Sell a 6000 square foot house with outbuildings on 23 acres. Empty out 200 years of stuff. Add 15 cousins, stir well.
A TV series pitch? Not so much. It was my life for a while. It took about three years, but we did it, my cousin and I, with lots of family help and the sale of a painting.
There were miracles involved.
We were a typical extended family with rifts and misunderstandings. My cousin and I were trustees for the two branches (his father, my mother). We worked hard to heal the effects of the past, building a good working relationship, learning to trust each other. The rest of the family followed our lead, slowly but surely.
The potential for great drama burned off like fog. When the time came to finally empty things out, the family grew closer. There were no fights. None. Someone might get crabby for a few hours, but we all understood and helped each other through it.
Coming down to the wire the wild and wacky bartering started. Taking my name out of contention for a wooden bench, antique hay fork and french watering can produced the rug next to my bed! We all got into it. And it was never about monetary value.
So much so that when our family lawyer arrived on Monday morning to arbitrate any disputes, there were a whopping seven items waiting for him to decide about. Out of all that stuff. He said he’d never seen anything like it.
Big ticket items? Nope. The French watering can and a painting by my mother were the most hotly contested.
Even when the outcome was decided, we still made adjustments. One of my cousins (unbeknownst to me) was extremely attached to a child’s hearth chair that I got. Watching a slow tear make its way down her cheek, I simply gave her the chair. Fondness trumped by memories.
Later on her brother came up to me with a bowl he knew I really loved, but that he had chosen. He put it in my hands saying it had a small crack, and his wife had a thing about cracked bowls. I know it was because of the chair, even if he wouldn’t admit it.
Losing stuff. Regaining family.
It was that kind of day.