Cat’s Out Of The Bag

I am a product of divorce. Of course, most of my Gen X-er friends are as well. Divorce to my generation is as common as a selfie to Millennials. One thing that I do realize now; however, is that my parents’ generation had families 10-15 years earlier than most of my friends. Some may argue that having kids at a young age is good thing, but I beg to differ.

My mother was in her 20’s when she had me. That blows my mind. Shortly after me came my sister and then the divorce. That’s when things got real. All of a sudden, both of my parents were single, living apart, which, for some reason, made the good things in life now seem like a huge pain in the rear, especially for my mom.

One thing that we could never seem to keep around was a pet. When I was born, my parents got rid of a dog that grew jealous of me, and when my sister was born, we had to give away another beloved pet for the same reason. Apparently, we were not allowed to be a dog family, so my sister and I begged for a low maintenance cat. My mother wasn’t having it. She claimed to be allergic. My sister and I smelled a rat, so we came up with every argument in the book. After my sister found an adorable stray kitten, my mother had little choice and finally relented. We were allowed to keep Bernie, a precious gray kitten, but she had to sleep in the garage.

Not a day would go by that my mother didn’t lament about the allergies. The cat wouldn’t even be in the vicinity, and Mom would moan about sneezing and itchy eyes. Side note – I never SAW the sneezing and itchy eyes, but I sure did hear about them.

Eventually, Bernie moved in with my dad and became an inside/outside cat. It was for the best. Bernie was happy, my sister and I were happy, Dad didn’t care, and Mom stopped grumbling.

Fast forward to my college years and Mom’s empty nest syndrome. She calls me up one day, very excited. “You’ll never guess what I got… The most BEAUTIFUL cat.” Umm, excuse me? Her giddiness did not win me over. I needed answers. I practically reached through the phone to take her by the shoulders and shake her like a rag-doll. “I thought you were allergic?” One thing that I detest and love about my mother is her ability to talk herself into anything. She casually said, “Oh yeah. That went away. I’m OK now,” and it was never mentioned again. My mother has now been through 5 cats. As soon as one passes, she’s off to get another. (Note: She adopts adult Maine Coons with a shorter shelf life. She is not the Dr. Death of housecats.)

The moral of this story is that sometimes, young moms would rather claim to be allergic to something instead of deal with it. In a weird way, I get it.

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