Like her, I’m a compulsive worrier, always trying not to step on the cracks between my thoughts in case they come true.
‘What if K gets mown down by a truck while driving home on the highway? What if someone abducts one of the kids the split-second I look away? What if our house is consumed by a fireball while I pop out for milk, and I lose the people I care most about in the world in one fell blow?’
Kirsty’s family is an expat travelling circus like us (though they’re by far the classier crew – Cirque du Soleil to our Zippo’s) and she’s taking steps to make sure her kids know how to contact family back home if anything happens to her and G. Here are a few of the questions she’s considering:
- ‘Who will fly in to collect the children if something happens to you and your partner?
- Do you legally have something in place for that to occur?
- How will they get home?
- Does the office know what the plan is?
- Do the children know who to call in case of emergency?
- Do your children know Granny’s number?’
She made me realize I don’t have answers to ANY of these and this got me thinking again about writing a will and how the pressure to be prepared increases when you take your family abroad. K & I tidied up our legal affairs some time ago but one thing keeps stopping us completing our last will and testament: who to put down as legal guardians of our children in the event of our death. Do we ask my parents who made my life a misery growing up, my sisters who weren’t even interested in meeting their nieces and nephew, or K’s family who are trying to seize our house for themselves while we’re overseas?
What are the chances of a pair of TCK’s (Third Culture Kids – born in one country, raised in another, living in another) from equally dysfunctional families getting married and having babies? Whatever the odds, the upshot is that we don’t have strong, stable roots anywhere that translate into a reliable alternative source of care for our children. And while we make new friends as we go along, it’s not the kind of thing you bring up in the first decade of a relationship;
“ You take your tea with one sugar don’t you, and how do you feel about having my kids if I die?”
We’re a literal illustration of the global nomad – look it up in the dictionary and there’s our family photo next to the definition – rootless, unrestrained by relationship ties, a tiny nuclear family life raft bobbing on the wide, open sea of the world.
I’ve tried to find an answer but I’ve come to the conclusion there just isn’t one in our case, so wherever I go, whatever I do, this thought haunts the back of my mind – “I must keep myself in one piece until the children are eighteen.” After that, I’m free to fall apart!
Do you have special circumstances that prevent you from meeting all the requirements of a proper ‘grown-up’? What rules are you flouting? Surely we’re not the only ones who just don’t ‘fit’ the general template or never thought to consider this before the birth…