Parenthood is one of the most fulfilling experiences... a wonderful galore of emotions of love and pain, and a lifetime full of rich memories. But it's never easy to let go of a child on its own journey to explore life... young ones leaving the nest is not taken lightly by mamas and papas.
We remember the times when our parents were our universe....their warmth and affection were all that we wanted. But we humans, unfortunately evolve over time.... our thoughts, our views, our attitudes go through a gradation of transformation, leaving our poor parents baffled and disappointed. Generation gap as they say, only seems to grow with every passing year. Parents never want to let go of the joy of parenting...and children seem to suffocate from it when they feel they have outgrown.
I am not a parent yet, but I am close to one now... I am parenting a fish. My dear little Bubbles. When the eerie, heavy feeling sinks at the pit of my stomach as I leave him at my friend's house before I head out for a vacation, I remember how my mother would have felt seeing me take off. As I repeatedly remind my friend how to feed him, I see glimpses of my mother over-protecting me. When I dream of Bubbles dying and drowning (a fish drowning!), and keep calling my friend to check on him, I realize how my mother goes through paranoia about me and ends up getting yelled by me. When I worry myself sick over his infection and his pale ill face, I realize how my parents would have felt hearing I was sick in another continent. A little fish made me realize the parent in me... and made me realize what parenting is.
But you see, contrary to us human children getting all the more rebellious with time, pets turn all the more loyal and obedient to us with the passage of time. Bubbles eats what I feed, with never a word of complaint, he comes where I go, doesn't argue with me on when his water needs to be changed, what plants he will have in his home, where his tank is to be kept... and which female buddy he can have (once he gets well). Bubbles doesn't disappoint me in anyway... unless of course he dies after all the mammoth effort I have been expending to keep him alive.
Pets like him are ideal for parents who never want to let go of parenting. And such dedicated loving parents deserve the reciprocation of a faithful, sincere being. No matter how you treat them, they always come running to you with no word of complaint. The term 'unconditional' love is truly applicable to pets. No wonder people get so attached to pets, and many in western lands prefer pets over babies :).
So the next time you see an old man inviting you to the birthday party of his little puppy, don't judge him, don't smirk or laugh at the idiocy of it.... realize that both the old man and the puppy deserve the party more than any one of us. The next time I meet my parents, I'm going to gift them a pet... so they can experience the eternal joy of parenthood. They truly deserve it...