The hardest letter I've ever had to write

August 12, 2013

 Dear Hudson,

Mommy and Daddy love you so much. You have brought so much joy to our lives and have made everything better. No matter how long your legs grow or how many candles are on your birthday cake, you will always be our baby.  No matter what you do or what happens in this life, you are ours and nothing can change that. You are loved deeply by your parents. But even more than we love you, you are loved by a God who sent His son for you. Don’t ever doubt it. Bad things can happen in this world but you can make it because you have love.....

I have to stop there. Because the tears are flowing to hard to write more. 

Now that I'm a mom, I can't help but worry. I knew going in to motherhood that I would worry about Hudson getting sick or injured. Or getting his feelings hurt. I knew I would worry if we are making the right choices when it comes to raising him to be a kind and loving boy. But I didn't think about what might happen if my husband and I weren't around to be there for him. What would happen to my sweet baby if, heaven forbid, my husband and I died?

My heart hurts too much to even think about it.
But it's all over the news. Bad things happen. And now that I'm a mom, I'm all too aware of the precious gift I have been given. I want to make sure he's taken care of.
Have you made a plan for your child's future? Have you selected guardians for him or her? It's scary to think about it. But it's even worse to think about what might happen if you don't. I think the hardest part of this process is knowing where to start. How do I make my wishes known? If I hire an attorney will they understand how important this is?

I know this is a hard subject to even think about. I had to force myself to do it. What motivated me was my sweet boy. I would hate for Hudson to be caught up in a court system because we didn't plan ahead. 

Luckily, one of my very good real-life friends, Tamsen, is an attorney and has created a program called "Life Footprint" that helps moms like me prioritize, organize, and legalize a plan for their child's future. Tamsen is a mom herself and has thought about the worse-case scenario.....not being around to raise your child. Tamsen has helped my husband and I create letters (like the one above) that can be sent to Hudson to reassure him that he is loved...and to let him know who we have selected to take care of him in our absence.

Tamsen's law firm, Vujà Dé Law, is available online. She can help you regardless of what state you live in. You can meet with her in person or chat online. And the best part? She gets it. She's a mom. She understands how much you love your child. And she's personable, not pushy, and affordable. Tamsen just wants what is best for you and your family. (And I'm not just saying that because she's my friend. It's the truth. Tamsen is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. She has made this process simple. I wouldn't be sharing this today if I didn't truly believe she can help anyone.)

Please chat with her about your plan for your family. Tamsen can help make your family legally healthy and ready for the future. And....she offers complimentary 30-minute appointments!

Meet Tamsen:

I am a mamattorney. So I am constantly balancing my roles as mom and attorney. It is with both of these “hats” that I write this post. There is so much we want to do and give our precious little ones and we have no problem executing a plan.
Now, speaking of planning ahead – you probably started planning ahead and making decisions for your precious little one long before you saw a “+” on a little stick. Be honest – how many of you had those names picked out since junior high? I know just a few of the “plans” included: When is the best time to have a baby? Should we have a baby? Are we ready?

Then once you know you are going to have a baby the decisions turn to: What kind of shower should I have? What do I put on my registry? What color do we paint the nursery? What do I put in the hospital bag? And about a zillion other questions that we’ve all asked in our eternal quest to “plan.” Once you pass the 6-month mark you start planning for that 1st birthday party . . . and on, and on, and on . . . you are always planning for your little one. And let’s face it we love planning for those little ones. We should. It’s one of the perks of being a mom.

Now switching gears -- How much time have you spent planning out what would happen to that precious little one if something happened to you?

I know it’s not a fun thought but it is a thought that you committed to the minute that little one was put in your arms the very first time. You are all they have. You are the one that they count on to make sure that everything is going to be ok. And the fact of life is that if you don’t plan for this, then you have planned to have the state you live in do the planning for you.

Just guessing but probably not what you want. Personally I do not want Michigan deciding where my amazing little boy is going to live or with whom – that’s my job!

I am so blessed to have a career and life that I absolutely love! And what makes me love what I do is that I get to help educate moms (and dads) to make sure that everyone they love and everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve is legally healthy.

Let’s face it – I want to pass on more to my son than china and his dad’s hockey memorabilia. I want to make sure that he knows what I value, what experiences I had during life, what I would have said to him at his wedding, or when my first grandchild was born – I want him to know that stuff. I also want to know that he is safe, my finances are safe, and my property is safe. I need to plan ahead if I’m going to make all that happen. You do too.

You live a vibrant, colorful, rich, and rewarding life and that is what you want to transfer to your children. In addition to making sure that they are taken care of in the very best way that you can plan for.

As a mom, these are the areas that need a plan:
• Your kids,
• Your health,
• Your finances,
• Your property, and
• Your virtual property

Personally I decided that “estate planning” was completely inadequate for what my families needed so I created the Life Footprint plan.

A Life Footprint plan is just like your carbon footprint. Every day you leave another footprint along your life’s journey. And today you are going to have the chance to take a step towards protecting and preserving those priceless footprints.

This is where planning ahead is essential and oftentimes overwhelming. I hear it from moms all the time – “I don’t know where to start.” It’s easy – we start at the beginning with your kids. Just like watching parents climb over debris and walk for hours to reach their kids after the Moore, OK, tornados – nothing elicits a greater response for immediate action than the thought that your kids might be exposed to danger.

 Just for a moment, imagine that you went to Target this afternoon and left your little one to play with your best friend. Unfortunately you are hit when a distracted driver was texting. You die on the scene. Your spouse or partner is out of town on a business trip. After hours go by your friend knows something is wrong. The police come to the house and crisis mode starts. Unfortunately there are no legal documents that say that your best friend can protect, keep, and love on your little one during this horrendous situation. No one can locate your husband. The police do what they have to do – pry your little one out of the arms of someone they know, love, and trust, and turn them over to child protective services until your spouse or partner can be located . . . I don’t know about you but every time I think about that situation I want to be sick. I can’t imagine my little guy not being in his own home surrounded by the people that love him in that situation.

This situation has such an easy solution.

Take half the time you spent planning the last birthday party and find an attorney you trust and can build a relationship with and plan for your kids, health, finances, and property. To help you get started, I’ve made the guide that I use available for free to you. Download this planning guide to help get you started.

Had you completed your plan ahead of time. Your best friend would know exactly where the legal documents were that gave her legal custody of your little ones. She would have a step-by-step plan to contact the attorney and get all the legal documentation that would be needed over the next few days. So while the horrendous situation does not go away there is a solution that keeps your little ones loved and safe.

I know that for most of us moms creating our Life Footprint plan is something we know we should do but our days get away from us.

What you can do today –click here to download my Life Footprint plan. This is a guide that I created to help start the discussion about planning. And this is a guide that you can use when you meet with any attorney. It will help you start talking about the different areas that you need to create a plan.

When you start thinking about guardians check out these resources. Ideally you want a guardian list of 10 contingencies. I know it sounds like overkill but it’s not. So my challenge for you is to create your guardian list today. Take 10 minutes and write down who you absolutely do not want to ever have the chance to raise your little one and who you absolutely want to raise your little one.

One of the greatest challenges with planning for your little ones future without you is that there are so many areas that need to be addressed. Take one little piece at a time – that’s how you’ll make sure that you have a plan when that next birthday comes around.

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15 Responses to “The hardest letter I've ever had to write”

  1. Thank you SO much for this post! I've been thinking about doing this for SO long! It's so important to think about who you want your babies to be raised by if something were to happen to you and your spouse! It's hard to pick people who have the same beliefs as you and who you'd feel comfortable raising your children the way you would! I have my list of people who NOT to raise my children but my husband and I are going to sit down tonight and start this Footprint process!!!!

  2. Great post! We just finalized everything for our living trust, last will and testament, and health care directives. It feels so good knowing that Caden will be taken care of if anything should happen to us. xoxo

  3. Is it weird we had all that set up before we were even pregnant? But a living trust and figuring it all (and even life insurance) was super important in the few months after we got married!

  4. Gosh, I have totally felt the same thing. Glad to know that this exists! We actually just did our wills with an attorney a few months ago. I'm glad we did.

  5. When I have a child, my best friend, Nicole, is going to be the Godmother. I can see how this would be difficult to write...

  6. When I have a child, my best friend, Nicole, is going to be the Godmother. I can see how this would be difficult to write...

  7. When we first started planning for the "what if's" I found it to be so depressing and scary. But now I feel at peace with it because it is just another part of being a good parent. God willing nothing will happen to Hubby and myself, but if it did we know that our children will be taken care of the way we want them to be.

    Good for you for helping others take care of the children no matter what!!!

  8. My husband and I just went thru this with an attorney here in Houston! It is awful having to make those kind of plans but so worth it if something happens! Great post!!

  9. awww...such a hard post, but you are SO right - it's worth it. you must do it! so important. I dread having to do this but in the end it's what is right!

  10. Beautifully written, a subject most don't like to speak about or think about! On a side note, do you have a hair tutorial post? You're hair is so fab girl :)

    Instagram: megawat

  11. And I'm a new follower ;) Love your blog!

  12. I would be scared if my child died. My children (if I have any) will have Godparents.

  13. I dont have kids yet, but this really was such a heartfelt blog post! I cant imagine the day I do and I have to also write this letter!

  14. I'm recruiting my husband tonight to sit and work on this with me. Thank you so much for the introduction to this service!
    Also, I love your shirt in your family photos! May I ask where you got it? :)

  15. Thank you so much for recommending this service. My husband and I plan to talk about this asap. Also, I looove the green shirt in your family photos on this post. May I ask where it is from? :)


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