her name

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{Image is a photo of Katie on ‘Sconset Beach, looking out over the water.}

The other night, Katie came into my room clutching a single, lined sheet of paper. “Mama,” she said, the excitement palpable in her voice, “can I show you something?”

I sat up and put on my glasses, eager to see her treasure.

“We had to write about our names for English,” she said. “What they mean to us. I kinda like what I wrote. Want to read it?”

As I read, I smiled.

We chose Katie’s (real) name the week before she was born. I’d love to tell you that it’s a family name or a name that we’d always known we’d give our first child. It was neither. I’d love to tell you that we came upon it while backpacking through Europe as starving college graduates or that it was a favorite character in an Elizabethan poem, but I’d be lying. We never went backpacking in Europe and I’m not even sure which poets are Elizabethan.

It was simply a name that Luau found in a baby name book one day, just after we’d discarded the one that we’d been set on for months. The one that we’d thought was so unique … until my dad sent us the prior year’s census data. It was the fourth most popular baby name of 2000. The revelation had sent us back to the drawing board (and back to the baby name books.)

So we were combing through them, searching. And, without warning nor fanfare, there it was. A name that had never even been on the list. Any list. A name that we knew, almost immediately, was right.

Thanks to mine and Luau’s backgrounds (mine’s Russian while his Mom is Japanese and his Dad is a healthy mix that includes but is not limited to: Irish, Scottish, English, German, and Native American), our kids are such an amalgam of ethnicities that nearly any name we found would be a nod to at least some part of their heritage. With both British and Gaelic, we had at least two covered. It was just … it.

And so it is that thirteen and a half years later, my girl is writing about that name – HER name – and what it means to her. And I know I’m her mom, but damn it, I’m going to say this anyway …  it is AWESOME.

With her generous permission, this is what she wrote.

My name is my identity, and I like it. It suits me. It’s like white tigers, rare, unique, beautiful, and fierce. It is brave and tough, while still feminine. It shows that while I am a princess, I am not a damsel in distress. I am Rapunzel, but I am not stuck in a tower. I am Cinderella, but my fate does not depend on a shoe and a prince.

My name says I can be free and happy. It says that I can run with the deer. It says that there is nothing I can’t do. To me, my name means running through the woods. It is showing that though I am small in stature, I can still win races against the fastest opponents, climb the tallest trees, and brawl with the best of them. It is having my hair tied back in a braid, beautiful and strong.

{My name} is to be fierce, proud, and tough while still being kind and selfless. To be {my name} is to be brave. It’s to be peaceful and happy with who I am and who the people I am acquainted with are. {My name} is freedom, and I wouldn’t like it any other way.

Yep, I’d say it couldn’t possibly be more right.

21 thoughts on “her name

  1. I have always loved her and her name and it suited her from the moment she was born. I’m thrilled that she loves it as much as we do.

    Love you,
    Mom

  2. That little acorn fell just under the Oak tree. Her style is her and that’s an amalgam of mommy and ——.
    I’m thrilled she loves her name but even more impressed by how she describes her feelings. She is so very talented, just like her mom.
    Lucky girl, wonderful girl..
    Love you all,
    Dad

  3. Wow! She is a great writer like her mom. To have such self confidence at her agree it’s a gift. It means her parents have definitely done something right. Congrats!

  4. Did you dodge the Hannah bullet?! I didn’t! But my girl was born in 1999, so it wasn’t yet overly popular.

    I have to say, Katie has quite a way with words, much like her mama! And how awesome that she is proud of and loves her name!

  5. Seriously made me tear up. That was beautiful, Katie. I’m betting your name fits you perfectly, as does Brooke’s. Picking out names was so stressful for my husband and I. I’m happy to say that I love our children’s names, and hope they do as well. Thank you for sharing your amazing words.

  6. She has inherited your gift of words, for sure. Such an amazing girl you have there, in so many ways. I agree with her about her name. You see, I stumbled upon their real names awhile back, and while I would never disrespect your family by revealing them, I love how she connects with her unique name.

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