Monday, November 17, 2008
My husband and I have an epic To Do List that has gained serious weight over the last five years, but lately I am most concerned over our lack of a will, or whatever legal document you need when you have little wealth and two children to leave behind if something unexpected happens.
So, just in case, I thought: why not blog some "last wishes"? I mean, we hope to take a little getaway soon, and we have no intention whatsoever of making it permanent, but it could be or first time flying together without kids... Plus, when you live in Southern California, you have plenty of reminders to contemplate your mortality, you know?
So, for the record:
I've never wanted a funeral. Not to say I wouldn't want a gathering, but a party would be my preference. A party with LOTS of food, nice words, many photos. The more stories, the better, but nice ones -- here or gone, I don't want to be roasted! And I surely do NOT wish to attend the party -- I don't want anyone looking at me then, so I hope to be cremated.
All my stuff should go to my kids, of course (and my mom and stepdad), but the real question is where do my kids go? Naturally my husband and I have discussed this about a billion times. When the rooster was born, we even asked my brother-in-law and sister-in-law to be godparents. However, they didn't have kids then. Now, they do. And we didn't know the rooster had autism then. Now, we do. Since our original conversation, they've moved to a new city, started new career journeys, started a family of their own, and learned about the roster's challenges. I call that a game changer. I know they'd still want to help, but I don't know that it would be the best thing for everyone.
When I hypothetically try to imagine J and I gone, I immediately feel an urgent need to think that the Rooster and Peaches need to stay together. And let's not kid anyone: they are undeniably adorable, but no easy package. It takes more than just love to raise them. It takes fortitude. Stamina. My grandparents played a major role in raising me, but the most aggressive thing I ever did was clutch my novels too tightly. And yet what about how much my folks and my inlaws would want proximity to the kids with us gone? Yet they live 3,000 miles apart. My family lives in a place practically foreign to my kids, and my in-laws live, as I do now, in a state I myself hope to flee before the kids reach their teen years.
There really is no perfect answer to this dark question, and my planning instincts feel thwarted when I try to puzzle out a possible solution. But here is what I hope in any event:
- I hope that my children always live in a place where they feel accepted and loved.
- I hope that they always have each other. Peaches is the best gift we ever gave the Rooster, and no one on earth will ever have her back the way that he does. Sure, he pounces on her back every chance he gets (and steals her snack as soon as she looks away), but if you dare so much as raise your voice slightly when addressing her, he will go all Brother Bear: "DON'T you DARE talk like that to MY SISTER!"
- I hope that my children live somewhere that feels more like a village than like a bonfire of the vanities. I hope that they have plenty of exposure to arts, culture, diversity, opportunity, and very little exposure to drugs, materialism, excess, and violence.
- I hope that my children will always hear about their parents' love, and have tangible proof of it all around them.
- I hope that my children never feel like they represent a burden to anyone.
- I hope that whoever raises my children feels lucky, grateful, and blessed. I know I do. This blog might not always show it, but I do. Beaten down as I am, thrashed and contemplating my possible demise, warped and skewed, I am grateful nonetheless.
Posted by ghkcole at 7:54 PM