The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

August 13, 2012

Decidedly against childbearing

HAYSVILLE, Ind. — I don’t want kids. There I said it.

For some reason society has decided that once you get married you have to have “human” children. I scoff at that notion. I say human children, because my wife and I have six animals that we view as our children even though the rest of the world doesn’t regard them that way, unfortunately.

I don’t have some deep seeded hatred for children or the people that choose to reproduce. Raising children just doesn’t fit into the plan that my wife, Monika, a science teacher at North Daviess High School, have made for ourselves. This, however hasn’t stopped people from telling us that we will change our minds about bearing children later in life or questioning if there is something wrong with us.

I met Monika while living in Bloomington and we both were graduated from Indiana University. When we met, she already had three cats, Kitty, Tiger and Death Star (yes, we have a cuddly black cat named after a space station that destroyed a whole planet in Star Wars).

I was never a big fan of cats, but only because of perception. Once I got to know the lovable felines I was instantly attached, even to Kitty our beautiful, fluffy, deaf white cat who harbors love only for Monika. Along the way we have added Darwin, a silver tabby kitten last summer, Roxy, a German shepherd with sometimes severe separation anxiety and the love of Monika’s life, Maximus, a shih tzu, aptly named after Russell Crowe’s character in the film Gladiator. 

I often hear people say animals can’t hold the same affection as a child and to me that is plain wrong to women like my wife. She would be completely lost without each and every one of these animals. Their unique and eccentric personalities and misadventures have become as much a part of our daily lives as a baby’s first steps, first words or even the first day of school.

In the summer of 2009, Tiger, who at the time was an outdoor cat, disappeared for 10 days. We combed the area in the first few days of his disappearance to no avail. We feared the worst. To say that Monika’s reaction would have been more adverse if, say our 5-year-old son was abducted is ludicrous. Monika spent most of her days during that time in tears looking at old photos of the then 2-year-old cat. Her motherly instincts shined through so much that it seemed like part of her was out there lost without a home like Tiger was. Tiger eventually made his way home with significant weight and hair loss that he has never recovered from.

The joy I get when I come home from work with Maximus and Roxy meeting me at the door with tails wagging ready to give me kisses or Death Star, Darwin or Tiger curling up to me while I sleep is joy that I can’t put into words. Having a “human” child may give me joy at times, but I can’t see it surpassing the happiness that Monika and I experience on a daily basis from Maximus, Roxy, Kitty, Death Star, Darwin and Tiger.

I don’t begrudge those who reproduce and have children, but that doesn’t mean that what we are doing is odd, wrong or a deviation from any kind of normal adult life. I love my life and I couldn’t imagine a baby making that any better.

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