Crying Over Cat Turds

Six months ago, I came home from work and was smacked in the face with the reality that I now had another mouth to feed. No, my wife, Jaime, wasn’t pregnant again. We had her tubes tied, filled with concrete and filed all the necessary paperwork with the Housing Authority to label her womb uninhabitable. But it felt just as jarring. I was now the father of a kitten that I did not want.

I watched this phone-sized furball scurry across my carpet and felt my inevitable freedom disappear in an instant. Furious at the prospect of now having to care for and clean up the shit of someone else after gradually sniffing the sweet fragrance of caretaking liberation, I walked out, slamming the door behind me and considered taking up smoking so I could go out for cigarettes and never come back.

My car engine roared, as did I, screaming, “I DON’T WANT THIS FUCKING CAT!” to the point where the cars next to me were likely praying for the light to turn green so that they could gun it and get as far the fuck away from this person who was either an unstable cat ingrate or a deadbeat feline father. Either way, my claws were out and I was spraying on everything in sight. I called my wife and gave her the ultimatum that either the cat goes or I do, and the next day, the cat was gone.

But, I had a bad taste in my mouth, a taste somehow worse than that of the cat who had been cleaning his asshole in my living room like he was trying to win a county pie eating contest just hours prior. The night before, I wholeheartedly objected to caring for anything else in my lifetime, but by the next afternoon, that cat was back in my living room becauseĀ if you Google the words “Big Pussy,” you’d see Vincent Pastore from The Sopranos and me.

It’s crazy how you miss the shit that you would once pay anything to end. As time progressed, I reveled in my slowly developing fatherhood freedom. My kids are 17, 13 and 9. Long gone are the days of being jolted awake by crying in the middle of the night, filling bottles with my eyes closed and shoving shitty diapers into a Diaper Genie that smelled like microwaved death. The kids still need me, but in a way that I’ve been much more suited for since Day One. All three kids have become self-sufficient to the point where it’s unnerving, forcing me to make sure they’re still alive and double check that we haven’t joined the ranks of the unaware dead, like Adam and Barbara from Beetlejuice. Fortunately, they’re always still alive and just enjoying their independence.

When the parenting pipe dream of one day reclaiming your independence turns from fantasy to reality, it isn’t on some date that’s been predetermined and worked towards with a series of “x’s” on a calendar. It sneaks up on you after enough “remember when we had to…” conversations with your spouse have been spoken. You say, “God I’m glad we don’t have to do that shit anymore” moments before you’d give anything to have another one of those mini heart attacks that you’d get every fucking time you’d load multiple kids into your back seat, certain that you forgot one. But then you do a head count and see a bunch of angelic faces looking back at you, completely dependent upon you and the care you’ll give them no matter what.

With the kids reveling in their independence, I now have a ton of free time to write, work on Dad Meat Podcast with by buddy Tim Butterly and watch twerk videos until I’m dizzy and in need of a new eye prescription. It rules and is every bit fulfilling as I thought all this free time would be. But thankfully, I also have a cat that I can baby, spoil with attention and feed him treats to the point where I wonder if he’s becoming meow-bidly obese.

 

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