Pets and the Evolution of Relationships
By Karen and Erica
Some people love pets. Most, in fact. Mothers are nevertheless circumspect when it comes to getting one.
Every mother has experienced the plaintive request from her child: Mommy, can we have a puppy? A kitten? A goldfish? A baby elephant? Mommies who work full time--and maybe all mommies--ask: will you look after your pet? And every child says, and means it, YES! But no child is likely to actually do it, so some mothers say--if they are affirmative at all--let’s get a goldfish and see what happens. What happens is the goldfish dies, as the child never feeds it, let alone cleans its habitat. And then the mother says, sorry, I can’t stand by and watch a mammal die, so no mammals until you prove you will look after the mammal. Much weeping and gnashing of teeth results. Other mothers actually say yes. They will go to heaven.
As children grow older, their attestations of willingness to care for pets grow a bit more credible. But they will soon leave for college, so you will still end up with the care and feeding of a creature, just as you have been doing for a couple of decades. Once again, some say no. Others say yes. For them, the cherubim sing.
Then, the child graduates, gets a job, and an apartment, and can decide for herself. She gets a puppy. And is very happy. And you love the puppy too. Which is good because it is your puppy whenever your child wants to go off for a few days, or months.
But if you are now out of the 24/7 job machine, maybe you are happy to be back in the nurturing business. You reflect. Maybe the puppy/kitten/goldfish/baby elephant is a good idea, now. And it’s nice to be greeted enthusiastically when you come home, just like you were when your children were small.