My wife Emily and I have seen most of our friends become parents over the past six or seven years. It’s been painful at times as we don’t have children of our own. But as our friends’ children grow up, any discomfort we’ve experienced has eased.
As childless parents, our cats have become our kids. It might sound corny to some, but for animal lovers it won’t. We adopted our oldest cat, Tashi, a few months before my old man died. I never knew I could love an animal as much as I love her. At night, she’ll crawl up on our bed and sit between our pillows. I press my ear to her belly and listen to her purr. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I wake up overcome with emotion because I know that one day she’ll die and life will continue without her. It almost makes me sick and I imagine that’s a small variation of the kind of anxiety parents must feel all the time about their kids.
I don’t miss having children now. I enjoy the ones I know. And I cherish every day with my wife and our two cats. I force myself to stop and appreciate the moment–like I do every time Mariano Rivera pitches–because it’s just a moment, and no matter how tightly I hold on to it, time slips through your fingers and nothing lasts forever.