Knock on Wood

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!


  1. says

    Interesting discussion. My sister and her husband always traveled to the same place separately unless all were together in the family. My sister and I were each others children’s guardian. I also was for my sister-in-law on my ex’s side. Even after we divorced it was still just me. They all assured me I would be rich if they died but also in a loony bin as I would have been responsible for 5 kids under 5 with my too being near teenage years. I knocked on a lot of wood and thankfully they are all over 21 now and fully able to take care of themselves. I see how difficult this is for a mixed couple but I am sure had it happened anyone would have raised Tatiana as best they could showing the greatness of both of you and your families.

  2. says

    Madge, I have often heard of parents traveling on different flights. We have never done that because we have always flown with Tat or are on our own flying. I even think about that when we are in the car together and Tat is not with us. Knock on wood again! =) Bless your heart for agreeing to be “the one.” You would have been a busy bee! And yes you are right, no matter who raised her we are blessed to be surrounded by love on both sides so all would be well no matter what. It’s just so important that she is exposed to all cultures. She is old enough now to have her own vision and view but earlier it was such an issue. It’s funny because we just had this convo in Palm Springs when we went w/ my Mom and Sis. We were talking about how “white” my Mom’s city is. When we went to the movies last time we were visiting them in OR, Jamie, Tatiana and a Portland Trail Blazer were the only black people there! It was surreal. I kept thinking what’s wrong with this picture. I’m so used to the Cali melting pot. Thankfully this is not much of a worry anymore but it is such a HUGE dilemma for parents and those that might be the responsible party after the fact. Hugs and love woman! A.

  3. Starbucks Homie says

    Madge, it’s the executive policy, right? The president and vice-president never travel together, so they won’t both die and leave the country orphaned. Brian and I used to joke about it, but never actually implemented it. I’m so glad the girls are older and we’re both alive, but I still think I’d better write that will!

  4. Lori says

    Okay, sis, I have to weigh in on this. First, I remember Tony and I struggling with this topic. My siblings (you and Scott) were too young to be a consideration and neither of us wanted to add to the grandparents’ lives so we ended up with Tony’s sister and husband. But, we did go with family. I am glad you and Jamie made your decision but I want you to know that Tony and I would have provided buckets and buckets of love, attention and guidance to Tat AND knowing how important both white AND black cultures are to you, Jamie and Tatiana we would have figured out a way to provide that for Tat in the best way possible. I can’t imagine not fulfilling that role for Tat if it had been necessary and in fact, it would have been REALLY weird and sad to have had her raised by your friends. However, it is ultimately the parents’ decision and we would have respected that, sadly. Now….BIG KNOCK ON WOOD from this end!!


  5. says

    Now Sis, you know that if you lived in So Cal it would have been totally different. I KNOW that you would have given her love, culture and everything she needed. However….Tatiana being raised in Puyallup….that was not an option. Nothing against your city at all but Tatiana would not be happy there and would not fit in there. By the way this is all too weird. =) So that being said if you moved here and lived in our house…then yes you would have been it, but I knew that was not option. So as much as I love you and Tony, I knew I had to look elsewhere. Besides Jamie, you are my best friend, and I am beyond lucky to have you as a Sis….beyond….but we are geographically challenged. =) Love you! A.

  6. says


    Your post showed up after Lori’s sorry I didn’t respond. I thought the very same thing about the Pres and VP when Madge wrote that! And yes it is time to write some wills but thank God all the girls are older! Knock, knock, knock!

    Love A.

  7. says

    I think that is probably the reason they don’t ever travel together too. Might have been nice if Bush and Cheney traveled together. Sorry for my political humor but I just had to say that.

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