Saturday, May 15, 2010

First Bassoon

Kili won't play second fiddle, so...

A year after Hops joined us, I began to muse "idly" about what it might be like to have another dog in the family. Pete was wise to my daydreaming by now; he knew how quickly I could build a foundation under any castle suspended in the air-- as long as it had an animal peeking from one of its high towers.

Pets are supposed in some quarters to be substitutes for children, but for me that equation is the wrong way round. Somehow my wires got crossed early in life (probably by my grandmother's brilliantly mischievous beagle, Bruce) and my nascent maternal urges fixed on non-human objects. Sort of a reverse imprinting phenomenon. Some years ago, a medical issue forced me to take measure of my desire to have kids-- I had the choice between a major, invasive surgery that might preserve my fertility, and a much simpler but more radical surgery (a laparoscopic hysterectomy) that would certainly destroy it. Pete and I did a lot of soul searching before opting for the hysterectomy. (It felt like a joint decision, though I knew I held the trump card: my body!)

A good friend of ours distilled the question nicely. Ideally, he wisely said, parenthood is a calling. If it's not yours, the world will not miss the children you never had. (Though the same may not be true of grandparents-in-waiting.) What I knew was that my "aww" reflex had never really kicked in for baby humans the way it did for a variety of other more or less helpless creatures. I trusted that this would change if I ever became pregnant (I'd been told countless tales of conversion), but I did not want it to change. At a level deeper than reason can touch, I knew long ago that I was destined to become a crazy dog lady.

That's an ambiguous designation. Am I a crazy "dog lady" or a "crazy dog" lady? Since our adoption of Kili, the answer seems to be "Both."

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