February 12, 2007

Being Needed

I’ve always been very protective of my cats, even since I was young. If they are sick, then I take care of them. If they are unhappy, then I try to cheer them up. If they are in trouble, I want to save them. I don’t know about anyone else but once I adopt a cat it becomes a part of me and I can imagine that being a parent is similar.

I adopted a cat, whom I named Keyser Soze, several years back when I was single. He became a big part of my life because he would go to bed with me at night and hang out with me when I watched tv. He was the only thing I could count on for that period of time.

When I moved back to my parents house he started sneaking outside and this made me nervous since the house was on a main street. Whenever he wouldn’t come home at night I’d go roaming the streets calling his name and not rest until I found him. I remember asking my mom if this panic feeling was what it was like to be a mother and she just gave me a big grin.

Then one day he didn’t come home and still didn’t come home. It turned out he had been hit by a car and I had to find him on the side of the road. The pain was excruciating and it took me a long time to get over that loss.

I love being needed by my cats but I also love how self-sufficient they are. We can be close one moment and the next moment doing our own thing. They don't need constant attention and I can handle the amount they depend on me. If I push them away at one moment because I am busy I don't think that would be considered cruelty.

There is something about caring about another person or a little being that depends on you. I just don’t think I can handle such a huge responsibility by having a child because I still feel I need to depend on myself so much more than I do. Maybe some of us are just never ready to be that needed by anyone.


Laura S. Scott said...

I think you've expressed a common motive for not wanting children. I've heard many people say that they were more comfortable with older children than infants and that's why they remained childfree. Why the aversion to infants? Neediness was expressed as one. Infants need a lot of attention. Older kids are more independent. As an early articulator of my childfree intentions, I recognized this in my teens. I would choose my babysitting jobs carefully, avoiding infants and saying yes to older kids. I once babysat a child that had just been weaned from his mother's breast (at four, go figure) and he made a grab for mine. It took all the will I had not to run sceaming from the house. I just knew that caring for a small infant was not in my cards.
I have people in my life who need me: my husband, my parents, some of the young people I mentor but they don't need me 24/7. For that I am grateful.

Robin said...

Yeah Laura, a 24/7 need is more than I can even comprehend.

Anonymous said...

Robin - I love how self-aware you are and truly feel honored by the respect that you give to those of us who have chosen to parent.

Being needed 24/7, having the responsibility to teach a child everything they need to know to be a good adult (and keeping them safe & healthy along the way) is awesome and terrifying and exhilirating and fulfilling and challenging and fun and, definitely, not for everyone! Just as, I'm sure, hundreds of other life choices are. ((hug))

Robin said...

Maureen - I think parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world and there is no way I couldn't know that given who I live with. It amazes me that so many people do it and do it well.

Anonymous said...

In my case, I don't think it's a matter of not being "ready" to be needed 24/7, but more of not ever wanting to be needed 24/7. I need too much peace and quiet and "down time" in my life. I love my pets and the people in my life dearly, but I don't have a strong drive to be needed.
Respected and cared for yes, needed...no.

Robin said...

Alpha - That's great. I always say "yet" because as you know I'm not 100% purple. I like being needed here and there but I definitely need My Time.

emeraldwednesday said...

A very well written post that clearly articulates some of my own feelings about the level of attention I can give to another being! (I'm also a "cat mom" and love it.)

twiga92 said...

Sometimes I feel like even my cats can be too demanding of me! LOL! I'm definitely one of those people who needs time and space. I think recognizing that about myself has been helpful in putting up boundaries on how much I get involved in things.

Robin said...

Emerald - Yay cat moms!

Twiga - Yeah same here...I like that I can shoe them away when I'm just not in the mood. In the end they can fend for themselves when needed.

Anonymous said...

Robin - I am more of a "slow percolator" when it comes to my childfree status, and my cats have been there for me each step of the way.

Really nice post.