I recently had a will drawn up. Making a will was something I always thought I’d do “one day” when I was “an adult” and had “adult things.” Like a husband and children and assets. Welp, one out of three ain’t bad! But being the Planner that I am, I had my badass lawyers (I have lawyers! Another adult milestone.) draw up the paperwork. And then there were the decisions that had to be made.
Who got my stuff? (HA HA HA JOKE’S ON YOU I HAVE NO STUFF!) How and when would it be distributed? If my brain was somehow turned into scrambled eggs, how long should I be kept on life support? All of these questions were relatively simple for me to answer. And then came the big one.
If I die, who gets Kiddo?
It was something I hadn’t really thought of before.
Leaving your stuff to people was one thing. Who would best be suited to inherit the six generation of family photos I’ve organized? Who would want my amazing shoes? Who would most appreciate my collection of CDs alphabetically-arranged in their 90’s CD towers AND PROMISE NEVER TO SELL THEM TO DISC REPLAY? Who would take care of my three dumb fire-bellied toads?
That stuff was easy enough, mostly because in all honestly I really don’t care. Box up the photos, throw out the shoes and I was lying about having the CDs (who still has CDs?). But choosing who should raise your child in the case of your untimely death is a whole other bag of meat.
Who would be best? And who would even agree to do it if asked? And who should be passed over? And who would be offended if they weren’t asked?
This isn’t like choosing a Maid of Honor at your wedding. Worrying about offending someone cannot come into consideration here. That decision eliminated a few people from my Maybe List right off the bat. I mean, I love you and all, but you and I both know just no.
But what if no one agrees? What if after countless hours of weighing the pros and cons of each individual person in my life and narrowing it down to The One, they say “Yeah, thanks, but um. No way.” Should I just find a tough, cold careerwoman long-lost cousin and let her find out via late-night phone call that she’s inherited a baby? A la Diane Keaton in 1987’s Baby Boom?
And then her equally tough, cold businessman husband, Harold Ramis, will be all, “J.C., I love you but I didn’t sign up for this,” and then leave her? And then (spoiler alert) after a series of hilarious misunderstandings and struggles, she and Kiddo will move to the country and start a small business selling the baby food applesauce she makes herself from fresh ingredients? That doesn’t sound so bad, right?
Ok, this is kind of unrelated, but check out the official movie poster for the Spanish version of Baby Boom:
I love how movie titles totally change when marketed for another country. Here, “Baby Boom” becomes “Baby, You Are Worth So Much.” I’m guessing because they didn’t really have a post WWII baby boom in Latin America, so the title just doesn’t hold the same dazzle factor. And they really softened up Diane Keaton with that dress instead of that power suit. FASCINATING.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. So how do you decide who gets your kid?
I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to raise my daughter. What I’ll teach her about religion. And family. And love. And sex! And tell her all about her great-grandparents. And how to cook the few things I can cook. How to throw a softball and a good punch. And not to let anyone tell you that Red Lobster or Disney World aren’t awesome because THEY ARE. And how to speak Spanish like a Paraguayan campesino and how to be a female in this world and how to travel light and how, above all, how to not take life too seriously. But as much as I would want her to be raised exactly as I would raise her myself, I realize that it’s not as important as the basics. That she would be loved and taken care of in a stable environment. And really, that’s about all anyone needs.
In the end, the choice was pretty clear. I asked. And they agreed without hesitation, as I knew they would.
Now I just have to work on that not-dying part.
Images courtesy of: imdb.com/title/tt0092605/ and 3linesabout.blogspot.com/2009/12/baby-boom-1987.html.