Who Is This Woman?

I used to think it was one of the funniest stories I’d ever heard. My husband has a lot of funny stories from his years as an estate-planning lawyer, and this one was, by far, my favorite. Sometimes when we’d be in social settings and when people would start sharing anecdotes about their work, I’d beg him on to tell “the story.” And he would, and people would laugh. And I would laugh too, just like I was hearing it for the first time.

My husband is very good at his job mostly, as I like to tease him, because he’s a “ladies man.” He has a way with the ladies. And when I say ladies, I am referring almost exclusively to the octogenarian set. The old biddies just love him! 

Once I was sitting in a garden with my grandmother when Doug (we’ll call him Doug because, well, his name is Doug) walked in and suddenly my dear, proper, delicate little grandmother seemed to transform into a schoolgirl right before my very eyes. She adjusted her skirt a bit, sat upright in her chair, and a big grin came across her face. I’m pretty sure she was blushing.

He’s tall, and handsome, looks fantastic in a crisp work shirt and, most importantly, he’s nearly 100% gray. The gray thing is huge when you’re a lawyer. People want seasoned lawyers. The gray thing sucks when you’re a graphic designer. Everyone wants the cheap twenty year-olds that learned coding in pre-school. I digress.

Doug commands attention with “the ladies.” In the story I used to love so well he had the attention of one such lady, his client, and her daughter. These women were sitting in Doug’s office going over the mother’s estate plan. In his calm, comforting, careful way, and in meticulous detail, my husband explained the trust, beneficiaries, tax implications, etc of the mother’s plan. He read and reread excerpts from the documents. Then he started from the top and explained the entire thing all over. (Sometimes it takes a few go-overs for this stuff to sink in.)

After having gone through it enough to feel confident that the women understood everything, he looked at them and asked if either of them had any questions. The daughter shook her head “no,” but the mom had a question. She looked Doug square in the eye and said “Yes. I have one question. And gesturing to her daughter sitting beside her she said “Who is this woman?”

Yesterday, my daughters and I stopped in to visit my mother, Linda, who is in the mid-late stages of Alzheimer's. At one point, my mom looked at my 15YO daughter and said “You’re almost as tall as my wife” as she gestured to me. That story that I used to beg my husband to tell is no longer one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. That story is now my story.