Making Sure William Will Be Alright

For the From Left to Write Book Club, we read "The Kids Are All Right" by Amanda, Dan, Diana, and Liz Welch, a book about a young family torn apart after losing their father and then their mother. This post is inspired by that book.

We were standing over William's changing table, as I pulled his pants back up and I turned to my sister Christina and said, "You know that if anything happens to us, we want to you to take William, right?"

Maybe those weren't the exact words, but it was something like that. I didn't know that I was going to ask her right then. I didn't know what I was going to say before I said it. Sure, Matt and I had talked about it and decided it was best for his future. We went through our list of options and knew that my sister and her then fiance/now husband Tristan would be the most prepared to give William the closest thing to what we would give him.

If we die, they would raise him best. It's not something you ever want to think about, but as parents, it's reality. But, asking your sister to care for your child, provide for him, love him, educate, clothe, and feed him if you're not able to do so yourself, isn't really taking care of his future.

We have a lot of work to do. We need a real will, a real plan, a better savings account for William's education, and we need to do everything we can to be sure we're here as his parents as long as possible. Sometimes in the early years of building your family, you don't focus on what's down the road or the "what if's" in life. Honestly, why would you? Sometimes the "what if's" in life are too scary to even think about.

That fear is what left the mother in the book frozen in the face of choosing who would raise her kids once she was unable, forcing them to live apart. Being apart was, to me, the opposite of what I would want for my family. It made me want to reach through the pages of the book and give each of these kids a hug and a home where they could live together. It kept me glued to the book, wondering what I would do if I was their aunt or mother's friend.

And it made me realize this: In asking Christina to take responsibility for William I was also silently asking her to tack on whatever future children we may have. If they have a few and we have a few, am I asking them to be willing to double their family if something happens to us? I guess I am.

When you think about it that way you really realize it's not a simple question to be asked over the changing table at the spur of the moment. We should at least buy them dinner.

This post was inspired by the book "The Kids Are All Right" by Amanda, Dan, Diana, and Liz Welch, which I received complimentary as a part of From Left to Write Book Club. See how other bloggers connected to this book here. See how other bloggers were inspired by this book here.


Liz Welch said...

Dear Lisa, your posting is spot on. I cannot tell you how many friends of mine, all young moms like yourself, told me that my memoir haunted them. In fact, many of them made appointments with their lawyers to either write or revisit their wills and name legal guardians for their kids! It is the last thing ANYONE wants to think about. When our father died, my parents will was 10 years old. In it, only Amanda and I are mentioned--Dan and Diana had not been born yet. Dan was 11 when Dad died, Diana was 4. And because Dad left mom in SUCH a pickle--the huge debt forced her to sell the only asset, our home... and then she was diagnosed with fatal cancer on top if it all. No wonder the poor woman could not step back and see how important it was to find a legal guardian who could take all four of us. She did not have time to think--she needed every second to focus on surviving. And of course, she did not. Which left us to be split up among several local families, all well intentioned, though none ideal. The long and short of it is, if there is one thing we hope parents take away from our book, it is how important it is to make arrangements for the worst when you are at your best. Diana and Jesse already asked me and my husband Gideon to be thier son Harvey's legal guardian God forbid anything ever happens to them. Another dear friend has asked me to do the same--not only as Godmother to one of her sons, but officially asked me and Gideon to be the guardians to both of their sons if need be. We considered both requests seriously before we agreed--because it is a serious request! And one we would never back out of once we have agreed (like some characters in our book which have psuedonyms!) And so I am so thrilled to hear that you asked your sister and that she said yes. Doesn't matter that it was at the changing table or over a five course dinner, that to me means you are being a good mom! And now you can go back to being a good mom! in other words, this is what you do as a parent--you take care of your kid. Lucky William! I hope your post inspires others out there to do the same. Thanks for reading our book, and for sharing your thoughts. All the best, Liz Welch

Windtraveler said...

Um, you are not dying. Okay? Just don't do it. There is absolutely no plan for a best friend replacement and there never could be. So JUST DON'T. Thanks! (Seriously, though, great post...very serious subject matter, and def. something to think about). But again, just don't die. I wouldn't know what I'd do without you. In fact, this mere thought is bringing tears to my eyes as I type. Ugh.