How do you choose who takes your kids in the event of the unthinkable?

Jun 18, 2008

I’ve mentioned on perhaps only a half million occasions, that I have a slight tendency to hypochondria. :: GASP :: I know! Right? Like you had NO IDEA I’d be this way.

It’s true.

So when I smacked my head on the kids’ bunk bed tonight, I immediately turn to Mr. Flinger (who turns 34 today) and ask, “Are my pupils ok?”

Because hi, that is the natural next question.

I spent the next two or three hours playing with my eyeballs in the bathroom mirror. :: click light on :: pupils contract! :: click light off :: pupils dilate!

So far, so good.

Then, for no reason what-so-ever that I can figure out, he asks what we’ll be doing with the children if anything was to, gulp, happen to us. “Why? Why are you asking that tonight of all nights?”

“Because I’m turning thirty-four and we need to have this figured out. We need a will.”

Now I’m obviously dying.

So we talk about it, where do they go? How do we decide? My parents in Texas? My Mom, who’s a preschool teacher and my Dad who’s a college dean/Professor seem like a great option in my head for our children to have the best chance at an education. Mr. Flinger, though, wants a more rural atmosphere for the kids to romp and play. So we argue. Around and around. “Then so-and-so would be upset we didn’t pick them and so-and-so would hate us for doing this..”

“Aren’t we dead? Why do they hate us if we’re dead? And who cares. It’s about the kids and what’s best for them.”

The following twenty minutes was an ugly conversation.

I have no idea how you decide these kinds of things. We used to have two dogs. We had to give them to a better home when we moved to our tiny tiny (tiny TINY) condo in Seattle. One went to my parents, the other went to my Aunt and Uncle.

Seems like if we can decide that with two dogs, kids shouldn’t be much harder, right?


Welcome to thirty-four, Babe. Start praying we never die soon.

- If you like this post you may, or may not, like the following hypochondria related posts -

What Do You Get When you Cross A Hypochondriac with An Engineer
Sleep Deprivation Won’t Kill you But Hypochondria Will
Have I Told You I’m A Hypochondriac? And This Can’t Be Good.
How to make me hate shopping (and that’s hard to do)

———- (The real joy here is to see how many ways I can mis-spell hypochondria over the years. I’ve counted seven so far… )————


  1. It’s a tough decision but you have to do it. Otherwise, the State will decide what happens to your kids if both of you die. Better you make some relative mad than let that happen. It was difficult for us too, thank goodness we made it until they were over 18. We decided on my brother because both our mothers were simply too old - we had our kids “late” as they say. But, do something, you can always change it.

    By Deborah on 2008 06 19

  2. Yeah - we did this. It’s not as bad as it feels from this side. We chose Leslie’s stepbrother and his wife. They have their third on the way, plan to homeschool, etc. etc. I’m not sure how to make it official or legally binding, though…a letter?

    By laura on 2008 06 19

  3. Yeah, we went through this.  I had to decide between my brother and my sister. 

    Brother:  VERY wealthy, great marriage, really great dad with sweet kids who want for nothing, VERY conservative and OVERBOARD RELIGOUS (would definitely “force” that on my kiddo). 

    Sister:  Wealthy, but maybe not so solidly so, fairly good marriage, but maybe not solidly so, free spirit, loving, accepting, two adorable kids, religious but would let my kiddo be whomever she wanted to be (would still push for church though).

    My sister had said from the start that she wanted to get B if anything happened to us, but I feared that her situation was not as stable as I would like.  So, I first opted for my bro, until his ultra-conservative religious brashness reared its ugly head.  I then went slinking to my sister and said “Okay, you were right, you are the obvious choice.”  She was very gracious (but never lets me forget how I betrayed her - ha!)

    I’d say go with your gut.  Go with someone that is close enough to you to know how YOU want your children to be raised and will give them every opportunity to grow into the person THEY need to be.  No matter what you do or whom you choose, someone will feel left out, but like Mr. Flinger said, you’ll be dead, so it won’t matter!

    IMHO, as always…  smile

    By Katie Kat on 2008 06 19

  4. Or you could do what we did.  Wait long enough to make the decision and they can go out on their own. 

    Okay, maybe you shouldn’t do that.

    By Ree on 2008 06 19

  5. We also struggling with this right now, bigtime.  Not fun conversations, to say the least.

    By Susan on 2008 06 19

  6. Omgoodness!That is a difficult subject to approach. Hubby and I have had the same ugly argument many times and still… no will! Ugh!

    Love the new design. For all I know it may be not-so-new, but I’ve been out of the blogging loop for awhile.

    By themommykelly on 2008 06 19

  7. So true.

    Scout and I don’t have any biological siblings. I would have chosen one of my (step) brothers but Scout doesn’t know him all that well. He wanted a pair of our friends but I don’t like their parenting style for our kid. We have friends who just got married to each other (my friend, his friend, met at our wedding) and they’ll take the little dictator should something happen.

    We had to come to terms with NO ONE would be perfect. And frankly we don’t want ANYONE to get their hands on our precious (my preeeeeesssshus), but we picked the best of the options and let it go.

    By Dawn on 2008 06 19

  8. Oh yes.

    This is my life right now.

    I never understood how people could put this off, until I became a parent, and four years later we’re still dealing with it. I went to a free seminar on this exact topic and while I still haven’t designated a guardian… there were a few points that really stuck.

    1) Sit down and write down a list of ten possible guardians. Question: who would do the job as well as you? Answer:  No One.
    The correct question: Who will raise them better than the state? answer: all of the people on your list.

    2) Choose who will most meet your kids needs based on your wishes for your kids future. Don’t feel bad about hurting feelings. You can put runner ups in case the 1st on your list is unable to do it for whatever reason.

    3) Designate a guardian (make sure you ask them first) and then have it in writing. If you don’t, and your family starts fighting over who will do it, your kids will be placed by the state (often to the state) until the legal battle is won, which could take years. Yikes!!!

    4) Have a temporary guardian designated. If something should happen to you and your husband while you are out, your kids have to go to someone once it’s determined you are not coming back. While your designated guardian is being assessed, you need someone assigned to care for them until all the legal issues have been dealt with.

    5) Make sure you have enough assets to cover their expenses. He advised a million dollar life insurance policy (could be split between you and your husband) which is pretty affordable when you’re young. You can designate how it will be used, but it should cover the costs of raising your children, the costs of additions to your guardians house so there’s room for your children, counseling (which is likely to be needed by your kids if they lost you both suddenly) and educational expenses. If something were to happen to only one of you, it will also give your spouse the means to get back on their feet, particulaly when your kids are young.

    Ugh! It’s a lot, but better to take care of it now so that you are, essentially still taking care of them if you are gone.

    By Zip n Tizzy on 2008 06 20

  9. We still haven’t figured this out yet…and we’re turning 37!  Yikes.

    By LifeAsIKnowIt on 2008 06 23

  10. Hello, I knew we were kindred spirits. Am SERIOUS hypochondriac myself. Just wrote all about my journey through anxiety and depression. Come and have a look see.

    By laurieofthesevenstories on 2008 06 23