There is a theory I heard years ago about when you know you are ready to have a kid. It doesn’t have a formal name, but it basically states this: When you are thinking of having children, get a plant. If you keep the plant alive, get a fish. If the fish lives (although no time limit is given to gauge success), get something with fur. If you are able to keep the thing with fur alive, you are ready to take care of a tiny human. After testing out this theory for a few years, I’ve come to one conclusion; it’s a bunch of bull and seriously flawed. Or maybe I am.
The thing is, I can’t keep a plant alive to save my life. My poor dying snap dragon on our porch can attest to this. Perhaps I should have taken it out of the plastic cup and put it in our flowerbed by now. Or make sure it’s watered regularly. Apparently that’s a big deal for keeping plants alive. Before my snap dragon, I had another house plant. She held on a bit longer than my poor snap dragon, but eventually she succumbed to the inevitable.
It was my own fault, really. See, I reversed the order of the theory-essentially throwing off the balance of the universe. I had fish first. In college I bought a beta. Two actually. My first one I named Jonah. I was on an irony kick. This was back in the day where it was popular to buy a beta and put a Peace lily into the bowl. The fish would feed off of the roots of the plant, the plant would grow because of the water, and the fish’s waste would further fertilize the plant. A perfect eco-system. To supplement nutrition, fish food was also to be given. I don’t know if it was the busyness of college or general laziness on my part, but Jonah kicked the bucket after a few months.
Not to be discouraged by a dead fish, I bought another one. But to be on the safe side, and because I was still riding the irony train, I thought I’d out smart the fish’s affinity for death and name him Methuselah. In my defense it did work. Methuselah lived a bit longer than his predecessor. But eventually he joined Jonah in that big fishbowl in the sky.
So it really made no sense what-so-ever that I started dating a man with two cats. I hadn’t yet graduated to things with fur, according to the theory. But something odd happened–7 years later, married for almost two, and the cats are still alive. And I’m their primary care taker. According to the theory, they should be dead. But they are very much alive. Furry bundles of rage and terror. With claws of death. Thankfully they sleep a lot so we aren’t in much danger. 😉 They also bring us so much joy and laughter, I couldn’t imagine them not in our lives.
In life we have choices. We can choose to live by a certain set of ‘rules’ that promise guaranteed success, or we can choose the path that works for us. We may lose a few plants or fish along the way, but eventually we learn what it takes to sustain a life. And that is our happily ever after.
*handy-dandy chart to use when trying to figure out your fish’s mood appears courtesy of: http://www.themetapicture.com