Likewise, parents told me how my priorities would change. Again, they were correct.
A few examples of things that matter less than my daughter's well-being:
- Her momentary happiness
- My momentary happiness
- My well-being
Fortunately, I've never had to put that last one to the test. And, thus far, we've had few conflicts between either of our happiness and her well-being.
This past week, I got a taste of tough choices to come. Simply put: I wanted a cat. I've wanted a cat since a few months after I gave my year-old kitty to a friend in a fit of post-partum anxiety. (Any friends considering an "I told you so," please take a peek at my FB posts from around that time & don't kick a girl for when she was down.)
I further decided that my daughter wanted a cat. She loves our dog, who tolerates her but by no means loves her back. I thought she should have her own pet. So, we decided to try it out. A lovely group (Ana's Angels) was sharing kitties for adoption at PetCo. We took two home as a two-week foster. If it worked, we could adopt them. If not, we could take them back - no questions asked.
Love them she did. She just didn't quite know how to show it. Turns out 17 months is exactly the wrong age to get a girl a kitty. Mobile enough to catch them easily; little enough understanding to grab them by the paw or tail and try to lift them in the air. Oh, and zero ability (interest?) in listening to mommy & daddy sternly shouting "No, no, no!"
It was on the 5th or 6th such incident, when a simple "no, no, no" became "G*D D*MM*T, NO!" - that I realized this foster should not become an adopt.
To the kitties' credit, they never retaliated in the least bit. I just feared terribly that some time that would end.I certainly would get fed up with someone lifting my butt in the air by my tail! I didn't want her hurt; I didn't want them blamed.
They are absolutely wonderful cats. They just weren't meant to be our cats.
The truth is: I jumped the gun. I confused what I wanted with what she would want. If a pet is going to be hers, she should be old enough to help take care of it ... or at least to name it ... or heck - even to ask for a kitty!
It was tough taking them back to the original foster mommy tonight. I mean look at their sweet faces looking at me on the drive there! But I know it's the right choice for my family at this time.
I also know that those other parents are going to be right about something else -- it's not going to get any easier. This time, doing what was best for my daughter meant taking two adorable kitties back to a really nice woman, not to some horrible fate. This time, she was too young to argue with me ... or even realize what I was up to.
Overall, it was a positive experience. She does love kitties. Now I know orange tiger kitties are awesome & laid-back. I know that I really really do want a kitty! I also know about a great organization in my town and will seek them out when we are ready to adopt.