I often fondly imagine that I’ve escaped the pitfalls of my upbringing, and emerged into adulthood as my own person. All right, that makes everything that has gone awry no-one’s fault but my own, but it still makes me feel independent and proud. And then something happens that makes you realise how much your parents’ child you really are.
I was catching up with a fellow mum at the school gates the other day – you know the stuff, comparing holiday horrors and triumphs – her two weeks in the Med certainly trumped my one night of camping – then she mentioned that, when they’d got home, they’d discovered they had been burgled. I started to sympathise, but she wasn’t having any of it. ‘Oh, it wasn’t as bad as C’s robbery,’ she said, mentioning a mutual mum friend.
C, I heard to my horror, had not just been burgled – her house had been trashed, all the valuables had been systemmatically stripped out, and the robbers had even managed to steal her car from the drive while they were at it. My heart went out to her. ‘How awful,’ was all I could think of to say, just imagining how crushing it would be to get back from a lovely holiday to that kind of ghastly mess of heartbreak and chaos. ‘Yes,’ agreed my mum friend. ‘And the worst thing was – they didn’t have any insurance.’
In a way, that shocked me more than the whole burglary. Who doesn’t have home insurance? The way I was brought up, not having insurance was like not having legs. I have home insurance, life assurance, pet insurance. I was very glad, this morning, to have car insurance when my tyre blew out on the school run. I also have a variety of pensions. Trusting to luck was not one of the things I imbibed with my mother’s milk. And all those insurance premiums have not been wasted – I firmly believe they are like powerful talismans, warding off evil. If any policy lapsed without my noticing it, I’m sure utter mayhem would insue.
I am my parents’ daughter, there is no escape. And now excuse me, I must just get my insurance insured.