My wife has one very particular concern about having a baby: Europe. She wants to go to Europe. And not “Europe with kids” — grownup Europe, of staying out late, riding around on a Vespa, doing a bike-riding wine-drinking tour, and the like. “Don’t worry,” I tell her all the time, “we can still go to Europe after the baby!” She has pointedly asked me how, and I usually just point out that it’s not like we’re constantly jetting off to Europe as it is. After all, we already do have those three existing kids. But she is right, that they spend 30-40% of their time with their father, and they are old enough to be left with Grandma sometimes, and they will be out of the house (sniffle, tear) much sooner than the new one. So Europe-without-kids is much more likely if there is no baby in the picture.
Over the weekend, we were going to go to the grocery store, but decided to swing by Home Goods on the way, just to see if there was anything we couldn’t live without. But it didn’t open until 11, and it was only 10:40, so to kill the time, we stopped by PetSmart to get some dog food and kitty litter for Meg the Dog and Bella the Cat. There were, as always, baby kitties who needed adopting, and I wanted to hold one. I am decidedly the “cat person” in our relationship, whereas my wife is firmly the “dog person.” Nonetheless, it was my wife, not me, who fell in love with a fat orange cat with half his tail missing from a stint living on the streets. “What if they kill him?” she whispered in my ear. “He needs us.”
“We’re a no-kill charity, but we do get the cats from high-kill shelters. So adopting one of these guys makes room for us to foster more cats from the kill shelters.” Apparently the cat-lady volunteer also had feline-like hearing.
We laughed at ourselves, put the fat orange cat down, and headed to Home Goods. My wife stood over with the large, weird wooden chest we decided to purchase, while I waited in line. And this happened:
I guess you know what happened next. We went back and got the cat. We brought him home, and we named him Nathan. As we were walking to the car, my wife said, “What the fuck is wrong with us? We can barely handle our life as it is.”
“Yeah,” I said. “But he’s going to be so happy. And so are we.”
“Yes. I am already happy, in fact. I don’t know why I always worry about Europe. We’ll probably just freaking go. Life’s too short to worry about how we’re going to fit it all in. We just will.”
So, meet Nathan. Sorry that every picture he is eating and/or blurry and is never looking at the camera. If you have ever tried to take a picture of a cat with your iPhone while an 8-year old harasses him, you understand.
And that, my dear friends, is why don’t have to worry about the things you’ll miss out on if you have a baby. If they’re really important, you’ll just do them. As my uncle once famously said to his 22 year old son, “If you’re constantly worrying about the consequences of your actions, you’re never going to have any fun.”
(PS for the more observant folks: Yes, he is in a room with bright pink carpeting. That is because the girls’ picked it out when the Big Thing and Boo were about 7 and 5, respectively.)