Mom Gives Younger Son Her House, Older Son Gets Only a Small Box – Story of the Day
Edward came back home after his failed investment, and eventually, he forced his mother to sign the house over to him. Meanwhile, his older brother Jake received a small wooden box instead …
Francesca began setting up the tables in the dining room. One plate, two plates, three plates, four plates … she took out the fancy plates her late husband brought her from Sweden and laid them neatly on the table, placing them next to the silverware that only see the light of the day during Easter and Christmas … and well, Thanksgiving.
Ah yes, Thanksgiving … is the Turkey ready yet? She thought to herself. How many hours has it been? Another hour or two left. Great. Now she has time to prepare the salad and set up the table—it was a special Thanksgiving after all.
Jake was probably on his way already, Francesca thought to herself. He always comes over for the weekend, always on time as well—but this time Caroline was also coming with him. Francesca would love to see Caroline more often—she was glad that Jake married Caroline. What a lovely girl … but she’s always busy, always working. Poor Jake.
But this isn’t the only reason why this Thanksgiving was special. Eddie, her younger son, was coming back from California for Thanksgiving as well.
Before she knew it, everybody arrived and was seated at the table while she was busy juggling between dishes. It wasn’t easy to keep everything warm when you were cooking such a big meal.
“Sup man, nice watch,” said Edward.
“Thanks. Got a decent bonus from work last year,” replied Jake.
“Man, aren’t you living that corporate life,” Edward gave a snickering remark.
“Not for long I hope,” Jake finally responded after a brief pause, with a meek smile on his face. It was then when Francesca finally got all the dishes ready and sat down at the table along with the rest of her family.
“Oh Caroline, how sweet it is to have you here tonight,” said Francesca, to which Caroline simply nodded, smiling. “Okay everybody, let’s say our prayers and start eating—you as well, Eddie,” Francesca said. “Say, Eddie, how was San Diego? I bet the weather is way better there.”
“It’s alright, ma. But God, is it hot over there,” replied Edward.
“Shush! Do not take our Lord’s name in vain—not here, at least,” Francesca exclaimed then turned towards Jake, her older son. “What about you, Jake? I heard you just had another promotion?”
“Just a minor promotion. Mostly because they’re running out of people, to be honest,” Jake responded, but he stopped abruptly when Caroline nudged him under the table. “But it’s good. It also came with a raise so that’s nice,” he added.
“Your father would’ve been proud of you, you know,” said Francesca. “What about you, Caroline? How’s work? Haven’t seen you in a while, darling.”
“Busy. It’s been pretty hectic these days—my company wants to enter the Chinese market, so everyone has been working overtime every day,” she responded.
“Aw, ain’t that a pity … gotta look after yourself, darling,” Francesca said, to which Caroline simply smiled and nodded.
Towards the end of the dinner, pumpkin pie was served—it was Jake and Edward’s favorite as a child.
As they were wrapping up the dinner, Jake asked Edward about his life in San Diego. “How was the whole bitcoin thing Ed?” he asked as he was putting down his fork.
But Edward simply turned towards Francesca and began asking her mundane questions. Probably didn’t work out for him, thought Jake.
“Ma, can I stay here for the night?” asked Edward after a series of mundane questions.
“Sure darling! It’d be nice to have you here. I cleaned your room a few days ago,” Francesca responded enthusiastically. Everyone could see the glow in her eyes—after all, it was the first Thanksgiving that Ed attended in the last four years.
After bidding their farewell, Jake left with Caroline and Ed stayed behind.
The next weekend, Jake drove to Francesca’s for dinner—again, but without Caroline. To his surprise, he found Ed there still, still staying at the house.
“I thought you were heading back to San Diego?” asked Jake.
“Nah man, got something to take care of here,” Ed responded, then he turned away and walked towards his room.
“Where’s Caroline? Working again?” asked Francesca … but right after she asked the question she could see the light leaving from Jake’s eyes.
At the dinner table, Francesca could sense that something was wrong with Jake. “Something happened with Caroline?”
Jake didn’t respond at first. But then after a long moment of silence, he finally responded. “Caroline and I are getting a divorce,” he said.
“Really? How? You two are so sweet together?” said Francesca.
“You know, work, life … we're both getting old and we realized we want different lives,” Jake responded. “It happens, people change.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, darling …” Francesca said then walked towards Jake and held him in her arms, just like the time he broke up with his first girlfriend back in high school. Kids never really grow up, do they? There’s always much for them to learn, to experience, to accept.
“So she’s moving out?” asked Francesca after another long moment of silence.
“I will have to find a place. The house is under her name,” said Jake. “Why’s Ed still here by the way? I thought he’s moving back to San Diego?” he added.
“It’s that bitcoin thing. It didn’t really work out for him. In fact, I just signed the house over to him. I'm planning to move somewhere anyway,” Francesca responded.
“Really? You know he’ll just sell it and spend the money on something else, don’t you?”
“I know what I’m doing, Jake. I—”
“Don’t ‘but’ me, Jake. I might be old but I am not stupid. I know what I’m talking about,” said Francesca. “He will learn his lessons,” she added. After another long pause, she asked, “Have you found a new place yet?”
“No, I—” Jake tried to respond, but before he could finish his sentence, Francesca signaled him to be quiet and walked upstairs towards her bedroom. She returned with a small box after a minute or two.
“Here, I want you to have this,” she said.
“What’s that?” asked Jake. But Francesca didn’t say anything. She simply signaled him to open the box.
It was an old wooden box with intricate carvings on the outside. Jake remembered seeing the box as a kid, but he never knew what was inside until that very day. Slowly and carefully, he opened the box … he did not expect what he saw.
“It’s your father’s—well, it was,” Francesca said. “But I know he’d want you to have it.”
It was a vintage Rolex Paul Newman Daytona. He only saw the watch in a magazine before. He never knew his father had one.
“Sell it if you want to, it should be worth enough money for you to get a new condo somewhere nearby,” Francesca added.
Dumbfounded by his discovery, Jake couldn’t find the right words to say. But at long last, he finally responded. “No, I can’t mom, dad would kill me if I sell it,” he said. “At least I can keep it to remember him by … it’s been so many years since he passed and I can barely remember his face these days.”
“I think I will quit my job and move somewhere for a while—I’ve got enough savings anyway,” he then added. “I need some changes in my life.”
“You decide, boy,” Francesca responded. “You’re a grown man. I know you will make the right choices.”
“But what about you? Where are you gonna live?” Jake asked, remembering that his mom mentioned something about moving away.
“My own family got a house somewhere close to Williamsburg. I used to spend my summers there as a kid. Beautiful house,” she said. “I am getting old now, and I think it’s time for me to move somewhere quieter.”
She smiled as she thought about her childhood, all seemed like a lifetime ago, yet every subtle detail began to manifest itself in the back of her head. The red door, the green kettle, the soft bed in the attic, the gray wool blanket her father gave her when she got sick that one time, so soft yet prickly …
“But what about Ed? Are you just going to let him sell the house?” asked Jake.
“As I said, he will learn his lessons,” Francesca responded. “If he needs a place to stay he can always stay here without spending a single dime so he can get back up on his feet—but if he is going to sell it he will have to pay the taxes. As I said, he will learn his lessons.”
What can we learn from this story?
Family comes first—not like the one in "Fast & Furious" with Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel, but your actual family. No matter what happens, family is always family.
Treasure the time with your family—treasure the moments while you still can.
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