Posts Tagged ‘trust’

The who-gets-your-kid convo that some people have at Thanksgiving.

March 26, 2013

I was sucked in to a particularly ….oh, I can’t think of the right adjective. That one word that will hang, shining and bright, symbolic of the emotions I want to portray. So let’s keep it simple. Let’s just say I was involved in a conversation yesterday.

The main players were myself, Mil, Bil/Sil, and HippyFamily…even though only Mil and I were actually there. I’ll leave out the main jist of the judgemental craziness for another post and focus on this point: who are you trusting to raise your children should you and your partner both die?

Not a pleasant thing to think about, but necessary. TMD and I were particularly worried about the safety and safeguarding of our own unique family configuration, and therefore had an explicit and detailed will – one for each of us – drawn up when I was pregnant.

Bil and Sil have chosen to leave their children in the care of HippyFamily. As far as I know, that has not changed. HippyFamily were selected because of ‘how we parent very similarly to them.’ Meaning, when our first niece was a newborn, they wore her in a sling….and HippyFamily introduced them to slings. Obviously it’s a bit more complex than that, but we can safely say the two families, in addition to being good friends, were united in their love of attachment parenting.

Roll on four years and their parenting philosophies really could not be more different. We are very similar to HippyFamily. In a nutshell, they are still attachment parenting, and they are unschooling. Just like us. Whereas Bil and Sil put their kids in nursery/had a nanny from the start, are often out of the country and away from the kids, and are pushing a very competitive, academic based lifestyle. Fine. To each their own.

But the conversation was Mil saying, ‘Yes, but if Bil and Sil died, HippyFamily would have to raise the children as Bil and Sil have been doing, wouldn’t they? I know we are too old, but if you left Snort and Coconut to us, we would do our best to make sure we raised them to the letter the exact same way you were raising them.’

All obvious comments about how it would be impossible to raise a child exactly the same as another person, I don’t know that I agreed with her.

I throw my hands up and wholeheartedly admit I am in the same camp of thought as HippyFamily – we choose to raise our kids similarly, which is very different from Bil/Sil. And perhaps that clouds my opinion and influences me more than I realise. I don’t know.

But I sort of think if you want your child to be happy, if you want them to be raised as one of the family, then there is a lot of give and take required. The lifestyle my nieces have and will continue to have is dramatically incompatible with HippyFamily. I don’t even know if they could mesh.

I believe that a parent has a responsibility to pick someone you trust to raise the children. Not someone that has to follow an exact script you leave behind (and I don’t know about Sil and Bil’s beliefs on this, so from here on out it’s all me), but someone you know will do the best they can. For us, that meant choosing someone with a similar outlook on life, that we KNOW will do her best even if she may not make the same choices as us.

Would I like Snort and Coconut to remain out of the school system? Obviously, yes. But more than that, I would want them to be with their aunt, who is fun, passionate, smart, and loving. She would offer them a different life than the one they would have with us, but let’s face it – if Snort and Coco had a life without us, it would always be different than it would have been.

So who has to adapt? Does the new family and caregivers have to change their way of life to incorporate a new child or two (though of course you can always choose a guardian who IS very similar to you, and have discussions about these things just in case)? Does the child have to ‘fit in’ with the new family? In the best of all possible worlds, all people involved would live and love together and make the situation work. Because, quite frankly, they have to.

And I stand firm by the choice we have made, by the beliefs that led us to make the choice. While we are here with our children, we make the decisions we make because we believe they are best for our family. And one of those decisions is who we trust with the monumental task of raising our children should the worst happen. We have to trust that once our children are in someone else’s care, that person will make decisions they believe are best for our children as well.

I hope all these thoughts stay hypothetical for all of us with children.

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Things you SHOULD say.

November 2, 2012

I’m so sorry.
I feel so bad that this has happened.

Any variation of the above is an acceptable thing to say when you have been watching my child and she gets hurt badly enough to need a fucking cast.

She got hurt at gymnastics. I can’t place blame because I wasn’t there, and I suppose it could have happened if I had gone with her, too. But the minimalising it? Not okay.

I looked at her arm, squeezed her wrist a bit. Said if she was still upset in an hour to call me, as we would need to go to the doctor. It didn’t matter that I was in pain, a trip to the doctor with coconut trumps my pain.

I got no call. I blame myself for not checking in, but also sort of assumed things were fine. Till you called three hours later and said my kid had been crying the whole time. For that I do place blame. I heard her sobs in the background and said to bring my kids home, that I would call the doctor. You brought them, helped me take them to the doctor. But you weren’t worried, you didn’t apologise, you acted like she was making the whole thing up.

The doctor said she needed to go to hospital for an x ray. You went with your daughter, my wife, and I sit here now while your husband attempts to put Snort to bed in the midst of fireworks exploding every two minutes.

Coconut needs a cast. She has a bend rather than a break, but she needs a cast. How many hours was she in pain without needing to be? How rough were you with getting her in and out of the car, her carseat restraints, that I did it myself at the doctor’s rather than seeing her cry again?

I feel guilty for not calling. For not insisting she stay with me. But at least she is getting her wrist/arm sorted now, though she’ll be tired and probably scared and definitely missing gym for a few weeks.

I’ll tell you something else, though. I wish TMD had taken the camera to the hospital. Surely this is a moment that could be classed as a milestone. The cast, not the fact that I am going to have to think more carefully about trust and what it means in relation to someone responsible for my kids.