Need Some Parenting Perspective? Write Your Will.
I recently booked a spontaneous trip to Hawaii to celebrate six consecutive kid-free days.
Now as we parents know, six consecutive kid-free days is kind of like a Hawaiian vacation without the actual Hawaii part.
A quiet house. A warm meal.
You’re probably thinking that I should just pop some ukelele music on, throw back a few mai tais, and save myself some cash.
But considering I haven’t had so many days a row without children involved since I started procreating ten years ago, I figured I owed it to my former self to get my ass to one of my favorite places on Earth.
Plus it meant I got to shop for a new bathing suit, and cool hiking-slash-water shoes.
And write my will.
I realize that it’s pretty preposterous that I didn’t actually have a will before this very moment in time. More like stupid. (It’s okay, I can handle it). Which is not to say that if you don’t have a will and you have children that you are stupid, but please stop reading this and go do it right now.
I’m sure there was the fear of dying, then denial of the fear of dying, then the struggle with just trying to make it through the day alive that I couldn’t think about my fear of dying and the denial of it that factored into me not having a will when I was married.
But now, especially that I’m by myself, and about to head out on an actual vacation that involves long plane rides and beaches even though I probably have a much higher chance of dying just driving to the store every day, well there’s just absolutely no excuse.
I understood that drafting my last will and testament would involve having to decide who would care for my children in the event of my death, which was something I had thought about for many years and was, quite frankly, a relief getting it out of my head and on a notarized piece of paper. Somehow seeing that while I knew my ex would pretty much have to get them if I died, being able to say that if he predeceased me that they would be fought for by my beloved SFAM (aka sister from another mother) gave me peace.
But what I had failed to remember (ah, fear and denial) was that I could specify the details of the burial (or my cremation with ashes spread at my favorite beach) and the memorial service (or my kickass party with lots of carrot cake).
And that I could make any special requests, of my children no doubt, because why wouldn’t I take the opportunity to boss them around a bit even from the grave. Or really, take a moment to remind them of how lucky we were to have each other. How lucky they are to have each other.
There’s nothing like writing about your own death to give you a huge dose of perspective.
At the end of my will I’ve asked that they promise to get together at least once a year, have a few drinks, and read all the stories I wrote about them on my blog when they were little.
I’d force them to be friends and take care of each other too, but I’m hoping they’ll just do that because I’ve raised them well. Also, I remind them of it every day so at some point it’s got to sink in.
As hard as it is now for us to pull our heads up from the phone and computer and the other 400 myriad things that sometimes require and other times entice our attention, having them with us, all together, snuggled up in their beds, chasing each other through the house with their underwear at their ankles, or even screaming at each other in the car (okay, maybe not that last one), is a parent’s greatest joy.
Well, it’s mine, anyway.
It is my heart, it is my soul.
And I truly believe that when they are together, I am with them.
Now in body. Always in spirit.