When I entered the workforce, Baby Boomers were in charge of everything, so I had all the accouterments of a job you planned to stay in until the day you turn 65. The Gen-Xers in the office designated our life insurance policies to Elizabeth Wurtzel and Mike D. Our workers compensation was so broad that it covered a broken heart, which meant dating co-workers was strictly forbidden. The company matched our retirement savings each month, and our CFO recited reminders like he was doing penance for the social security sins of his generation.

This is all to say I was never keen on all the assurances adults fawn over to create a stable life. Until I had kids. At that point, I asked my brother if I could leave my kids to him in case of death.

He said, “How much life insurance do you have?”

I bought a policy for as much as I could afford. The price starts getting really high per dollar once you get into a range where it looks like someone is about to kill you.

When I started homeschooling I told myself that if I died no one would keep doing it, but it’s okay. My kids will have bigger problems than school if their mom just died. But by the time the kids were in middle school, there was no way someone would get them back into school. Their lives were on track for other things. Everything they had worked for would be dislodged if I died and they had to go to school.

You can’t really pay someone to homeschool your kids. The value of a parent is not their teaching but how much they care. I realized that the most high-risk thing I was doing on a regular basis was driving 20 hours a week for cello lessons in Chicago. I totaled two brand new BMWs. My kids are experts on the temperament of an airbag. So I hired a driver. A driver is expensive but it’s cheap if you think of it as a substitute for life insurance.

I was thinking about this today. My kids are so old that if I died now they would probably keep doing exactly what they are doing. Someone who is not volunteering now would end up moving into the apartment with them. Probably their dad, actually. Things will be fine. Which is good, because I have moved onto other worries, like how even kids who get full scholarships to college end up needing a truckload of money.

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5 replies
  1. Erin
    Erin says:

    I’m terrified of what would happen to my girls for exactly this reason. Nobody else cares about them enough. Except maybe they care for each other. That’s the only life insurance I’ve got.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I think about my kids caring for each other. It’s a nice thought but then when they fight I panic. For years I’ve been telling them over and over again: “Be kind to each other after I die. Siblings piss each other off all the time. Just let it go. Keep talking.” Then when I was angry with one of my brothers, my son said that advice back to me. That gave me hope. At least he remembered it.


  2. Caralyn
    Caralyn says:

    My best friend and I homeschooled for many years together, until she died. Her kids went into school. It went ok. Life goes on, I suppose. I miss her dearly.


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