We’ve Got A Grown-Up Kind Of Love

February 14, 2012

When Emilia was about six months old, Kyle and I set about getting life insurance. At the time, I joked about it: look at us! We are so mature! And grown-up! ADULT, EVEN! GO US. I also related the story of how, as part of the process of applying for life insurance, a nurse visited our home to take blood samples and I fainted. Twice. These were the things that I felt most comfortable sharing about that process: that it made me feel like a grown-up, and that it also made me faint.

The thing of it was, though, that it was much more complicated than that. It was, as they say, loaded. The reason that getting life insurance is a grown-up thing to do, the reason why it feels so adult, is because it requires confronting the sort of reality that only adults, for the most part, are equipped to confront, or that one becomes more adult in the process of confronting: the reality that your life is, in fact, finite, and that it is entirely within the bounds of possibility that you might reach the horizon of its finitude before you’re ready. So you best be ready. Especially if you have children.

In a nutshell: you could die, and leave your children without a parent. To say that this is sobering is to understate things in the extreme. This is the sort of thing that makes one want to crawl under the covers with one’s fingers in one’s ears. This is the sort of thing that one wishes that one could just push away and deny. But this is also the sort of thing that speaks clearly and loudly of the full force of parental love. This is the very definition of that love: it is a love that confronts fear and does not retreat. It is a love that looks at all the scary things in the world and asks itself, what must I do to protect my loved ones from from these things? And, what must I do to deal with the reality that, despite all my efforts to fight it, bad things can still happen? It is a love that doesn’t wear rose-colored glasses. It’s a love that looks at life and the world and time and everything and strains to see as clearly as possible. It’s not the kind of love that we usually associate with Valentine’s Day; it’s not warm and fuzzy and wrapped in red satin bows. But it’s the most important incarnation of love, arguably, because it is this love that takes care, and gives care, and actively fulfills its promise to honor and protect.

The question of life insurance came up again, recently, because of all the recent changes in our life. When we first got life insurance nearly 6 years ago, Kyle was the primary breadwinner; I was a dependent spouse. That’s changed – that’s reversed – and there are a lot of things about that change, that reversal, that have been difficult for us. But we had to confront it, and name it, and sign off on documents that said, now, YOU are the primary breadwinner, and YOU are not; YOU need to be more fully insured, whereas YOU do not. That was not easy. We had to wade through the thickets of we live a different life now, a life that’s proving difficult to navigate at times, a life that’s proving difficult, at times, for us to navigate as partners because the very nature of the partnership has changed. But we did it.

Because we’re grown-ups. And that’s how we love now.

That’s how we love.

Sponsored by LifeHappens.org, who are encouraging everyone who loves and protects someone(s) to celebrate that love today.


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    ste February 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    We recently tried to get Life Insurance here in the states. (Managed to but only through my husband’s work.) We learned, after a long process, that because we are Canadians, the US government would take 30% of any amount we would collect in the event of someone dying. Just thought I’d pass that information along to you.

    Becca February 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I tried to get life insurance when I fell pregnant, but due to my medical record (bouts of depression since my teens, including one major and two minor suicide attempts in my early twenties, plus the fact that I took anti-depressants on an ongoing basis), I have not yet managed to find a company who will cover me. Nothing quite like telling a recovering depressed girl that the odds of her killing herself are too high ;)

    Unfortunately, the amount of time I spent researching life insurance means that I am bombarded with targeted advertising telling me how bad it is not to have life insurance. Great.

    Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments February 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    We too have made a shift in our “partnership”. We have moved across the country for a job opportunity for me and for right now, my husband is not working. I am the primary bread winner. He left a policing job that made the “reality” of getting hurt or worse less likely. We haven’t changed our life insurance. Thanks for the reminder to look into this!

    Jadzia@Toddlerisms February 15, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I think the only thing more emotionally fraught than purchasing life insurance is making a will! Which I totally haven’t done.

    Lisa February 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Getting life insurance was not such an angsty thing for us. I don’t know if it’s because I experienced death at a young age – I was 4 when my sister died – but death is pretty matter-of-fact to me. Or maybe I just didn’t allow myself to think about it too much, sort of like whistling past the graveyard.

    I do remember being a few months pregnant and reading something seemingly innocuous that had the question, ” If you had only three months left to live…?”. And that got me crying, because I couldn’t just live three more months or my baby wouldn’t live, so I HAD to be able to live longer than that. Funny what triggers you and what doesn’t.

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