Must love cats

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While driving home from school recently, I heard my son announce, quite matter-of-factly: “Mila is my girlfriend and when we get married we are having cats.” Until then, I had no idea that Conor, now almost six years old, knew anything about marriage, never mind the fact that he seemed to have already proposed and was quite keen on raising a pet with this girl.
 
I also wasn’t ready for the “birds and the bees” conversation just yet, and definitely had not planned on having it at 3:30pm while doing the school run.
 
One of Conor’s best mates, travelling with us in the back seat, tried to explain the intricacies of the conjugal relationship between husband and wife to Conor. But, fortunately for me, my son was not remotely interested in those details. As far as he was concerned, he and Mila would just need to kiss once and then they could adopt a cat.
 
I felt I need some more clarity about Conor’s views on marriage. But, when I asked why he and his wife would get a pet, he explained with some irritation, “because Mom, that’s what people do when they love each other – they get a pet”.
 
I suppose for children, their first true love other than for their parents is the affection they have for a pet or special friend. So, it would make sense for two people in love to get a cat or a dog as soon as possible.
 
The next morning, I found Conor hard at work, drawing on a piece of paper decorated with Hot Wheels stickers. It was a Valentine’s Day card, lovingly stuck together with some of the kinesiology tape I use to strap up my running injuries. “For Mila?” I asked. “She’s a lucky girl.”
 
“No, Mama, it’s for you.”
 
Best. Valentine. Ever.
 
And whoever does get to own a pet with Conor one day, hopefully many, many years after he’s grasped the finer details of married life, is also going to be very lucky indeed.
 
Anél is hoping that by buying a hamster, Erin and Conor will forget about asking any questions about the birds and the bees, just yet.

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