Monday, August 7, 2023

I used to put together their toys. Now I help them understand health insurance.

Getting out of this ball pit with Melanie so many years ago was much easier than trying to explain a Health Savings Account to her.

My daughter Melanie recently started her first "big girl job" as Marketing & Admissions Coordinator for the Julie Billiart Schools here in Northeast Ohio. These are K-8 schools serving kids with special learning needs, and from what I know of them, they make an incredible difference in the lives of families across our area.

Mel is only a few weeks into this new gig, but so far it feels like everything a first job should be, and she seems to be thriving.

Early on, she had to go through the usual litany of paperwork that comes with a new job, including understanding and enrolling in various employee benefit programs. Mel and I had a protracted text conversation in which she asked me questions about her benefits and what she should select.

Ultimately, I think she made solid choices when it came to her 401(k), health insurance, etc.

I really enjoyed helping Mel with this new phase of her life. It felt like it had been a while since I had done for her any of the sort of things a dad generally does for his daughter. She still reaches out when her car is making a weird noise or when a tire goes flat, but thankfully, those calls are few and far between.

There was a period in her life when I had to come to the rescue several times a week, whether it was figuring out why the Wii wasn't working or editing a scholarship essay. One of the reasons I used to regularly take vacation between Christmas and New Year's was to assemble whatever assortment of toys and games Mel and the other kids received as presents.

As they got older and more independent, my help was needed less frequently, which is a good thing. We obviously want our children to stand on their own two feet and learn to navigate life by themselves.

But I'll admit it felt good to step in and help out again, if only for a few employment benefit questions asked during the course of a 20-minute text conversation.

For as often as we parents look forward to having an empty nest, there's something to be said for the times when our little birdies stop by and ask for some assistance.

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