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Removing Each Child from Health Coverage – a Rite of Passage

Following college graduation this past May, my daughter, Maria, took a position with a non-profit organization in Minneapolis. As parents, Deb and I are both proud and happy to watch our youngest daughter start a new chapter in her post-graduate life.  As a rite of passage, Maria was confronted with a plethora of decisions to make regarding the benefits offered by her new employer.

This also meant she would no longer be covered under our health plan, an important and necessary parental commitment that most of us provide to our children. In a strange way, at least for me, this was an end of an era – 24-plus years to be more precise. Our oldest daughter, Emma, was removed from our health plan earlier due to her full-time position and the associated benefits tied to it.

As parents, ‘letting go’ can mean different things. With both daughters, while teaching them to ride newly-purchased toddler bikes, we took them to a traffic-free smoothly-paved parking lot to begin lessons. Watching their progress balancing on the bike was impressive, as if our little Einsteins were able to crack the code that few were able to do! The hardest part, however, was coming to the realization they could balance without our assistance. Letting go of the bike and allowing our child to carry on without Mom and Dad was a gut-wrenching parental experience, even though we were only a step or two away to avoid potential catastrophe!

Taking our girls to ‘mother’s morning out’ was yet another rite of passage for us. Dropping the unsuspecting daughter off at a play ‘school’ to be with other children for just a few hours was an emotional struggle. More so for us, I must confess. The same applies for kindergarten, grade school, junior high, high school, and eventually college. Yes, as our daughters became older, Mom (or Dad) would no longer be standing outside the classroom door to observe how our girls were adapting to the new learning environment. We instinctively knew that the days were numbered as time was quickly marching on.

Parents experience gentle reminders on how past roles we once held evolve into new opportunities and/or challenges for what lies ahead. The same, I suppose, also applies to our professional lives. With each child, we are nudged by the circumstances they experience, knowing that their lives will forever be different as they transition into productive adults.

I had to remind myself that by removing each daughter from our health insurance plan was similar to letting go of their bike and allowing them to explore the unknown world ahead. We can only hope that whatever course each daughter pursues will be a safe journey.

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