The pause in action while we wait gives me a chance to tell you a story from our home study process over the summer. I’ve top-lined for you how invasive it felt, but I don’t know that I accurately expressed the pressure that comes with the process. We were at the mercy of someone else’s timeline, experience, and judgment, and it felt intense every day. We didn’t get stuck on the fact that none of that would have been necessary if we had been lucky enough to have any of the really expensive sperm we bought find any of my older (and probably scrambled) eggs interesting, but it certainly entered our mind from time to time. Throughout the process, though, we were keenly aware that it’s a necessary part of the process that we respect so much, and I like to think we are some of the good guys that our Social Worker Hero was secretly rooting for, even though she couldn’t say so.
It took several months to gather the residency, relationship, financial and medical documents, including vet records for our cats, and having a fire inspector come to our home to certify that we are not a fire hazard. We went through the first round of interviews, and then had to wait a few weeks for the second and final round. When the day arrived, we were so ready to finish this process and move on to waiting for the final report.
We went to bed early the night before, and got up early with plenty of time to have coffee and get centered in the morning before our Social Worker Hero arrived at our home. So the scene in play is that we’re both half dressed, and at varying levels of progress on hair and makeup and talking through how excited we are to complete this step that had finally arrived. We both made our way to the closet in our bedroom, and while we’re standing there, our smallest, youngest, most anxiety-filled cat (who wasn’t quite a year old at the time) shows up in the closet. I looked at her and thought she had some schmutz on her fur – maybe a piece of yarn or carpet or something. As I tried to wipe it off, I realized it wasn’t any of those things, but instead it was poo. Her own poo. And it wasn’t solid.
As I got closer to her I realized there was more than I initially observed, and I ran to the bathroom to get the wet wipes (we all use those, right?). I tried to wipe her clean, but to no avail. She was a mess, and we looked at each other and agreed…she needed a bath. If you’ve ever tried to give a cat a bath, chances are you still have the scars to prove it. Aside from squirting said cat with liquid dish soap and throwing her in the toilet and holding the lid down, there is no simple way to make this happen easily. Generally, cats hate water, and knowing we only had about 15 minutes until our appointment time, we sprang into action. Laura jumped in the shower while holding the cat, and I did the best I could to wash her fur without upsetting her to the point where she would cause bodily harm to Laura. Although she did some damage to Laura, the bloodshed could have been a lot worse. We towel-dried the cat as best we could and put her in a bedroom where she couldn’t get under the bed fast enough to avoid further human contact…she wasn’t having her best day.
Laura was now covered in poo and had to jump back in the shower and accelerate through the end of getting ready with out five minutes to go until our appointment time. And somewhere during that process it hit us both. Where did this blessed event happen in our home?? Laura finished getting ready, and I ran downstairs to make sure that our Social Worker Hero wasn’t arriving to the home smeared in cat poo – which, no matter our hearts and intentions, would most certainly have to disqualify us from parenthood, right? By the grace of G-d, the incident was in the basement, and could wait until after our interviews for cleaning attention.
All in, we laughed our way through it, and shared the story with our Social Worker Hero, who is a mom and finds poop stories hilarious. We all agreed this was hazing for parenthood – where despite our best efforts, we will likely find ourselves at some point, running late for something super-important, and giving/taking extra baths. Never mind fire and water…this future Jewish mother is certain that parenthood involves baptism by poop.