Knock on Wood

The Next Family

By: Amy Wise

So the other day I was at Starbucks with a friend of mine.  I call her my “Starbucks Homie” because that is the only place we ever see each other.  Ever.  We get together about once a month and sit there for hours, and I mean hours, catching up on all that happened in our lives the previous month. As always, some pretty intense subjects come up.  At some point in the conversation she was telling me about a friend of hers who had been ill and had recently passed away.  This friend, unfortunately, did not leave a will.  Long story short, it’s going to be a mess because there is an ex wife, a new wife, children, property, and so on.  After she finished her story about her friend, we started talking about our own wills, or actually lack thereof.  Neither of us were concerned about the “stuff”; our only concern was our kids.  God forbid, what if something happened to both parents and there were no will?  Who would take care of the kids?  It’s funny because we had similar concerns but also very different concerns.  My friend and her hubby are both white and of course Jamie and I are white and black.  One of my main concerns was that if anything (knock on wood) were to happen to both Jamie and me, I wouldn’t want Tatiana to be raised in “white bread anywhere”.  All of my relatives happen to live in “white bread everywhere”.  So automatically (unless they moved to So Cal)…they are out.  Then there is Jamie’s family: the opposite of “white bread everywhere”.  What happens to her white side?   Do you see my conundrum?   So now that she is 16 and graduating a year early from high school, this isn’t such an issue…knocking on more wood…but through the years it was a worry.  Mind you…we love all of our family members, but there is nobody that would be just right.  Maybe I’m putting too much thought into this, but I want her to always live both sides of her “coin”.  We determined through much thought and many discussions that if anything had happened to both of us we would have had one of our interracial couple friends raise her.  There are many reasons for that choice.  The first one being that she would still live here and go to her own school.  The second is, these people are like family to us. The third –she would get the cultural mix that is so important to us and to her.   Lastly, she would not have to move away from all she knew.  That is huge. Because so many of our friends are like family to us, this doesn’t seem strange at all.  What’s right for one family might not be for the other.  We have never fit into any kind of mold so it’s normal for us to think out of the box.  It’s weird writing about these things; in fact, it kind of freaks me out.  Thankfully Tatiana is almost grown and we don’t really have to worry about this anymore, because truly, how do you ever decide who is going to raise your child? Now I’m off to go knock on some more wood, big time!

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