My husband and I had one of those conversations last night that all couples should have but I’m not convinced ARE having. The “what happens to our children in the event of our deaths” conversation. No, we have no plans to leave this Earthly plane anytime soon! But given my own personal history, this is something important to me.
My own parents were killed in a car accident when I was 14. My eldest is now 10. What has up to now been a “vague possibility” is rapidly becoming a “holy crap, she’s almost as old as I was” situation. My parents definitely had their affairs in order. Had for many years. I don’t know if they had a premonition or not. I think it probably had more to do with the dangerous countries we lived in when I was young. Most of the arrangements in their wills were made around about the time we moved to Iran. Need I say more?
Considering my history, making a will was one of the first things Greg and I did after we got married. I can’t remember anymore if we did it before or after having Marley but either way, it was a long time ago. High time for a revisit and revision! Most of the basics will stay the same. The kids won’t receive all their inheritance in one chunk – unless they are over the age of 21 when we pass (please God let this be so!!!) Our assets will be split evenly among all 3 girls. No favourites around here!
But who would take care of our girls if we were to die before they had reached adulthood?
Ten years ago the answer was clear and our preference set down in black and white. But now we have 3 kids and our chosen guardians also have children of their own. How much disruption do we want to cause them? How much uprooting do we want to cause our girls? Who is in the best position emotionally and financially to take on three psychologically damaged little girls? Who are they closest to now? All such good questions!
Here’s where Greg and I disagree. He seems to be operating under the misguided premise that keeping the girls in our home for as long as possible after the Horrific Event would somehow ease the transition to their new lives. Um, no. Trust me when I say that nothing can prepare you for the total wasteland that is life after losing both your parents at a young age. You cling to what you know, what you’re familiar with and just get through each day until suddenly you realize it doesn’t hurt as much. That you didn’t cry today. That you may have laughed even.
I was lucky and got to stay at my school with my friends. My brother and I did not end up returning to Britain to live with my parents chosen Guardians but chose a new family here in Canada to live with. So yes, there is wiggle room in wills. But expecting aging grandparents to swoop in to save the girls from having to move cities, change schools and leave their childhood friends behind is a bit extreme. Even if they were willing to abandon their own home indefinitely, who’s to say they’d be fit to raise 3 active little girls? If my brother and I had any other family currently living in Canada at the time you can bet we would have gone there. There wouldn’t even have been a discussion. Blood is thicker than water, right?
Don’t get me wrong. I love my adopted family! As far as my children are concerned they have 3 sets of grandparents – one is just up in Heaven. They have 4 uncles and aunts on my side and a boat load of cousins. I would be happy for any of them to take my girls and I’m pretty sure they’d be up to the task were I to ask. We may not have blood in common but we do have 27 years of shared history and that’s pretty special!
I am thinking of Greg’s comment last night that one of our local families could take the girls. That way they’d still be living in their home town. Still attending their own school and hanging with their friends. Still able to dance and play soccer where they’ve always danced and played soccer.
I think that’s commonly referred to as a pipe dream!
Nice thought but oh boy, so not what would happen in reality!
There are really no good answers. No matter who we choose life will never be the same for all parties involved! So it comes back to who is stable? Who is financially secure? Who is closest to the girls right now? And we change our will if we need to.
And then we revisit this question in another 5 years!
Deep thoughts for a Monday morning. What about you? Do you have a plan?