Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The hardest question

My husband and I are going to a wedding in Colorado in two weeks. It will be the first time we have both been away from the twins overnight. And not just one night, two nights! And it's the first time we will have flown somewhere without them. Of course, that gets me thinking about the question you never want to ask "Who would I leave my kids to if something happened to us"?

When I was pregnant, we talked about it a little. We settled on asking my brother, who is 28, recently married, and has no kids of his own. We thought they'd be the best choice, as they are true soul mates, there is no divorce in their future. They are also kind, compassionate people who value the same things my husband and I value.

We decided we don't want to leave our kids to either of our parents as we don't think it's fair to ask them to care for young children when they are finally retired and free to do the things they want, and we don't think it's fair for our children to grow up with older people who will ultimately need their care.

But then, when the twins were born and we found out about Drake and realized he will have lifelong challenges, everything kind of changed. I felt that we couldn't ask my brother anymore as it would be too much to ask him to care for a child with a disability. They want their own children some day, it's already a lot to ask them to take twins, let alone one who will need more care. I feel awful saying this, but I don't know who in my family would jump at the chance to have him. I am sure if I asked my brother and his wife, they would say "Yes". They are family people, they love us and the kids. And my brother's wife is in medical residency to be a pediatrician. Perfect for access to healthcare. But I can't bring myself to ask them. It's like I feel guilty asking them. That I would have somehow forced them into committing to it.

That leaves my sister, who lives with us, and is the twins' nanny three days a week. She loves them unconditionally. But she is 26, unmarried, trying to get into graduate school. It would be really hard for her to take on two little ones at this point in her life. I can't ask her. My husband has a brother. He is 29. And he lives with his girlfriend. But, they don't even want kids. Again, I am sure they'd say "Yes" if we asked them, too, but again, Drake complicates things.

Of course, our kids would come with money. They'd get all our savings, stock portfolio, estate, etc. But it's not going to be enough to pay for them until they are 18. And I don't know what it will cost to outfit Drake with things he may need.

I feel stuck and awful feeling like no one would want our beautiful kids. I guess nothing bad better happen to us.


Katy said...

I don't even know what to say. I suspect that most people wouldn't see Drake as a burden. I know that I personally have discovered that children with disabilities are wonderful and not as difficult as they may appear.

Anonymous said...

1st answer - We have been through the emotional struggle of 'what-if-something-happens-to-both-of-us' several times, the first when I was pregnant with the first, 1989. The prompting was what happened to my Hubby's younger siblings after both parents died. Horrifying (to us) because not plan was in place. My children were no less a concern even if they had no diagnosis.

2nd answer - do what is best for relieving yourself from the struggle of who to ask - as opposed to worrying about those other people who MIGHT become your children's parents.

3rd answer - Pick someone, make the paperwork, don't talk about it. Take your trip knowing you have made preparations in the low probability of your same-time incapacitation/deaths.

4th answer - Resolve this issue further when you get home, safely.

Enjoy your trip. Barbara

PS I vote for the pediatrician as next mother. Aunty nannie can support her and her brother, too. They will all miss you very much. - SEE - get out of this thought-cycle!

Ellen Seidman said...

It sounds like your brother and his wife would be the best choices, though I agree with Bird—I don't think your loved ones would view Drake as a burden, just as a child to love. We went through this when we did our wills, and we decided on my sister and then forgot to tell her for a few months. Ooopsie.