"People only talk about what a joyous experience it is, but there is terror: Your life, as you know it, is over. It`s over the day that child is born. It`s over, and something completely new starts." - Bill Murray's character, talking about childbirth, in Lost in Translation
That pretty much sums it up for me, folks. Except for the childbirth part.
About two weeks ago, we got preliminary results for a bunch of neuro tests my Mom has been undergoing. Last winter, we noticed that the strange things she had been doing, formerly attributed to being in her early 60's (which is pretty young, in the scheme of things), had gotten much worse. Getting confused on the grocery store; withdrawing in a group of people, walking away from us in a crowd at Disney, while holding my child -- that sort of thing.
She has a frontal lobe disorder, a dementia. It's undoubtedly degenerative. We just don't know how quickly.
Your world view changes pretty quickly after news like that. I never really got the phrase, "carpe diem" before. I should say, really embraced it. I understand now the infinite preciousness of each sane moment we have; how fleeting are the joys. And how sudden and crushing the responsibilities. I had pretty much shrugged off marriage, children and home ownership, I now realize. Do any of us really feel the true import of loving someone? I mean, we enjoy our love and grouse about duties, but until someone is sick, you're pretty much skating around fancy-free.
Anyway, more on this later. But what do I do, now that I have a huge caretaking job ahead of me, now that I know that the chances of me moving to Europe or even Manhattan, or taking up a hugely demanding career, are ever more remote? I adopted a pet. Two, in fact. Giving in to a years' worth of whining, we are getting two cats, potentially from the litter of formerly abandoned kittens pictured here.
In my opinion, few things are more of a responsibility than a pet. You can't shuffle them around the world, or leave them alone. They can't tell you when they're sick. They are very dirty.
But they, like so many people (and things) these days, need my help, are warm and cuddly, and love unconditionally. Hey, in for a penny, in for a pound.