Metaphor for a Buttercup

I took the brave decision to extricate myself from the Brightonian beach yesterday in favour of attempting the countryside.  (I am much more a fan of sea salty air and seagull watching than of creepy crawlies and buzzy bees, hence why I have never, and will never, go camping.)  I have been intending to take myself to Devil’s Dyke since one of the tour operators sold me on the idea when I was here a few weekends ago.  So after a lavish hotel breakfast and an hour’s lay in the sun on the pebbles, feeling like Uncle Travelling Matt, I donned my back pack and headed for the bus stop.

On a clear day the views from up there would be stunning; but I could make out the varying greens of patchwork England well enough, despite the low cloud cover.  It was peace that I sought and I most definitely found it.  I adore the beach, but my ten minutes of tranquility ran into trouble when the Carousel behind me fired up and the Pier to the left of me opened, pumping out chart tunes for the thrill riders.  Up on the Downs this was far from an issue.  I found a nice, quiet spot off the rambler’s track, beneath and betwixt two tall trees.  The only sounds were nature’s rustling and chirping; the occasional panting dog and gravel crunching passer by.  Finally, I was alone with my thoughts, of which are plentiful at present.

Scattered about me were wildly bright flowers in amongst tall blades of grass and short, stubby clover – though not a four leafed specimen to be seen, alas.  It was a buttercup that grabbed my attention the most; so rich in colour; such a vibrant yellow and, for a moment, I wanted to pluck it to hold in my hands.  I hesitated over it whilst it occurred to me that should I take it from its dwelling and claim it for my own, I take possession of it, but for what?  To place beneath my chin and discover that I do indeed like butter as the yellow reflects onto my skin (as my Mum and Nan did when I was a child); to spin it rapidly, yet whimsically, between two fingers; simply to take a closer look; perhaps to be placed behind my ear for decoration?  Ultimately, it would be cast aside, limp, useless, dead and wasted.

I’m sure this could be a metaphor for a multitude of things; but for this seemingly eternally single girl, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is a better way to exist; to be left to blossom alone.  So many relationships I see, regardless of sexuality, are unhealthily codependent.  The romantic notion of two individuals being so in love with each other that they wouldn’t want to walk this Earth with any other is perfectly beautiful in my eyes.  This is totally different, however, from the couples who live in eachother’s pockets simply because they can’t bear to be alone…..and I won’t even broach the ridiculousness that is their idea of jealousy being a healthy component in a relationship….it really isn’t.  Quite like the buttercup thieves, they pluck one another from where they stand and take ownership of eachother’s lives.  When this happens pieces of what you once were slowly die until you are changed; unrecognisable.  Having had a codependent partner I can fully identify with this.  Before and after her I remain vibrant, free; I am that independent, thriving buttercup, left alone; I would say for all to enjoy but that would imply something potentially very rude and/or arrogant, and truly, promiscuity has never been my thing.

As far as relationships go, one must only hope to find the like of which enables us to thrive regardless, to be as powerful apart as we are together; to be able to stand alone and come together on equal footing; to be together in spirit, mind and heart, when not together in body, and cope perfectly well.  Anything else seems pointless to me.

And as for the buttercup, I left it where it was, untouched, alive, hopefully for somebody else to enjoy it’s simple beauty after I’d gone, as another may have done before me; and I promptly returned to the beach.
  
JG 25.05.15

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All About The (Baby) Boy

Being able to share in someone’s joy is a distinct privilege and honour, especially when it is due to a life changing event.  Earlier this week our department threw a baby shower for a colleague.   A few of us early birds gathered in the decorated office, eagerly awaiting her entrance and consequent reactionary surprise.  Sleepy-eyed and unaware of the spotlight, she breezed in to find a sea of faces gazing upon her, lit with mischievous smiles, glistening eyes and, with bated breath, we watched her expression change from quiet calm to happy chaos.  Balloons bobbed around on weighted ribbons, others taped to her computer screen; bunting and banners adorned walls and doors; wispy pastel coloured shapes floated down from the ceiling; a ‘Mum to be’ sash sat perched on the back of her chair, wanting to be worn; and a large blue-iced sponge cake with letter block design atop, sat proudly at the centre of her desk, hand made by a colleague.  Suffice to say she was shocked. Once we felt she had been embarrassed enough we dispersed wishing her a happy shower day. 

At lunch time we laid out the party food, to which we’d all contributed, enough to afford us lunches and snacks for the remainder of the week.  On display, upon a cleared desk sat a large cardboard box, dressed in baby themed wrapping paper, overflowing with gifts. Rather than a collection we’d opted to buy presents individually. For a department of around 20 staff this was an impressive, and very generous, haul. 

Now, I’m not a fan of babies, but I am a fan of parties, especially of helping to organise them; and this party was extra special.  The mum-to-be silently suffers an irrelievable pain that comes from being unable to carry your own child. What should be every woman’s natural born right – to procreate – has been denied her; for a woman with such maternal instincts and desire for a child, this truly is one of life’s cruellest injustices. However much it will remain a tragic lament in the depths of her heart, it should pale into insignificance thanks to the imminent arrival of a 9month old baby boy into her and her partner’s lives.

The adoption process is arduous and characteristically intrusive with good reason of course; the safeguarding of a child is paramount; but considering two spotty teenage oiks can perform a drunken have-at-it and immediately fall pregnant, the lengths two genuine and decent people have to go to seems relentlessly burdening.  Still, perseverance has proffered what they wished for; a child to raise and call their own. Biology isn’t everything and it’ll make them no less of a Mummy and Daddy, in fact it’ll make them more so.

After the lunch and gift opening had finished and all was cleared away, as if right on cue, she received a call from her social worker to confirm the adoption had been signed off and paperwork was in the post. It was official. All that remains is for them to be introduced and, at the end of a week of supervised meets, bring him home; a beautiful new chapter to begin together. 

For the rest of us, we are all sharing in their joy. We’ve been kept in the loop over the last year as to what stage they were at; the trials, the hopes, the upsets and now the reward.  It’s fair to say that we all feel we’ve adopted a part of this baby boy; we are Aunties in waiting (and one Uncle.) No doubt we’ll be seeing him inside and outside of the office very soon.

On the whole, at work, we are a unified team. The women I work with are incredibly compassionate, generous, loving, caring.  Having been on the receiving end of the cushion of love and support they instinctively provide at times of need, I knew exactly how the mum-to-be felt….overwhelmed.  Needless to say the bubba has no idea how much love and fun he is about to inherit from his new folks….not to mention his army of work Aunties!  How unique it is to proudly call your colleagues family.

JG 23.05.15