I have a confession to make. Something that has been on my conscience for a while now. Since it has all to do with my astronomom situation, I though I would shamelessly use this blog as an outlet for the tad of guilt I'm carrying.
Here it goes. The story goes back to the hectic last few weeks of my PhD. Boyfriend and I were defending our theses within a couple of weeks and were working like crazy to meet the deadlines, we had an enthusiastic 2 year old to entertain in the meanwhile, and we had to plan and pack for a transatlantic move a few weeks later. Did I forget to mention that we were also desperately trying to potty train Chatton - a requirement of his new kindergarden where we were about to move? The scene was set for a disaster.
But surprisingly, trouble didn't come from where we expected it. We both managed to finished writing our theses and defended them succesfully, Chatton actually enjoyed helping us pack, and one day as if by magic he started going to the potty and never had an accident ever since (and it was not looking good at all until that day, so it truly was a small miracle!).
The problem in this case came from an actor I haven't introduced so far, the fourth member of the family at that time: the Cat. We lived in a house well in the countryside, and with his fancy home-made cat-door (the kind of things we had the time to do before having a kid!), he had really gone back to his roots of a wild hunting beast. For that (and many other reasons), we couldn't face bringing him to a small 4th floor city apartment. So we had decided to find him a new home before moving. But with all the thesis/moving/potty nightmare, looking for this new home sadly fell down our list of priority, until close to the last minute.
After advertising (and receiving a lot of hate mail in the process - "how can you think of leaving you cat behind? why don't you give up your kid as well?" - don't get me started on that!), we finally found a new home for him at the very last minute. He would move to another house in a similar rural setting, with a family that already had another cat, so we felt good about this ( yet mostly relieved to have found something).
So we finished packing and the next day left town for our new adventure. A couple of weeks later, we learned through the branches that the new family had kept Cat inside a few days to get him adjusted, but the first chance he got, he ran out, never to be seen again. And here comes the guilt. Had we not been so overwhelmed with other things, perhaps we would have been more careful in finding Cat a new home? a better one perhaps he wouldn't have escaped from? He was such a wild beast that I trust that he could make a good living in the wild, or perhaps he has found a new home of his own. We will never know, and it's been bothering me.
Overall I think we were pretty successful at handling this challenging time in our family and professional lives. It's really sad that Cat was the one having to pay for this... In his name and for all the other times when I or other parents in similar situations have dropped the ball like this, I hope you all forgive me! (don't hesitate to share stories that could make me feel better about all this in the comments!)