Ask Dr. Giles: I feel selfish for wanting to care for my sister’s kids

a Concerned Sister writes:

I would welcome any advice on this situation. My sister is due for the big surgery very soon, she was told the longest she will last with everything going well would be 5 years max. Her tumor has spread from the ducts to a good portion of her liver. She is hospitalized now for nourishment to gain strength for the surgery. She has a 8 and 11 year old. She has made her top choice of our brother to take the children. No one understands her choosing him. He is a great dad for the most part but is a heavy drinking, swearing truck driver (gone a lot) who is on his 3rd marriage. I am so hurt by her decision. That sounds so horrible. But I have been married to the same man for 14 years, have 2 children and a very much more stable life. Also I am both of her children’s godmother. I want to say something to her but am not sure how. I feel torn and selfish feeling like this at this time. But I love those kids, I want the best life for them possible. Any ideas?

Concerned Sister,

It sounds like you are surprised by your sister’s choice. Choosing a guardian for our children in our absence is a serious decision and I am confident that your sister did not make her choice without considerable thought.

What is not clear, however, is what were those thoughts I would suggest that you arrange a quiet and private time to inquire of your sister how she came to her decision. If you approach this conversation with an open mind and a sincere desire to understand her thinking, I think you will come away with a deeper love for your sister and a closer bond to her and her children.