Saturday, April 28, 2007

Here Kitty Kitty

There's a reason why we never got another cat. For almost as long as my husband and I have lived together, we've mused about picking up a new furry beasr. We've visited the Humane Society, even picked one out — twice. The requirements weren't strict: likes other cats, preferable a fat cat breed (hubby wants a big fat lap cat), poops in the box, and is declawed. It hasn't been hard to find a cat that fit the bill.

But we always back out.

Romeo, our current cat whom I've had for 10 years, is awesome. He doesn't gorge on food, deals well with what is all too often a dirty litterbox, is playful and affectionate even to strangers, and was likely reincarnated from a flamboyant old queen who trolled around San Fancisco in the eighties. While he's not without his annoying habits, he's about as perfect as any can be for me. Another Romeo would be beyond awesome. The question that plagues us is this: what if the new cat weren't like Romeo?

The topic came up as I was reading a post a friend made about her teenaged daughter. Robin is the total package kid. Bookish, pretty but not in a slutty way, into, for the most part, the same things mom is into but not in a creepy way, straight A's, literally top of her class. She's a good kid. Whenever I hear stories about Robin, I'm tempted to say "wow, if I could be guaranteed a kid like that, the prospect of parenting isn't quite so scary." Which is true, on some level, but it's also completely nonsensical. Of course there are no guarantees.

Another friend's 16-year-old daughter Devyn reminds me of Robin, at least from the stories. But then there's her son. 17, rebellious, a poor student (and not always for lack of trying; she's devastated that he just doesn't seem to have the smarts for college) with anger management and depression issues. At 17, he's already announced his plans to marry his girlfriend, and my friend's fear that he will knock up said girlfriend is CONSTANT. But these 2 kids, a year apart, raised in the same house, are totally different. One a deam, one a handful on a good day.

It's the same with my brother and me. You just never kno what you're going to get, even if you do everything the same. There are stories everywhere.

There's the friend with the precocious young girl and the older child with Asperger's; my sister-in-law with the good kid who is only a terror when the middle brother (learning- and sensory-disabled) starts acting up. Then there's the woman in my grandma-in-law's building who is still living with her 40-year-old who acts like a poorly behaved boy of 8.

I have doubts that I have the capacity to love such a child. And do I have the heart not to resent them? Does anyone, really? Life is enough of a struggle without the added stress of an ill or troubled child. Unless I'm willing to take a risk of having such a child, that's not even an option.

No thank you.


Tanya said...

Were in my conversation earlier?

I look at my friend's kids, the good ones, and I think, WOW, Ok, make me one like that, EXACTLY, and MAYBE...we'll talk.




I'm 35. Not exactly baby rearing age, but not too old. What if I get knocked up and find out my baby has (insert lifelong problem/illness) here. Would I be able/willing to handle that? Should my child have to go through life with that problem? I think not.

It's a crap shoot. Total crap shoot. You NEVER know and you never will know til you shoot one out of you and then, well, it's too late, innit? (harsh, sorry, but it is)

I know GREAT kids. Lovely kids. Kids that make my uterus hurt at times. Sadly, they are few and far between and not the norm.

I got grief today. BIG TIME GRIEF about my Childfree choices. I'm tired of it. TIRED. You can read about it here ( if you want.

Thank you. Your blog gives me a safe place to come daily.

Ashley said...

Every time I think about the differences between my brother and I, the whole randomness of offspring is reaffirmed for me. I am married (my husband is the only person I ever dated, and we've been together more than 9 years), self-supporting, and I do at least have a vague (very vague!) idea of what I want to do with my life. I graduated from high school in the top 10% of my class, got a B.A. last year, will have an M.A. as of next year, and I have always studied, did my homework, and made an honest effort, even if the subject of my studies was not always to my liking (such as high school math, or the Civil War history class I took last fall). I didn't give my parents too much of a hassle, and now that I'm adult, we have a civil relationship.

My brother is an excellent musician, but lacks ambition and drive. He's had a few girlfriends, but he is now back seeing the worst of them (who incidentally broke his heart and humiliated him the first time they dated). He is certainly intelligent, but does not apply himself and is currently looking into a school for recording studio management for after he graduates high school, which is supposed to be in June. But his grades stink, and he still needs more community service hours, so we're hoping he gets them and squeaks by so he'll graduate. He had a decent job as a stockboy at the grocery store in my parents' town, but he quit it without having another job lined up and has since pulled a stunt with some dumb friends that has gotten him banned from the premises (e.g. they could have him arrested if he comes onto store property).

Night and day, right?

P.S. Hi Tanya!

Lefty said...

Yay Tanya! I'm happy to hear there's another blogger who writes about being childfree. I don't in my blog because my family reads it, but I'm sometimes tempted to start another blog where I can feel freer to bring up these kinds of taboo subjects.

Tiara Lynn, I think about these things ALL THE TIME when considering the big decision. We have a wonderful niece and nephew (who are well beyond the annoying matter how good the kids are, between ages 2-7 I am relieved when they go home). If I could be guaranteed to have kids like them, I'd probably do it. But when I hang out with most other kids, I'm so relieved I don't have to deal with them all the time. And these are healthy kids without disabilities!

My family thinks I'm silly because all the other kids in our family, my cousins, nieces, nephews, etc., are all intelligent and healthy. I think we have good genes on both sides, and I think they're a little insulted that I'm not more trusting in that.

But then something happens like the old apple orchard near my house gets chopped down, and the acres of barren land are sprayed with pesticides, and I think, "If I was pregnant right now I would be SO stressed."

I'm just not a gambler. I'm not throwing down wads of cash in Las Vegas, so why do it with my uterus?

Tanya said... blog gets me in ALL sorts of trouble!

Hi Ashley! Good to see you here!

M said...

That is one of the main reasons I don't want kids. I too could probably handle an "easy" one, even then only if my life were different (if I didn't have a chronic illness preventing me from taking care of even myself, much less a child), but I know I cannot introduce into my life a sick, "special needs," or other higher maintenance child. I just can't. Even if I weren't sick myself.

The other thing that makes me really not want kids is the lifetime commitment and responsibility. It's one I take very seriously and for that reason, I choose to not have children as well.

There are many other reasons, but you've really articulated some of my main ones very well in your writing. Hope your family situation gets easier. I guess in some ways I'm lucky. My family doesn't care one way or another about this topic and I'm not close with them anyway, so it's totally not an issue in my life the way it is in yours. Keep staying firm and strong!