No way we said. Never. No, never will we have a pet of any kind.
You know the things you say to yourselves as a new couple completely surrounded in that new love ideal bliss! "We are SO perfect! Our kids will NEVER watch TV in the car; our kids won't get dirty/cause a mess/throw a fit in a store/be obnoxious/eat crap food" You fill in the blank - we've ALL said these things ... BEFORE CHILDREN.
And I sort of think it's a rite of passage.
It is a rite to make bold statements and declarations. Some will stick and others will not. I've learned parenthood is a LOT about "eating crow" on the things you "thought" you'd do or not do before these little angels made their debut.
And a big one for us was NO PETS. I grew up with pets - none really my own except for that kitty I brought home from Gladfest one year simply because I overheard my parents having a conversation about "needing a kitty to deal with the mice problem" with construction going on behind our development. I thought I was doing them a favor. HA! That cat was named Snickers but more commonly referred to as "the devil kitty from hell." It wasn't very nice, hence the name. And it was strange as cats go.
And that's the thing about cats - you never know what you are gonna get. Snickers (DKFH), really taught me that some cats suck. I never had a real fondness for dogs in general - a couple of bad childhood experiences along with most dogs affinity for jumping on me sealed the deal.
Mike grew up pet less with a mom scared of anxious about pets.
So when we met we were like "AH! Match made in heaven! No pets!" And the deal was sealed.
THEN. We had kids. And you know what kids like? PETS.
Three years ago on Mother's Day (of all days) Mike took the kids out to "give me some time alone" and he came back with three Beta Fish. Nothing says "Happy Mother's Day" like 3 tiny fish to be responsible for! And essentially, that one step "broke the seal" into pets. I know, a fish isn't really a pet. And they were easy to care for too. But the kids, especially Bella, grew in her love of animals.
For about 3 years she has been campaigning for a kitty cat. Every birthday, every Christmas, every holiday she'd ask for a kitty cat. And we stood firm.
Until we didn't anymore. This past year has been a growing year for Bella and one that has also brought some anxiety. As she started taking horseback riding lessons, it became more and more apparent just how deeply she loves animals and how very healing for her they can be.
BIG SIGH. All of your "ideals" can get completely thrown out the window when your kid NEEDS something or truly would be better because of it. I cannot tell you the number of compromises we've made "for the better of" our children.
On Mother's Day this year, Bella's Beta Fish Maria (the last of the three alive!), was found belly up. Three years to the day we got her. That same day, Bella and I made a trip to the Humane Society (after stalking the website for many days) where she fell in love with Austin.
Austin is a 7 week old short haired Tabby kitten with orange & white coloring. To tell you it was love at first sight, is a gross understatement. She IS the heart-eyed emoji all day & all night.
Meet Austin. Austin Jo (she was asked his middle name and quickly picked Jo!).
So, here we are, eating crow once again. Somehow I don't think this is our last time. ;)