There are those moments, as a parent, when something happens and it stops you cold in your tracks and makes you go “hmmm.” Let me explain with one that happened to me, as I was recently reminded in a conversation with lovely clients of mine…
When my oldest daughter was barely two years old and my middle daughter was a newborn, we were still settling into our new house. It’s about a hundred year old house with some narrow, wooden stairs. My husband was at work and it was just past lunch and time for the then-baby’s nap. I surveyed the Pack ‘n’Play carefully for anything small or chokable, then deposited the then-two-year-old there to play safely with non-chokable toys long enough for me to get her baby sister down for a nap. Now any mom who’s ever “been there” knows that it is impossible with “two under two” to relax under those circumstances, worrying about the “big” one while you’re trying to get the “little” one settled down. So I felt rushed and anxious to get back downstairs to check on my “big” girl.
Not wanting to waste an opportunity of going down the stairs without a baby in my arms or standing ready to catch a toddling toddler, I quickly grabbed a laundry basket and started down the stairs. It happened so fast; I was semi-flying through the air from about 3/4 of the way up and then landed flat on my back at the bottom of the stairs, winded. As I lay there catching my breath completely stunned, my first thought was: who would know to come check on and take care of my babies? I was comforted by the thought that one was pretty safely contained in the Pack ‘n’ Play and the other in her crib. But my husband wouldn’t be home for hours and I couldn’t even reach a phone. And then even when someone would come find me lying there, then what? What would happen to me? Who would take care of my babies if my husband was with me to speak for me if I couldn’t? Fortunately, I was OK. But the experience made me wonder.
I have rolled my experiences as a mom into my legal practice. That means when I make sure a parent does everything legally possibly to protect her children in the case of an accident, I don’t stop there. I also try to address all the practical needs. Today, I’m comforted by the steps I’ve taken (no pun intended) personally to ensure that, in the event of an accident, the people my children and I know and trust and love will be the ones to respond and care for them if I’m unable. My five-year-old can dial 9-1-1 (even better than that time she did so as a baby playing with the phone so she’d hold still while I changed her little diaper!) and from there, everything’s in place. My clients who are parents of minor children are often pleasantly surprised at the level of detail involved in the planning we do for their children. I have to admit, these are the pieces of the estate planning puzzle I most enjoy.
I love babies and children (always have!) and like most others, that has only intensified since I became a mother myself. I have definitely felt truth in that saying that a new mother becomes a mother to the world and every child becomes her child. So I try not to go overboard talking about this stuff with friends socially (I don’t want to be too much of a buzz kill!) but I really believe that it’s incumbent upon me, knowing what I do, to share that information with others to help them do everything they can for their children too. If you want to know whether you’ve done all you can, I invite you to start by downloading my free report “10 Upsetting Mistakes Even The Most Loving Parents Make That Could Leave Their Children Legally And Financially Vulnerable.” (Yep, just click that underlined link right there.) Everyone on my team here at DGVE law is a mom too. We get it. So after you read that, if you’re in Massachusetts and want to talk about your kids some more, just give us a call!