This morning I laid awake at 4 am, thinking about what would happen to my kids if something happened to me and the Mister.
A few years ago, the Mister and I bought a new car. The salesman was a personable, chatty little guy, and about halfway through our protracted negotations, his family stopped by the dealership. There was his wife, two boys of about 10 and 12, and a little girl, about 6. The little girl was very cute and talkative, and I chatted with her for a bit. I remember saying something along the lines of "oh, your daddy gave you money for soda, how nice!" or something like that.
The next day we went back to the dealer to pick up the car, and while we were waiting the salesman told me that the little girl was actually his niece. That night when he got home, the little girl had said to him "I wish you were my real daddy." Then he told us how his sister, the girl's mom, was on drugs and in jail, her real daddy was also and addict and had died, and that DYFS was pushing him to adopt the little girl permanently.
However, he and his wife were unsure they wanted to adopt the little girl, because his boys didn't want to share a room or their mother, and the little girl had been sleeping on a cot at the end of their bed for the past six months, and they were thinking of relinquishing her to foster care.
Had I heard this tale of woe 24 hours earlier I would NOT have bought a car from this douchebag.
When we left, the Mister and I agreed that we don't care how many dozens of children our siblings have, there will always be a place for them in our home. I've thought of that little girl over the years, now and again, wondering if they gave her up, wondering if she's been living with them for the past 7 years knowing that she isn't wanted by anyone. Wondering if his two boys have absorbed the lesson that family is disposable, that being selfish gets you your own bedroom.
Its highly unlikely that anything like that would happen to my kids; the Mister and I have four siblings between us, and no matter who took in my kids, they would not only have food and shelter, but also be loved and cherished. And that's what keeps you up at night, right? Not that your child will be foraging for dinner in a garbage can, but that somebody will love them.
What brought all this on, you ask? Why am I worrying about my kids being loved after I'm gone?
I stumbled across this blog called The Aftermath of Rainbows and Unicorns. Its written by Sam, a girl who lost her mother and brother in 9/11. I think she was about 9, and her younger sisters were about 6 and 4. She started her blog when she was fifteen, at the behest of her therapist, who appears to be the only adult in her life that gives a damn. At first its written as a diary of sorts, in the form of letters to her mother.
She and her two sisters live with her crazy Aunt Elaine, who provides a roof over their heads but not much else. Aunt Elaine actually sounds like she is in the grip of a clinical depression, but even so, Aunt Elaine is not much of a nurturer. Sam is the cook, maid, and de facto parent of her sisters. Signing homework, taking the little ones to afterschool activities, cooking dinner....these are all activities that Aunt Elaine says are Sam's problem. The three girls share two beds, and Aunt Elaine doesn't even buy new beds when the old ones break.
Reading this blog is....well, I'm riveted. Its such compelling reading. She's a fifteen year old kid who has to be an adult. And she makes good choices, even though all of her choices are difficult ones. Not to spoil the story, but she seems to have been gotten away from Aunt Elaine (I haven't reached the middle yet), and is now 18-ish(?) and raising her two sisters on her own. She is smart, resourceful, strong, insightful, and pissed at the world.
I started reading about two weeks ago, so I've been reading her more recent stuff, but last night I started reading the archives, starting at the very beginning. One thing she says that made me tear up (I'm paraphrasing here) was that doing anything fun takes a car, an adult, money and time, and they don't have any of those. The thing thing that made me weep? Another family offers to take her and her sisters out to a movie, and she wants to stay behind at their house with their kitten, alone, all by herself for a few hours, and not be responsible for anyone else.
So yeah, that's why my brain was worrying about who will love my kids at 4 am.
Its an amazing read. Start at the beginning here, or the current day here.