Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Ceridwen Rose Jones Buttimore
by Anna Jones Buttimore
My youngest started school yesterday. (That's her in the picture, all ready to set off.) It's all a bit poignant in an end-of-an-era kind of way, so I wanted to be completely self indulgent and use this blog as a retrospective on one wonderful little girl. Sorry. Normal service will doubtless be restored tomorrow by one of my esteemed fellows who knows how to write meaningful stuff rather than just waxing lyrical on their own offspring.
Ceri didn't have the most auspicious start in life. My husband and I separated after years of turbulent marriage in December 2003. My widowed father-in-law was in poor health, and when it became clear that he wasn't coming out of hospital anytime soon, my husband - his only child - moved into his house. We'd stuck together, really, just to avoid upsetting his Dad, but we figured what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
In mid-January Idwal died. I made the funeral arrangements, and also popped in to see a solicitor to get the long-anticipated divorce underway. Two days after the funeral it dawned on me that something was awry. A quick trip to the chemist, and I was in shock. Pregnant. The divorce became final in August and I moved back to England, and to a new ward, as a pregnant, single, Mormon mother. Not usually the best combination of adjectives.
We knew the baby was another girl, so Gwenllian, Angharad and I took votes on names. The two shortlisted names were Rhiannon (the name of the heroine of a Welsh folk tale) and Ceridwen (which means "White verse" and is the name of the Welsh muse/goddess of poetry). I liked Rhiannon, actually, but got outvoted and, of course, now she could never be anything but Ceri. It's also much easier for all her English relatives, friends and teachers to say.
Quick digression here to tell you that Angharad's name means "Much loved". We call her Hari for short, and she's 8 years old now. Gwenllian (Gwen) just turned 14. She was named after the last Welsh Princess of Wales, and her name means "White dishcloth". Long story.
Anyway, Ceri is now 4 and has been such a wonderful addition to our family that I feel guilty about how long it took me to get over the shock of her existence. (She was six months old before I could stop frowning at her and asking "What are you doing here? I didn't order you.") She is loving, and funny, and beautifully behaved. When she's angry she just frowns and sulks - no screaming fits or tantrums. She occasionally issues terrifying threats - "If you don't let me have another biscuit I'll... I'll... go to bed!" She can make a game out of anything. One day I caught her playing with a statue of the Saviour and the framed photo of my (lovely new) husband. They were having a conversation. "Hello Jesus, I'm Daddy." "Hello Daddy, I'm Jesus." "Shall we go out to play?"
I think I now understand just why Ceri had to defy the odds and join our family, and Roderic, my new(ish) husband is part of that. Probably due to my advanced old age (I'm 41 this month) it looks as though we won't be having any children of our own, but Roderic has known Ceri since she was 3 months old, when I brought her with me to a Single Adult Fireside. He picked me up for a date when I was starting her on solid food for the first time, and she was a bridesmaid at our wedding. In fact I had to hold her (she was 18 months old and a bit perturbed by all the pomp and circumstance) as I said my vows.
She calls Roderic "Daddy", and as far as he is concerned, he is her Daddy. Her sisters utterly dote on her, and, as you may be able to tell, I'm really rather fond of her too. She's walking, chattering proof that those unexpected little shocks which throw out all your plans can turn out to be the greatest blessings of all.
So here she is (front) coming out of school at the end of her first day. She loved it. Which is good, because she has at least twelve more years of schooling to go...