December 23, 2018. Two days before Christmas. A special time for family, friends, feasting, and fellowship. This was also the day I actually compared Stanley (our feline companion) to a human baby. Let the record reflect that 5:30 p.m. was the time I actually crossed over the "cat lady" threshold. It was nice knowing all of you.
Cliff’s sweet cousin was holding her newborn baby boy at their family Christmas gathering and casually mentioned her sweet angel was probably on the verge of having a typical newborn baby moment – a “talking burp” was not at all outside the realm of possibility. Being the boss babe that she is, Cliff’s cousin was unfazed and very matter-of-fact about the possibility. For no apparent reason, though, I decided to try to relate by comparing Stanley (our feline baby) to an actual baby. With a straight face, I mentioned, “Oh gosh – I totally understand. Our cat does the exact same thing!” Was I excited about sharing a potentially similar experience? Who knows. I’d had no wine and enough coffee that I couldn’t claim foggy brain.
“Bless her heart,” she probably thought. And, she wouldn’t be perfectly within her right to think that. Yes, Stanley does like to vomit. No, it is not the same as a newborn baby. In a very weak defense of myself, I will say that Stanley picks random nights to wake us up every few hours (some instances force us to spring out of bed at first hint of a gagging noise from him – sorry, maybe I should have told you not to read this on a full stomach), so we do experience some sleep deprivation and carpet cleanup. Our sweet kitty also loves to be held like a baby – I swear – he will jump in your lap and assume the "snuggle me" position. BUT, IN NO WAY IS HE LIKE A HUMAN BABY.
It Goes Deeper
Everyone was sweet enough to laugh off my lapse in judgment. In the moment, it was funny. What is just below the surface, though, is the fact that at 31, my youngster comes in the form of a furball that can’t communicate with us beyond meows and passive aggressive middle-of-the-night noises. Though it’s tough to admit, I think some of it stems from the fact that life has revealed a few more detours than we would have anticipated. I know that after seven years of effort, it is important for Cliff to finish his Ph.D. I know the job market is still a challenge – especially for these millennials who graduated college in 2009. [If you’re looking for an interesting overview of the uphill battle ahead of our community, check out this article that went viral earlier this year. I know we are making the right financial decision to live with my parents for the time being. But, it is hard. Some of these “life stalls,” as I’m calling them, are delays I wish we had been able to choose, rather than have them chosen for us. The student loan debt will get resolved – eventually. The Ph.D. program will come to a close. We will look back on this time as a unique adventure, I hope.
In the meantime, I’m grateful to have a loving family – feline family member included – and understand there are so many more people out there who have it worse than we do. I love living vicariously through our friends and family having babies and am VERY excited to bear witness to their journey. Just understand that if you run into me at a party and I try to find a way to relate by citing characteristics of a cuddly little cat, allow me one small moment. It’s part of my special journey. It’s part of my #hearthhealthhappiness.