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Friday, November 13, 2009

The Great Beyond

Enjoying some beautiful, Florida winter weather yesterday led to a deep gratitude and wonder about the ridiculously amazing fact I am here at all, and then, naturally, to thoughts of impermanence.

I'm impermanent. I'm okay with that. I feel very fortunate to have had a turn on this planet in spite of the enormous odds against it ever happening and am enjoying the ride as much as possible during this blink-of-an-eye existence.

But who will take care of my kids when I'm gone?

Jorge and I have discussed it in the past: The older of my two brothers has been at the top of our list for years, but now, after remarrying, he and his wife have five daughters between them. Three more would be tough, though they all get along famously. We used to think Jorge's brother would be a solid choice, able to keep them in familiar surroundings, financially secure and able to wisely manage any possible assets on behalf of the girls, but he and his wife are several years older and busy with grandchildren now. My cousin, who is a lot like me with a sicker sense of humor, and her husband, Nature Boy, would be great influences. Adding three more occupants to their home would be challenging, but the possibility of finally having a house in Florida might persuade them.*

Physically, any of the above choices would suffice, but what about spiritually? Who would model morality without religion, without a god? Who would encourage them to challenge authority and blind faith, to be free and critical thinkers? Who would promote the ideas and practices of the four noble truths?

Have you dealt with this? Does it matter?

*We've never actually gotten around to asking any of them, so this may be the first they're hearing of it. Surprise!


Maureen said...

I'm sure my sister and Nature Boy would be shocked to know they are in the running.... I'll have to clue her in.

Meg_L said...

I've actually had this from the other side. (with our kids being 15 and 19, I'm not very concerned about it anymore.)

BUT, Hubby and I are to be the guardians of his sister's kids if anything happens to her.

(Hubby has been an atheist since he was about 14 and he's 9 years older than his sister.)

She OTH, has become more and more religious over the last half dozen years and now is wondering if she wants us caring for her kids.

And this is feeling rather weird to us since she very well knew what we were when she asked.

As for your kids, I'd leave very clear instructions that you want them to be continued to be raised the way they have been, and hope for the best....

of change their guardianship to family friends instead of siblings.

Good luck, it's a hard call.

Becky said...

We've dealt with this, because we think it DOES matter, though as the last poster mentioned, it matters less, thank goodness, with each passing year.

And we've made three different choices, depending on the kids' ages and our friends. One set of friends were so obviously enjoying their "freedom" and hands-off approach as their own kids got older (though not too much older than ours). But I'm thinking, and hoping, that third time's the charm. Though not as much as I hope things never come to that...

Carolyn said...

OOOOOHHHHH, YEAH!!! Will I get your house,too? I'm IN... and actually slightly flattered. More excited about home ownership in Florida, but flattered, nontheless. Oh yeah, I'll take care of the kids, too.

JJ Ross said...

Been there, still doing that! SO glad you posted about it, because it's the first time I've seen it done . . .

Maybe this is something we (however loosely defined) should think more about as a group need we have in common too, write up some stories and recommendations? It might make a good group blog if somebody wants to start one and sign us up, or how about a dedicated resource section in Dale's new Foundation Beyond Belief parent forums?

Important stuff.

L said...

Hi JJ,

I put up an item over on the Parenting Beyond Belief forums yesterday under "Guardianship." I'd love to see a bigger discussion on this topic.


JJ Ross said...

Should have known you'd be on top of it, excellent!

willson said...
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