Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Big Plunge

Throughout my twenties, my Italian grandmother lamented my single status. As all her other grandchildren married and reproduced, she was wont to introduce me as her "granddaughter...the unmarried one."

Finally, at the ripe old age of 30, I too got married. This meant that she could stop saying Hail Marys to that effect and I could feel relieved that she'd now stop asking if I'd met any "special friends" during our daily conversations.

I'd earned a blessed reprieve. Or so I'd thought.

Until...she started asking when she'd see great-grandchildren. Ah, le sigh. It seems marriage is not enough for a little Italian nonni.

In much the same way I resisted marriage, I've stubbornly resisted the kid pressure. Maybe it has something to do with all that getting up every three hours for round the clock feedings. And cleaning up someone else's poop. And the whole 18 years (minimum) of undue responsibility--the idea of another (utterly helpless!) little being depending on you for their food and safety and care. I couldn't just go away for the weekend with friends or hubby anymore.  I couldn't have wine with dinner, mimosas with brunch, or vodka...ever?! (OK fine - not "ever," but at least for a year or two given pregnancy and breastfeeding).

That level of commitment is so very intense and overwhelming. And I'm kind of a wimp and definitely a commitment-phobe. Which basically boils down to...fuhgeddaboudit.

So here I am, nearly 34, and my biggest responsibilities are my indoor plants year-round, and my garden in the summer. No fish. No cats. No big burden of responsibility.

Until I decided I was ready for at least a little more responsibility. And suddenly, getting up every three hours for the first few months and cleaning up someone else's poop didn't sound quite as bad.

Which is how I knew I was ready for the big plunge: a puppy!

Enter: Pelu. An adorable mutt from MacAllen, Tx. Her mom was a cockapoo (half cocker spaniel, half poodle and trust me, that sounds better than the alternative "poodlecock") and the dad is a mystery. My vet says she looks like a border terrier. And given that, at five months, she's only growing longer and not taller, I think she may be part long-haired dachshund as well.

I got up every few hours to let her out for the first few days of housetraining. Then I realized this tiny puppy and I were soulmates: she could hold it for at least eight hours. Heaven! Mama can sleep!

Yes, she is utterly dependent on me for her care, food, safety, and well-being. But surprisingly, that isn't as terrifying as I'd feared. I can actually handle it. She loves to snuggle. She can entertain herself for hours while I work. She naps like a champ. And she has a sassy, loving, irrascible personality that is entirely endearing.

Which makes her just about the most perfect little creature in the world and exactly the right amount of responsibility.

Still not ready for kids though! :) a boss