We don't have any pets. This is purely practical: Dave and I both work full-time, and I haven't wanted to take on any extra care of other beings until the kids are old enough to contribute.
But I feel guilty about that, and feel some loss too. I always had dogs and cats growing up -- in New York City, no less! I loved having animals, it was a normal daily part of our lives. Somehow it all seemed easier then. But my kids -- nothing.
Today, Gabriel brought home a silkworm from his class. Each kid had their own silkworm and watched it go through the first few stages of life. I was really surprised at how enraptured Gabriel was with his silkworm, tenderly wrapping its paper house and mulberry tree leaves so it wouldn't get rained on. He even named it! "Scissors." Julian and Katrina were fascinated, and they all spent a lot of time watching this tiny hapless creature and talking about it. They all love the closest thing they've had yet to a pet.
Dave put it well a few years ago: "There is no void in our lives that needs to be filled right now." And it's true; we're already so on-the-edge, with so little margin for error, I can't imagine how we'd fit in an animal right now. (Ironically the time I spend blogging could easily be put to changing a litter box, but that's another story.)
Still, seeing how excited and happy the kids were with "Scissors" drives another stake of guilt through my heart, and breaks it just a little more. Childhood without pets? How can that be?!