Symbols of Separation

While I was pregnant, I did a lot to prepare for the arrival of our baby. The usual stuff like buying new furniture, buying and making baby clothes, stocking up on essentials like nappies (more on our cloth nappy decision and journey to come later), pre-cooking food, and the list goes on. Having never been particularly fond of sharing lots of pictures on social media, I neglected to purchase or make something really simple; milestone cards. You know, those cute little cards that say how old the bubs is, when they took their first step, smiled for the first time etc. When our son was two weeks old, I decided I would get some.

The day the cards arrived was a significant day for me. Our baby had passed his three week milestone, and I disposed of our flowers.

Flowers? What flowers?

On arriving back at home with our baby, we were greeted with deliveries of flowers from our dear colleagues and friends. I love having flowers in our home, and especially purple flowers because purple is my favourite colour! These bouquets, although bought by different people and from different florists, had similar tones; purple, orange, green. They were lovely. But the thing with flowers is that they are already dying when they’re delivered. It’s only a matter of time before they need to be disposed of, no matter how much flower food and fresh water you give them. Separated from their source, their life is short. They begin to sag, their colours fade, their petals drop, and their stems grow all kinds of yucky smelling growths.

All of the above is obvious, we know this just by looking at dead flowers. But for me, I put off disposing of these flowers for longer than I needed to. They are already dead, I told myself the day before. They are making a mess on the floor, just get rid of them already. But I didn’t want to. The flowers had become inverse symbols of the freshness of this new reality. While the flowers continued to droop, to drop their petals and look sadder and sadder, our baby who was separated from his source at roughly the same time, was growing and thriving. One thrives while the other dies.

Now, these milestone cards I bought have cards for each week of age up until one month. They arrived after his third week. The day they arrived I realised I had missed the opportunity to take those cute milestone photos for the first three weeks. Not a huge loss, but a noticeable one. Next week I can take a cute ‘One Month Old’ photo, but I’ll never have the opportunity to take the earlier ones.

I never took a photo of the flowers. I realised this as I plucked the bouquets out of their vases, and the last of the petals fell to the ground. I had missed the chance to capture them at their most beautiful, in their prime.

Today, I leave you with a picture not of the objects of my affection, but of the symbols of how moments cannot truly be captured, but lived in and through. Symbols of the ones that died and the one that thrives.

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