In May of 2011, I wrote a Blog about the importance of wisely choosing a guardian after watching a fictional (and funny) episode of “Modern Family” where Cam & Mitchell are deciding who to choose to be Lily’s guardian. I was already in the process of writing this blog about a true (and not funny) story about the custody arrangement for Michael Jackson’s children when I read the current guardian, Katherine Jackson, mother to Michael and grandmother to his children, has temporarily lost custody.
Initially the reports were that Katherine Jackson, 82 and guardian to Michael Jackson’s three children ages 15 years and younger, had left the children and was in Arizona “resting “ under doctor’s orders. Paris Jackson, Michael’s daughter and middle child, took to social media to let everyone know her grandmother and guardian had left and she didn’t know where she was—a scary situation for these children. Not only have they recently and unexpectedly lost their father, but now their grandmother, who seemed to have been a constant in their lives, “disappeared”.
The last report I read http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/26/showbiz/jackson-family-dispute/index.html?iref=allsearch stated TJ Jackson, Michael’s 34 year old nephew, was granted temporary guardianship. Katherine Jackson has since returned to California and claims she was unaware of the controversy surrounding her family and plans to regain custody of her grandchildren. It’s easy for me to sit and pass judgment based on media reports; it always makes for a better story with drama, right? Something obviously went amiss, whether Paris Jackson was being a dramatic 14 year old girl and used twitter to stir up a story, or if Katherine Jackson did really leave and not tell her grandchildren she would be gone for a while. It doesn’t sound like the children were completely abandoned, there were adults taking care of them. Regardless, I don’t think this is what Michael Jackson would have wanted for his children.
While we all hope it’s never necessary for our loved ones to have to step in as guardians for our children and none of us can predict what will happen when we were are gone, we can do our best to pick good guardians for our children. While a lot of people default and pick their parents and in-laws as guardians for their children, it is important to really discuss this with them and possibly the extended family. Yes, it’s fun to be grandma and grandpa and babysit, take the kids on fun trips, etc., it’s a whole other story when grandma and grandpa become full-time mom and dad. As the saying goes, age is just a number, but realistically does an 82 year have the energy to keep up with three children ages 15 and younger? Maybe your parents and in-laws DO NOT want to be guardians should something happen to you. It doesn’t mean they don’t love their grandchildren and do not want to be involved in their lives, it may just mean they are realistic about their limitations.
I am going to continue to watch this story unfold, and possibly blog more about it, but I hope many people take this real life situation to heart. Number one, make sure you have a will in place with guardians named for your children, and number two, make the best decision you can.
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