According to the Center for Family Policy and Research, .1% of the children in the US are without parents due to illness, death, disability, incarceration, or other problems. Because there is no government agency tracking the children that transition into a new legal guardianship after the loss of their parents, there is no clear data as to what part of that .1% is due to death.
While .1% may not seem like a very high percentage, it translates to about 72,501 children. Which is just too high for me. I am a Worried Wilma, Paranoid Patty, a Worst-case Whitney if you will. I don’t live in a bubble, and I try not to force it upon my children, but I do what is within my power to keep my mind at ease by being prepared. For example, I often wear my 2-year-old daughter because A. it’s easier than chasing her around and 2. because she’s always within arm’s reach of me and the alarming rates of kidnappings and children forced into trafficking scares the chocolate custard out of me.
After losing my father my junior year of high school, I was constantly worried about what would happen if I were to lose my mom as well. And while I was sure my parents had that sorted out, as parents we need to make sure our kids are set.
While driving to Greenville, sans kids, a few weekends back to celebrate our anniversary, the hubs and I were on a roll with adult conversation. I mean we talked nearly the whole drive without any break and most importantly without an interruption from a child demanding attention or declaring boredom. The range of topics we spoke about was as vague as the Grand Canyon is wide.
Eventually, I steered the conversation to our will – because what’s more romantic then talking about who gets all your things when you kick the bucket?! We joked about which unsuspecting victims we could will our debts to (that’s how that works right?). Who would get our recently purchased grill? Among many other important things.
Then I brought up our children, the real reason I wanted to have the conversation in the first place. Our three beautiful children. Because we are not religious, our children do not have godparents who were carefully chosen to take our place. We had put off this conversation of who would we trust with the responsibility of raising them if we were rendered unable to do so. Who would hold the same values we did? And most importantly, who would love them as their own?
It’s almost like we’re married or something, because we agreed in a matter of seconds what attributes we were thinking of;
- Loving. We aren’t talking about marriage here. We are talking about the ability to show love and affection appropriately to those in your life. We were not married when our oldest was born, and do not believe that marriage is a requirement for a happy or complete family.
- Stable. The ability to be reliable in a magnitude of areas.
- Drive. An inner fire that fuels you to do more, and do better. Be your best self.
- Shared values. From which road to take when teaching life lessons, to when it’s appropriate to bribe to get someone to sleep in heir own bed.
It took far too long for this conversation to happen in our house and I am able to put Worst-case Whitney to bed.