Pet-care promises skip a generation

When we were children, my brother, sister, and I begged our parents for a puppy. "We will take complete care of it," we promised. "We will train it, clean up after it, feed it, and you won't even know it is in the house!"

My strongest memory of that time is my mother holding an umbrella in the backyard while the puppy did her business in the rain. For the first day or so, we did keep our word. But it took only a couple of smelly messes and bad weather for us to groan that we could not be expected to do that. So my mother added one more dependent: Daisy the beagle.

I should have known what would happen when my own four children begged for a kitten.

"We promise we will take care of it," they chorused. "We will do everything. You won't even know it is in the house! We will even have a garage sale to pay for the vet."

For Mother's Day that year, they gave me a new litter scoop.

Needless to say, I am the one who cleans the smelly litter box and hauls the heavy bag of food home from the store. I am also the one who takes Belle, the kitten, to the vet and writes out the check.

I am metaphorically standing in the rain with an umbrella and the puppy on a leash.

But I also resurrected an old doll carriage for Belle to sleep in. I bought her a Christmas stocking and found special treats to fill it with. I have a camera ready to take pictures when she is "just adorable." I am enjoying my newest baby.

Yes, Mom, I am finally caring completely for a pet. It's just a generation later than I said I would.

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