A Luxurious Life

My husband and I made a big decision. Well, it was not a big decision to him; it was simply a rebalancing of funds. It was practical. It seemed like the obvious thing to do. It would free up money for college, maybe retirement. It was time.

We cut my life insurance policy in half.

I should be happy. I am trying to convince myself that I am. I no longer have to wonder — not that I ever did — about his nefarious plan to kill me and collect. I’ve read the headlines about husbands who double policies, ready to move on to a younger, better wife. Or at least a Ferrari.

But still.

No, I never measured my worth by a life insurance policy. It was always just sorta there. If anything happened to me, they’d be able to carry on. A nanny. A housekeeper. A dinner-maker. A laundry-doer and homework-helper. They’d survive. I know that money could never replace bedtime tuck-ins or sick-day-soothing. Late-night-talks and dramatic-discussions. Being there when no one else is. Being there when everyone else is, but no one like mom.

I can never be replaced. Yeah, I know. And, if I could, you certainly couldn’t buy it with those life insurance funds.

But the good stuff. The important mom stuff. It just isn’t needed as often any more. Just like the necessary nanny, ready to greet them at the end of the school day, the bed-time-tuck-ins have gone the way of the plastic dinosaurs.

There are best friends and girl friends. There are confidants and comrades. And although I know that I am still needed in ways that can never be replaced, maybe half of me could.

How many articles have been written about stay-at-home-momhood? Sheeesh. It has been said, and said again. It has been drilled into the minds of our generation. Stay-at-home momhood is not a luxury. It is a necessity and must be valued and God-damn-it-don’t-tell-me-I-don’t-work! I know. I do. I realize how very important it is for a parent to be there, to guide, to teach, to soothe, to heal.

But it has always felt so wonderfully luxurious. To be the first to hear about the highest test grade. Or the lowest. To bandage a really big road rash or soothe a really damaged broken heart. I looked up the definition of luxury, so I know.

The state of great comfort and extravagant living. That’s Webster’s definition.

And, yes, I remember teething and diaper cleans, vomit that didn’t quite make it to the toilet and night terrors (remember night terrors?). None of those are luxuries. I know. But being with my sons day in and day out, watching them grow from babies, to boys, to young men. That is great comfort and extravagant living. It most certainly is.

I recently went to a required pre-prom meeting where they told us all sorts of scary things about driving fast, drinking hard, and living recklessly. When I got home I looked at my oldest son. Directly and unwaveringly. If something happens to you, I said, my life will be over. Think about that during post-prom festivities. I will curl up into a ball and never come out again.

And so I guess that is the torch right there. It has passed from one to another. Or, in my case, to three others. There was a time, a time when life insurance policies were chosen and babies were born. A time when they could not go on without me. They would, quite literally, curl up in a ball and never come out again. That time is no more. Now it’s me who is the dependent one. It is me who needs the reassurance that the monster in my dreams isn’t real. It’s me who needs the greeting at the door and the late night tuck-in.

I don’t think you can buy an insurance policy for that.

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