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What If You Weren’t Around?

Our daughter had a college savings account before she had a birth certificate.

My husband and I are planners. He had our retirement mapped out before he proposed to me. When we found out that we were going to have a baby, we planned for all of our little one’s immediate and long-term needs.

Except one.

What would happen to our daughter (and any future children we may have) if something happened to the two of us?

Figuring out the financial side of estate planning was easy. Negotiating who would raise our peanut if we couldn’t was 18 months worth of hard.

How do you go about choosing your own replacements for raising your child? Just the thought of not being able to watch my little girl grow up is terrifying. The only thing that is more terrifying is not knowing what would happen to her if we didn’t put a plan in place for her.

Who would hug her and tell her a million times a day she is loved? Who would sing Snuggle Puppy to her with extra long oooooooos? Who would eventually tame her half curly, half straight hair?

Making a Plan

First, my husband and I both had to embrace the fact that there was not going to be a perfect choice. No one was going to raise her the same way we would. Instead of getting hung up on perfect, we focused on the best possible scenario for our daughter. We narrowed in on three key criteria: 1. People who would love her unconditionally, 2. People whose priority would be to raise a kind and productive member of society, and 3. People who would have an abundance of support from other family and friends.

  1. Unconditional love – Unconditional love for our girl was our highest priority because if she were in a position where her parents weren’t around, she would need people who would absolutely do their best for her and guide her through the trauma of losing her mom and dad. She would need people who were invested in her simply because they loved her.
  2. Equipping her for the future – Equipping our daughter to be a productive member of society was also important to us. We would want her to be with a family that believes in education, hard work, kindness, and independence. We would want her to be set up to launch into the world, not sink because the loss of her parents and subsequent setbacks were too much to overcome.
  3. An abundance of support – My dad recently died after an all-too-brief battle with cancer. Losing my loving, healthy, active, amazing father way too early was only bearable because we have been surrounded by incredible love and support from family and friends. If our daughter lost us, we would want whoever is raising her to have a deep and wide support network of family and friends not only to support her caregiver but also support her. In the best of circumstances, it is impossible to be loved too much. Love is what makes the worst circumstances survivable.

If you haven’t done so already, I would encourage you to think about this tough subject. Invest in the hard work and time to determine who would step in. Think about who would make an unthinkable situation okay for your children.

Wake-Up Call

It took my dad’s death for my husband and me to refine what was most important to us if we couldn’t raise our daughter.

That sad event also made clear that we needed to get our plan in order just in case. Planning for the worst is a horrible, gut-wrenching thing to do. Having to agree on the details with your significant other makes it even harder. It took us countless conversations about what was most important for both of us and figuring out who fit as many of our top criteria as possible.

Of all of the planning we have done for our family, this is arguably the most important.

Knowing that we have a plan for our daughter, and her potential guardians have agreed to love and raise her if the worst happens, allows us to focus on truly living as a family without the cloud of “what if” hanging over us.

If you haven’t done so already, I would encourage you to think about this tough subject. Invest in the hard work and time to determine who would step in. Think about who would make an unthinkable situation okay for your children.

In the meantime, do your best to enjoy every sticky kiss, every eye-roll, and every sweaty hug.

Have you made a plan for the unthinkable? If not, what's stopping you? Consider starting it today!

Contributing Sister Site and Author

JennyBishop
About {Jenny}

Jenny grew up in South Dakota, right by Mt. Rushmore, but is now firmly rooted in Colorado Springs with her husband, their baby daughter, Clara, and their dog, Milo. She works in water engineering/water law and helps to ensure Colorado Springs residents have water for the next fifty years. She’s trying to figure out what life looks like with the addition of a little one, but remembers loving to linger over good food with family and friends, making jewelry, playing piano and reading. Most of all she loves being helpful and hopes that by contributing to Colorado Springs Moms Blog she can encourage others.

 

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