For anyone who knows me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise: I love my job. Really. I love estate planning. I take a lot of satisfaction in learning about my clients’ families and helping them plan for the future they want to build. At a time when we reflect on the people we love the most, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the special love that comes with caring for a child, and the planning you’ll need to ensure that your child has the opportunity to thrive in the event that you cannot care for them.
You love seeing them thrive
In the past sixteen months, we have had many moments of pure joy and a lot of moments of pure terror and worry. Our twin boys turned sixteen months old on January 22, 2018. Their life started with a fifteen day stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A month later, Charlie (the little one) ended up back in the hospital with a horrible virus. We never really learned what virus it was. We ended up rushing him to the hospital as I was holding him after seeing him look miserable and I didn’t feel the normal warmth that you feel when you hold a baby. I’ve always called our babies little incubators or space heaters, because if you hold one against you for very long, you end up both covered in sweat. On Sunday night, October 23, 2016, Charlie didn’t feel warm, he felt cold. I took his temperature. It was 95.2. I took it again, still in the 95 range; I found another thermometer and found the same thing. Never having experienced this before, I quickly googled it on my phone. That was the most terrifying moment of my life up till that point as I quickly saw how important it was to get him to the hospital. Thankfully, after a week of fluids and antibiotics and what seemed like thousands of needle pricks, Charlie came back home with a full recovery. We then started addressing the ear infections that both Charlie and Gabe were having as well as the failed hearing tests. For months, it seemed like we had a hearing test or appointment with an ENT almost weekly for one of our boys. This past June both twins ended up back in the Pediatric ICU for another week-long stay. Yet another virus. My wife and I had both babies in the hospital on different floors. For 4 days, we only saw each other in passing as we traded spots, so we could visit with the other baby. Since June, the hospital stays have ended, but we continued with the ENT and eventually both boys went in for ear tubes. Ear tubes should have been a breeze and for the ENT and the twins they were. However, for this hospital-weary dad experiencing a case of white coat fever, I was again terrified. When they took Charlie out of my arms and carried him down the hall, I started to break. Of course, I was trying to be strong for my wife who was standing behind me holding Gabe. (She was actually a rock during this time. I was terrified.) I flashed her my best smile and told her I had to go to the bathroom. Behind the bathroom door, I crumbled to my knees and sobbed and prayed. I tried to wash my face and regain my composure quickly so that I could get back out there and pretend to be strong. My wife didn’t buy it though. She looked at me and said, “Have you been crying?” I said, “Nope, I’m good.” She laughed as she saw right through me. Within minutes, the surgery was done and I got to hold Charlie as they brought him out. I can’t remember another time where I actually pushed ahead of my wife and said, “No, I’m holding him!” This time I did. We’ve fought a few ear infections since then, but the tubes have been amazing as they allow them to heal so much faster. The twins are walking and talking and getting into everything. It is fun to watch them thrive and grow and be so active.
My hope and prayer for our children is that they continue to thrive and they continue to grow and develop. I know that we will do everything in our power to help them achieve their goals and dreams.
You love thinking about their future
As a dad that spends my days creating estate plans, I often hear families talking about their grown kids. I can’t help but think about what my kids will need once they turn 18 and ponder what ways I can help make them self-sufficient. Most of the time, I love dreaming about how they will change the world, but there is another side of me that mulls over how to teach life skills and character.
Recently, my wife had been noticing that our two-year-old wasn’t speaking as well as he should. Concerned, she scheduled an appointment with the pediatrician who confirmed that he was on the lower end for his age, but didn’t think it was too much of a concern. However, my wife is one of those amazing mothers who continues to question and make sure her children are cared for. She scheduled an appointment with a speech therapist, Ms. Suzie, who has been amazing. Lincoln loves going to therapy and he has been making some incredible progress. Although, Lincoln is making great gains and we know this is a temporary need, we didn’t know this at first. There were moments where I pondered what he would need if he couldn’t learn to talk, read, or communicate his needs.
As a Dad, it is troubling and sometimes terrifying to consider my child having these needs and one day I won’t be here to assist. I am thankful to know a few ways to help prepare paths for him if he so needed it.
You love seeing them develop their interests
Our 4-year-old started pre-school at the Will Smith Zoo School. For the first three years of his life, he cried every day that we dropped him at school, but now he is thriving and loving it. He loves the rhinoceros, climbing trees, and going on bear hunts. Watching his interests grow and him becoming more independent is awesome, but he still requires support to nurture his growth. In the event that I am not here tomorrow, he will need special planning to continue to support his interests.
As parents, we do everything we can to care for our children’s daily and most urgent needs, while dreaming about their futures. It is important to remember to turn those dreams into plans of action to help our children thrive for many years to come.