I was just reading Radical Mama’s "Uncomfortable Conversations" post about who would care for her children under the unfortunate circumstances something happened to her and her husband. Which made me realize that although my husband and I discuss this often, we have never legalized any action.
We have friends with whom we periodically have this discussion. (Like just now, quickly, to let the mom know I was soliciting advice online.) We have even gone so far as to become church sanctioned godparents for them (may “god” strike my atheist heart for saying those things in front of a priest), but no legal documents exist. And I feel that I have soured the original offer by bringing two more children, twins no less, into the equation. It was all fun and games when the decision was first negotiated over our firstborns with cocktails and barbeque in the back yard, but I really am serious.
It is important to choose someone with whom I share similar values (and despite the god-fearing oath, we share similar parenting styles and a life outlook with our friends). And in the event something did happen to my good friends and I had custody of their children, I would, as I vowed, raise them according to their religious faith. Of course this would mean I would drop them off outside the church and collect them the requisite hour and a half later, but a promise is a promise.
There are some other contenders jockeying for the role in the event something did happen to us. The “B” list includes: my sister, potentially his sister under radically different criteria, and my best friend from college… . But we should really probably make all this supposition legal, shouldn’t we?
The reality behind this issue frightens me because at my age, my sister’s husband died. She woke up one morning to discover his cold lifeless body. And if I remember correctly, so did her children. He had no will and worse, no life insurance. She was left with three small children and only her absolute resolve to get through the crisis. Being eight years younger, geographically distanced and unstable, both emotionally and financially at the time, I was little help to her. Every time my husband leaves for work I fear he could be hit by a car on his bike, drown in the Willamette River or struck by lightening (probably an act of god for that whole vow-before-god-in-a-church lie). We really need more insurance and a living will.
Our first discussion several years ago with another set of friends over the custody of our child (before Tavi and Bea) was disastrous. When I asked, the husband balked in a way that not only hurt my feelings, but also caused a serious reconsideration. Later, as we discovered our parenting styles were cataclysmically divergent, we were glad that we changed our minds before they reluctantly agreed many months later.
I feel good about our current choice of guardian, but how do we make it legal?
So calling all parents! What plan do you have in place for a living will and why did you make your decision? And has the decision affected other relationships within your family or other friends who were not chosen as candidates?