Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas Gifts From My Boys

Who says cats don't pay for themselves? This Christmas, I got several gifts from Arthur and Beowulf. On Christmas morning, I got two books, "Cat Training in 10 Minutes a Day" and "Caring for Your Cat: 101 Essential Tips." These books were addressed to me from Arthur and Beowulf, though I get a feeling that my fiancee Liz bought it and put their names on it. If the boys had opposable thumbs, this deception would be more beliveable.

-- Warning: Sappy Stuff Alert --

That said, I found this Christmas that I had gotten a gift much greater than any I could have unwrapped. The boys have brought me I feeling I thought I had lost in childhood. Children have an amazing ability to have fun and be excited about the simplest things: a furry animal, a shiny bow, or the sound of thunder.

I grew up as an only child with a father who disliked both children and animals. I was taught to hate the child in myself. I wanted a cat or a dog, but of course, that wasn't allowed. As a teenager and then a young adult, I felt that childhood was a time of weakness and foolishness. I liked the idea of having a family in theory, but I didn't want to deal with young children.

Whenever I'd see a friend or relative with children in tow, I'd find some excuse to leave the situation. I think that is because being in the presence of children reminded me so much of my own childhood. Just seeing a room filled with childrens' toys made me feel like my own adulthood was being threatened. My fiancee wants to have children someday and I promised her we would, but I was really not enthusiastic about it. I've always liked the idea of having grown adult children I could hang out with, but dealing with wild toddlers always frightened me.

One reason I wanted to adopt cats was to see if I could take care of someone. I think my boys have unleashed a side of me that can be a parent without being a pill. I don't expect them to stop being who they are and suddenly turn into a set of adult humans who want to talk about politics and sports. I value them for who they are: a pair of rambunctious kittens.

When I went to visit Liz's parents for Christmas, her 3 year old niece was at the house. Previous times I'd seen her, I didn't want to talk to her. This time, though, I found a could talk to her. I showed her pictures of my boys and she asked all about them. We talked about her cats too. Finally, I got down on my knees so I was at her level, played "pillow fight" with her (I let her hit me with the pillows), and found I could be as silly as a three year old, without feeling like my parents were going to come and scold me.

I know now that I can be a parent someday and probably a good one too.


Thumper said...

As careful and considerate as you are with the kitties, even at their toothy destructiveness, you are going to be an awesome parent. I think the cats deserve some fresh shrimp for pointing that out :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Avram,

That was a beautiful story. It wasn't "sappy" at all!
As for me, I'm 57 now, but I've never really grown up, and most everybody I know will confirm that as a fact...
What I derive from having Kitty is a sense of being a dad, which is quite a responsibility, but I do my best.

Yours truly, Don & Kitty (of

Wendy said...

Bravo, Avram!
I think the kittens are a good first step towards deciding on parenthood.
My husband grew up without pets and he was reluctant for us to get a cat, finally giving in after many years of marriage. He is more attentive to and protective of our cat than I am (I grew up with kids, cats, and dogs). For us, it helped reinforce that 1 cat was all we could handle, and not kids! My aversion to parenthood comes from having been around younger children and babies my whole life, as mom did child care in our home.

The Cat Pack said...

This really made me cry. Cats can bring out things in you that you never knew existed. My husband was never a cat person, but suddenly he got struck with cat fever, and watching him lavish love and attention on them is really something. Great, great, great post, and not sappy at all.