… in our family (Carol’s). Can we call it a ritual? I’m not quite sure yet because I’m still discerning its symbolic significance. Maybe you can help.

Each time we travel and visit people around the globe we love so much, and those people happen to own and proudly show off an adorable pet, we – despite my insistence that we will “Never!” No! No. No way!” – get one too.

Two years ago, it was Belle (the 3 lb Yorkie) who inspired us to adopt Fred. Ah, Fred. My third child and favorite furry friend.

A few weeks ago it was MoMo (the 8 inch, 13 year old leopard Gecko) who motivated us to find and welcome Tiki into our home. With Tiki – our 8 month old leopard gecko – comes a whole new ritual: buying and storing live gut-loaded crickets, monitoring the temperature of this little guy’s terrarium (his origins are Pakistan, and it tends to be moist and hot there), staying up late to see if he’ll come out of his hut (he’s nocturnal, of course) and shamelessly spouting gecko facts about the neighborhood gatherings.

Welcome, Tiki!

Oh my. What am I doing?!

I want to believe I’m teaching my children how to care for the animals (and reptiles) of the earth. Whatever the rationale, here’s a warning to our far away friends with pets: we will not be visiting you any time soon.