Who’s Watching the Kids??


This couple isn't getting divorced. They're arguing over who should inherit their kids.

This couple isn’t getting divorced. They’re arguing over who should inherit their kids.

Being Jewish, the only Godmother I ever actually knew was obsessed with pumpkins, mice, the stroke of midnight, and pranced around singing Bippity Boppety Boo. However I saw a lot of my non-Jewish friends give careful consideration to selecting godparents when their babies were born. I breathed a sigh of relief that we wouldn’t have to choose anyone.

Fast forward to a time when we grasped our own mortality and hired an attorney to draw up our living trust. Interesting that it’s called a LIVING trust and yet they force you to think about DYING.

My husband thought we should choose his mother. And by “mother” I mean “the woman who took a razor to our newborn baby’s head so her hair would grow in thicker and then sought a wet nurse because she was convinced I couldn’t breastfeed properly.” My own mother (upon hearing the possibility that my mother-in-law was in the running) stormed into a fit of jealously just thinking about having to make an appointment to see her own grandchildren with someone who went out of her way to wear an all-white mother-of-the-groom dress at my wedding. “Who does she think she is? Snow White?” Clearly neither grandmother was a good choice.

We moved on to siblings. My husband and I both wrote down the qualifications we thought made our sisters outstanding candidates. Each list had the exact same number of positive attributes, which got us nowhere. At my suggestion, we next jotted down both ladies’ faults so we could pick the lesser of the two evils. (Hi Sis….I love you!)

My Sister

  • Still eats Capt. Crunch cereal.
  • Wears nylons.
  • Wears open-toe heels with those nylons.
  • Saw Star Wars 23 times.

His Sister

  • Shaves her head.
  • Became a wet nurse.
  • Wears white to compete with brides at their wedding.

Hmmmm, understand our dilemma? Also understand his genetics?

Seeing as there wasn’t anyone waving their arms madly while shouting, “pick me, pick me!” we began to weed through our friends. It soon became apparent we were going to need to offer really good “incentives.” That’s a nice way of saying our kids were so bratty, it required bribing our mere acquaintances to please accept this profound responsibility. Even my beautician asked if we’d throw in a lifetime supply of latex gloves along with inheriting our 5-bedroom home? Apparently henna stains are unsightly. I consoled myself thinking my daughter would have perfectly manicured nails for her Bat Mitzvah.

What was happening? This was crazy thinking! What were the odds that something bad would happen to both of us at the same time? We could board separate airplanes. He hates to fly with me anyhow because I leave deep fingernail grooves (the non-manicured kind!) in his arms during scary turbulence.

It was settled. We wouldn’t choose legal guardians because the plan is to live forever. As an extra measure of security however, I have an idea. I’ll buy our daughter a red curly wig and teach her to belt out, “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!”

Surely Daddy Warbucks doesn’t wear nylons, isn’t a wet-nurse and won’t need a pay-off.

How did you choose guardians in case something happens to you??

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35 thoughts on “Who’s Watching the Kids??

  1. Pingback: My Picks Of The Week #29 | A Momma's View

  2. I do remember going though the process and it was quite a process. The tug of war between who you would trust to take guardianship and who would actually take them. That is often an narrow field of options. Now that they are older it has not gotten any easier although the friend with Alzheimers has agreed even though she doesn’t remember their names. So, if I die I have left in charge the family dog. Asked the neighbor to feed the dog since the kids may forget and then put the utilities on auto pay.

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  3. At one point in my life, I had 4 goddaughters. I had to stand up in church and vow to see them raised rightly, then the parents divorced and moved away and I lost contact with 2 of them, leaving me filled with existential guilt. I’ve also been named as the guardian on trusts . . . only to be fired from one when I divorced–(“we really wanted them to have a family and since you finally left that rotter, we don’t feel you’re appropriate anymore.”) I’m happy to say my other 2 goddaughters are wonderful young women whom I adore.

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  4. I’m so glad I’m past this particular situation. When the kids were little I kept hoping for the next stage to relieve the worry. Similar to one of your other commenters I did the living will thing and very nice insurance policy and the plan was their uncle would take them in the even of… um, well, you know.

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  5. We did the godparents thing and chose friends (some older than ourselves if that makes any sense) knowing that if anything happened it would really be family who stepped in. One person I asked declined because she didn’t want the responsibility “just in case”. I think she just didn’t want to have to remember any additional birthdays.

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  6. Oh yes.. We’re still deciding who should get the child in the event of us dying together…. But there’s more.. He comes with a free set of steak knives… So vegetarians are out.. We’ll just travel separately also to avoid this decision making process… Funny you are as usual.

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  7. Ugh. Ours has changed three times. Our kids are now set with going to a couple married as long as we have been, and who are most like us. In a couple of years, we expect to change it to our oldest, who is nearing completion at university. Ultimately, we hope we don’t die before the youngest is grown.

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    • Hi! That’s so weird that your comment needed approving?? You’ve left many comments here before? Anyhow, I hear you on making the eldest siblings in charge – – there’s nothing like hoping your own kids picked up the nuances of the household and can carry them on. But your last sentence is agreed on by both of us!!

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  8. Funny Post. I’m not going to bother with a living will, because I’m sure whatever i request in my living will, the living won’t. 🙂

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  9. Luckily, my kids are old enough now (my youngest one, barely) that my worrying days are (mostly) over. But I remember well the feelings and discussions you write about. I think I picked my mom and her husband (who were great grandparents, lived near by, and knew my children very well) and when they got too old to be viable, I chose one of my brothers. The decision is fraught with intense emotion – since we are indeed considering our own deaths – that thinking clearly is tough, and choosing the right person – they are all wrong anyway, because they aren’t us – is ridiculous. We must choose, since the possibility of this reality is apparent – but the choosing alone can kill us!

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    • oh Wendy – – your last sentence, no truer words! How’s the book going? I didn’t hear anything about the time I was in NYC (wow, almost two months ago now) so I presumed you didn’t have any signings happening. Hope sales are strong! Thanks for commenting.

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      • I had a book launch party (went great) and just had an author signing event at Barnes & Noble (sold out!) Book sales are going quite well. End of July going to IWWG conference. Can’t wait.

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  10. We’ve chosen godparents but I have to say that Our relationship changed over the years and they’re not really the people I’d like to look after our kids anymore. However, we developed a new and deep relationship with a family we all love and we eventually approached them and they would be happy to look after our kids if anything would happen to us. And vice versa. Having said that: If I understood it correctly it’s not that easy. The law doesn’t really adopt the godparents idea and blood might come before trust. So have to really make sure it’s well approved by a lawyer.

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  11. We chose my husband’s brother and his wife, as they had two children who my son loves to visit, even if we only visit about once or twice a year and they seemed to be good parents. But my son is now 17 and will be 18 shortly, so looks unnecessary, which is preferred.

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  12. We decided on my sister because she didn’t want any kids of her own at the time and his sister already had three. Had we ‘bought the farm’ early she’d have been left with 7 under the age of 7. My sister did go on to have 2. Then we had a reciprocal will and a huge life insurance policy just in case. Thankfully everyone can take care of themselves now.Whew!

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  13. Decisions! Decisions!
    It took some time but after a jolly holiday at a place called Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (I kid you not!) I settled down to ponder the problem. It was while I was flying a kite while singing, ‘Chim, Chim Cheree,’ (I personally think Bippity, Boppity Boo beats it by a mile) that it came to me. The perfect nanny, er … Godmother …. would be none other than Mary Poppins of course! The kids would have to endure a spoonful of sugar as a nightly routine but oy vey, beggars can’t be choosers.

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    • Wendy! Your comment is so timely! So….. “Step in time!” Very funny that you wrote all that because my eldest daughter was just in a local production of Mary Poppins and Spit Spot, it was “practically perfect” just like you!
      Miss you,
      Steph

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  14. We were totally irresponsible parents and thank goodness my baby will be 20 soon. (Out of 6 godparents I think only one ended up being someone I would have wanted to raise my kids!!!)

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  15. I actually recently did the whole will thing recently. I think it was just a natural process of husband, mother, sister. Of course we didn’t ask any of them beforehand if it would be okay. I think that’s the trick Stephanie!

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