sighed. “Anyway… I still have no idea what to do.”
“How about this? You can stay with me. My house is big. I’ve already paid it off completely. I have plenty of room, and honestly, I’ve been so lonely since Tom moved out,” Nora suggested, smiling genuinely at Emma who returned her grin.
It was a pretty kind offer, and after a few moments of hesitation, Emma agreed. She talked about moving her stuff from Sarah’s house, but Nora told her it wasn’t necessary. She had everything she could need. “And maybe your daughter will realize her mistake soon!” her friend chirped.
Unfortunately, Nora was wrong. Emma stayed at her house for a week and had yet to receive a call from either of her children. She had to call Sarah herself to tell her she was not going back home. Sarah seemed surprised by her mother’s decision, but Emma could hear the relief in her daughter’s voice.
Emma discussed payments and rent with Nora, and they became official roommates for the foreseeable future. Tom came home one Friday night to have dinner and was surprised to see Emma there, cooking dinner for them, and he was glad when they told her about their new living arrangements.
After dinner, when Nora went to the bathroom, Tom said something that shocked Emma. “I know you think that my mom is doing you a favor, but Mrs. Persky, you’re doing me a favor. Thank you. I’ve been so worried about her being alone, and you’ve solved this issue. If there’s anything you need, don’t hesitate to call me, alright?” the young man said. Emma smiled at the boy and almost cried.
After wishing Tom luck with his exams, the two women bid him goodbye. For months, they enjoyed being together and Tom would return once a week for dinner and conversation. He would also bring them flowers and help fix anything broken around the house.
On the other hand, neither of Emma’s kids visited her, and after a year of living with Nora, she made a big decision. All the money she had left would go to Tom. Her lawyer suggested giving something to her kids so they couldn’t contest the will. Therefore, Emma decided to give Sarah the bed she had left at her house, and Edward would receive her old dresser.
Emma smiled when she finished all the paperwork at her lawyer’s office. The only downside is that I’ll never get to see their “shocked Pikachu” faces, she thought humorously as she walked back home to Nora’s house. Tom was coming home that night to introduce his new girlfriend, and Emma didn’t want to miss that.
What can we learn from this story?
Your parents are not ATMs. While a parent’s job never ends, they are not cash cows. They don’t owe you money.
Treat your loved ones with respect and love. Sarah and Edward neglected their mother despite the sacrifice she made for them. So Emma changed her will so that someone more deserving got the rest of her money.