“Our children?” I responded. “Oh, they are fine. Getting into their share of mischief.”
“I guess pets do become our children,” he said. “After our sons left for college, we became much more attached to Pom, our Pomeranian.” “Clever name,” I said. “Do you ever worry about stepping on your dog?” “Never been a problem, but Pom really misses the boys, even though they didn’t pay all that much attention to her. But seriously, I believe pets do become our children, and there is nothing wrong with that.” Speaking of children,” Jim continued, “a writer I know recently interviewed me. She is interviewing judges, lawyers, and other professionals about the difficulty raising children, I mean, real children, while devoting full time to one’s profession.” “What do you mean, ‘I mean, real children?” I asked. The employer defense attorney helps protect businesses from legal disputes based on these employment laws.
“Oh, yes, I forgot, your cats are your real children.” “She should interview me about my children,” I said.“You’re not serious.” “I can pull this off,” I said. “It’s not about pulling it off.”
“Ask the writer to interview Stephanie and me.” “Your wife will never go along with this.” “If I can’t convince her to do the interview with me, I’ll do it alone.” Jim thought a minute. “This might be interesting. I’m not sure if her deadline has passed, but I will give her your number.” He paused. “I find it curious how ready you liberals are to deceive yourselves and others.”
What was that supposed to mean? Equating my cats to children did not make me Bernie Madoff. Despite our usual sparring, we took a cheery leave of one another. The very next day I got a call from Dora, the writer. “Hi Judge, I’m Dora. Judge Regent told me you would agree to an interview for my article on the rigors professionals face in raising kids and working to maintain a high standard of living. I want to explore how a judge achieves justice at home in raising kids.”
We agreed to meet for lunch at the end of the week. Now let’s be clear. I know that cats are not the same as children. Cats require less care. Unlike children, they are self-sufficient. This fundamental feline characteristic is disregarded in our home. Our cats are spoiled. When Stephanie and I got married, we talked about having children, but it was only talking. Stephanie argued that because we had not “grown-up” ourselves, it was not advisable to have children. “Children having children,” she said, “like some of the cases you get in dependency court.”
I could not but help think that she meant I had not grown up, and most likely never would and that whatever number of children we might have had, there would be one more. So instead of children, we got cats. I call them “our children.” This drives Stephanie nuts. She protested, “They are not children. We don’t need babysitters. We can go to movies, plays, and dinner as we please.” “True,” I acknowledged, “but when we take trips, we get a house. I mean, a cat sitter. And we talk to our cats like they are our babies. Ridiculous. They are grown-up for cats.” I paused, “Come on, it would be a fun thing to do.”
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