When you get into your 30s, babies become a part of your life, whether you want them to or not.
What I mean is that even if you're an unmarried 32-year-old who is physically incapable of producing children (as I am), your friends, most of whom are likely to be around the same age as you, are often starting families of their own.
Make no mistake: I'm happy for my friends and relatives who have kids. They're very happy to be parents and are pretty fantastic parents to boot. But a guy like me definitely becomes an outlier.
And normally, I'm fine with that. But there's one area in which I feel left out. I'm talking about the baby shower.
"But Bill," you might be thinking. "Why would baby showers make you feel left out? You won't ever have a baby." That may be true, but think about what a baby shower is: It's a celebration of bringing a new life into your family and an opportunity for friends and family to mark that celebration with gifts that will help make the process of incorporating that new life into yours easier.
And while I will never bring a new human life into mine, I have brought and will bring new lives into mine. When I was 23, I adopted a guinea pig and then in 2011, I adopted Chester. And in neither of those situations did anyone offer to throw me a shower and get me gifts to make the process of incorporating these new lives into mine easier.
What I'm saying is this: I want a puppy shower. And before you jump on me for being greedy and just wanting gifts, let's not pretend that baby showers (as well as wedding showers and engagement parties) don't come with the expectation that attendees bring gifts and that the expectation of gifts is a large part of why people want to have baby showers. And so what? Who doesn't love gifts, right?
I'm not going to get into the debate over whether getting a dog is the same level of life-changing as having a kid. I think it is; others disagree. Nobody's going to change anyone's mind based off this blog post, so let's not even get into it.
That said, there are similarities and of them, one of the most striking is the similarity in terms of how much stuff is required. Kids need clothes, diapers, toys, beds, bedding, food, books. Dogs need many of those things, too. And as is the case with stuff for kids, stuff for dogs can get expensive.
And yet, while baby showers are an expected part of the baby-having process, dog-parents-to-be aren't offered the same. Admittedly, I've never offered to throw a friend a puppy shower (I also don't have that many friends who have brought dogs into their lives recently), but the more I think about it, the more fun I think it'd be.
I guess the larger point here is that while you may not think bringing a dog/cat/guinea pig/Burmese python into a family is as big a deal as bringing a child into a family, many people do. On top of that, our society-at-large is starting to change its attitudes about the importance/significance of animals as family members (see my previous posts about "pawternity leave" and paid pet bereavement leave).
And I think it's time our rituals started to reflect that.
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- Chester's Instagram: @Chester_Terrier
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