When Olive lost most of her house in a natural disaster, she asked her three grandchildren to come and decide what to do. Their reactions were shocking, especially what her youngest said and started doing later, which made Olive decide to call them again for a bigger surprise.
“Grandma, this is a mess. I think fixing it up will be even worse and more expensive than just selling it,” Olive’s eldest grandson, Justin, explained. He was 28 and working as a junior executive for a local company in North Carolina.
Her second eldest, Luke, nodded his head. He was 23 and about to graduate with a business management degree. He always followed what his big brother wanted. “Yeah, Justin is right. If you give the house to us, that’s what we’ll decide. Selling it is best. We can just divide the money equally between us,” he agreed.
The older woman wanted their opinion about this house because she planned to give it to them at some point. She was currently staying at their mother’s home and called them there for this specific reason. She expected the eldest’s opinions as they matched her own, but the youngest shocked her.
“I want to know too. Why do you need a lawyer, Grandma?” the kid asked, and Olive shook her head at all of them.
Dylan, who was only 12, shook his head. “It’s not so bad. The storm only destroyed the garage and a bit of the house. We can fix it,” he argued, looking at his big brothers. They were all Olive’s daughter’s sons, her only family in the world. Dylan was a surprise baby, born when his brothers were in their teens.
Dylan’s big brothers laughed.
“Kid, the storm did way more than that. Part of the main house’s roof is gone. The heavy rain flooded the basement. That’s thousands of dollars in renovations. In this market, it’s just better to sell. Don’t worry. I’ll keep your part of the sale in a trust, and you’ll get it for college or something,” Justin shook his head at the 12-year-old and stared at their grandmother. “Besides, it’s time for grandma to go to a nursing home. Mom said you were planning to move, right?”
Olive looked at her eldest grandson and pursed her lips. She had been planning to move, but it wasn’t exactly like he thought. For some reason, she didn’t want to correct him. But Dylan interrupted before she could say anything.
“What? Nursing home? What about Sunday barbecues? Birthdays? Everything we’ve celebrated here? It’s not fair! Grandma, don’t move to a nursing home!” the 12-year-old whined. His big brothers shook their heads at him, but Olive was touched and surprised.
Justin had just talked to him about money, and Dylan was certainly old enough to understand that he could get something beneficial from this sale. But still, all he cared about were the memories the family made in this house. Olive looked back at the structure and grinned slightly. He had a point, but she had to side with the eldest in the end.
“I think Justin and Luke are right. Selling is best,” Olive finally said, and Dylan pouted, but he said nothing.
A few days later, Olive arrived at her ruined house with a real estate agent for an initial appraisal. She saw Dylan picking up the rubble and dirt from her garage.
“Dylan, what are you doing here? Careful, you could hurt yourself touching anything,” Olive said, rushing to him.
“Grandma, I’m showing you that we can easily renovate this house. I can help, and I can get my friends to help too, so it won’t be that expensive. We just need materials. I’ve been watching YouTube tutorials, and it’s not that hard. Although the roof is going to be tricky,” Dylan started and rambled about everything they could do to renovate.
He picked up things as he spoke, demonstrating what could be done and where to improve. Olive listened and nodded at his enthusiasm, feeling amazing that at least one of her grandsons wanted to save this place. It had been home to their mother – a place with so many memories. He valued it for that, not for the money.
Dylan continued arranging things, and eventually, Olive told the real estate agent that they would reschedule. Afterward, she started picking up things too and helping Dylan. But through it all, she came up with an idea.
“What are we doing here, Grandma?” Luke wondered, confused. Olive had called all three of her grandsons once again. But this time, they were meeting at her lawyer’s office. She had made an important decision and wanted to let them know so there would be no confusion.
“Yeah. What’s this about?” Justin added.
Dylan nodded his head and fiddled with his suit jacket. He was not used to dressing so nicely. “I want to know too. Why do you need a lawyer, Grandma?” the kid asked, and Olive shook her head at all of them.
“You’ll see,” she said conspiratorially and entered the office.
Mr. Kauffman introduced himself to Olivia’s grandsons and chitchatted for a few minutes. But he got down to business at some point. “Ok, so your grandmother wanted you here because we’ve finalized her will, and she wants all three of you to know its contents. She doesn’t want confusion after she passes,” he started.
“Her will?” Justin asked, confused. “Grandma, you’re perfectly healthy.”
Olive shushed him and signaled for Mr. Kauffman to continue.
“Ok, so Dylan is getting the house on River Road and everything that’s in Olive’s savings accounts,” Mr. Kauffman revealed, touching his reading glass to focus better.
“River Road? Grandma’s house is on 3rd Street,” Justin countered, frowning. Luke raised his eyebrows at Olive, and Dylan just had a curious look on his face.
Olive sighed. “I was never planning to move to a nursing home, Justin. I have another house, which I’d been renting out after inheriting it. I like it more, so I’m moving there.”
“That’s… surprising,” Luke said. “But what do Justin and I get?”
“You get my current house,” Olive said, pursing her lips. “You wanted to sell it so much, so that’s my gift to you two. Dylan gets everything else because he cared more for our family memories than anything else. Don’t worry, darling. We’ll make a ton more memories in the other house. More barbecues. More gatherings. And it has a pool!”
Dylan’s big brothers sat back in their seats, resigned and quiet. Meanwhile, he looked at his grandmother who winked at him.
What can we learn from this story?
Younger children value other things more than money. Unlike his big brothers, Dylan only cared about restoring the house where they had so much fun together as a family.
Even your older children need to be taught harsh lessons sometimes. Olive made a decision that taught Justin and Luke a tough life lesson: family is more important than money.
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