At dinner with friends, paterfamilias mentions that his children--that's our grown children and their spouses--have told us, 'Spend your money; travel and enjoy yourselves; don't save it for us.' In a way, he's bragging just a little bit. He's saying, in effect, his kids are doing well and don't need our help.
Our friends--she's a "new" friend, having just moved in with him, who's an "old" friend--laughs and says that's not what her children are saying. They're telling her: "Save some money for us. Our father [her former husband] is spending it all on his new wife."
We all chuckle over that. But neither of these dialogs deals with the real world--at least the real world I'm experiencing. Yes, I'm going to enjoy some of the money we've earned over the years, but yes, I'm also going to save something to leave for my children and grandchildren. Or, if I don't leave it, it will because they've already gotten it: either I've lent it or spent it--to or on them. But even with that lend-or-spend attitude, I hope there's a small legacy for them [if old-age medical needs don't get in the way; how enjoyable a spend would that be?]--something to help the Grands through college or for my children to do something they've always wanted to do or just something to haveif there's an unanticipated need.
And I think that's what our friend's children are, in effect, saying. "We want to know a safety net will be there if we need help with some major expenses." Ours aren't articulating it because they still have the safety and stability of our Being Together as the same old us. We're not jetting off to a second youth or off on some other kind of spree. They can afford to say they don't care about a legacy, but it's not because they may not need it. That's a pretty comforting feeling for us--and maybe what paterfamilias was getting at by raising the subject at dinner with friends.