Where does the craving to care for something or someone come from?
When I was around ten or so I remember specifically playing with one of my many baby dolls and being struck suddenly with the feeling that this whole situation was not a coincidence. I suddenly thought to myself that this whole baby doll rocking thing was preparation for the real thing. My reaction was nausea. The idea that a baby might be 100% reliant on me made me a bit sick. It was a short and fleeting moment but I remember it very well. My mind made the connection between play and a possible reality and I was a momentarily panicked little girl.
I’m always ready for play. Taking care of another person or thing besides myself? Not so much. But recently, I’ll say in the last two or three years, the need to love, to care for someone other than me has surfaced in my odd, aloof, anti-clingy sensibility. And it’s weird for me.
When I was a girl we had a cat that mostly my parents took care of and my brother and I played with. When she died as the result of a freak accident, my reaction was complete denial. My brother was way more emotional than I was. I kind of just couldn’t handle my feelings and sort of chose not to express them. When I think about it, that cat’s death was the first death I ever experienced in my family. I know a lot of people don’t take pets seriously or take them too seriously or hate people who take them too seriously or not seriously enough. We all have different feelings about it. But the fact is all pets are forms of life you take care of. Plants are forms of life you take care of. You benefit or don’t benefit from their being around in one way or another. But if you care you have to make room. You have to pay attention.You have to make time.
I have a plant, a plant I inherited from a co-worker who passed away years ago. And I was worried I wouldn’t be able to take care of it. I don’t even know what kind of plant it is, but I liked the look of it and it absolutely flourishes in my care. I water it once a week as directed, play music around it and occasionally talk to it and always take notice of its progress. I don’t have a green thumb. I don’t know if I would have this kind of patience with any other plant, just this one. I just happened to bond with it. There’s a plant someone dumped on me at work many years ago which I neglect shamelessly all the time. It’s sitting on my counter now as I write this.
Okay, I’ll water you today. Jeez.
All this is to say that yesterday, when my supervisor told me about a cat she took in to her home over the weekend, something about the way she described her just got me all emotional and choked up and not just because I’m a cat person. Apparently this is a domesticated cat that the owner or owners abandoned in the street. That broke my heart. UGH! Just thinking about it now bothers me. My husband and I have also both been wanting a pet for ages. He loves animals! But like the prospect of having a baby, we’re both are in agreement that we need way more space first. But what if space isn’t really as necessary as we think for a pet or a baby? What if a pet is just a starter baby?
I want a cat.
I want a baby.
I want a cat baby. LOL!