My dad’s having heart surgery today. The latest in replacement body parts for him comes in the form of a heart valve. He’ll be on my mind all day.
But it wasn’t always the case. My mother picked me up and left him when I was just a toddler. I never heard from him until the eve of my high school graduation. I didn’t actually meet him until halfway through college. And those first few conversations were stilted, gap-filled exercises in getting past complete strangers to something resembling father and son.
And while it took years for us to get here, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t still harbor quiet feelings of bitterness at a childhood robbed of the family I thought I should’ve had. I still get pissed off when I think about how different my life would be today if I’d been able to grow up with my own father and while I love him dearly, part of me will probably never forgive him for it. (Or my mother, for that matter, but that’s another story.)
So my heart breaks every Sunday when I have to return my older kids to their mother (this past holiday weekend it was just my oldest daughter, Jasmine, the brand new high schooler). And it’s not simply because I hate being away from them during such a crucial part of their childhood (while fearing the birth of a new generation of the same resentment toward my own parents), but because of the sorrow and confusion it stirs within their two-year-old sister.
“I want Jazzy to stay at my house,” she told me yesterday. And when we dropped her sister off, she teared up and sniffled for a bit – as she always does – but was fast asleep five minutes later. And when she wakes up, it’s all good. Mostly. She still misses her older siblings, but she quickly moves on to other things, like the living room picnic we had with Tigger when we got back from the Springs.
As I lie awake in the quiet pre-dawn hour this morning thinking about my dad’s surgery, my daughter’s resilience and the end of summer, it occurred to me that PPACA has managed to stir similar feelings in our own industry.
While we’re all often generalized – whether we’re journalists or insurance salesmen (or women) – I’ve found that brokers can be as different as, well, journalists. While the vast majority of the ones I’ve had the pleasure of drinking with hate the law and resent its passage, most have moved on and are ready to either seize the opportunities presented by it, or are ready to change business models (or careers) entirely.
No one said the path forward will be easy, and it might be downright painful. The changes we face suck, quite frankly. But, at the end of the day, if I have to choose between stewing over my own regrets or having tea with Tigger, then all I have to say is, “Pass the sugar.”