If you want to feel loved, needed, invaluable, get a bird. That little face, the soft and fluffy feathers, the poop on every conceivable surface, the seams of your favorite shirt chewed through, ah yes, there is nothing like a bird. It's like having a toddler AND a teenager all rolled into one, except the part about putting them in their cage if they get cranky.
I ran home last night to set the Tivo to record women's figure skating and change, and I had a few minutes to play with Fritz, so I took him out and talked to him and scratched him and gave him safflower seed. When I had to leave and put him back in his cage, he turned, looked at me and uttered a tiny little "cheep?" in a sad, questioning tone. As I shut the front door behind me and turned to bolt it, I heard his plaintive cries through the door. They gradually escalated as he realized that I wasn't coming back.
I'm a terrible mother.