When my husband and I were expecting our children, a lot of thought went into choosing their names. We wanted their monikers to have meaning, and not just decide their lifelong label by choosing from the “top ten most popular girls names of 1998”, or naming them after celebrities or famous athletes. Of course, we couldn’t possibly know that our three children would grow into their names like they grew into hand-me-down clothing. It’s almost as if we pre-destined them to have these amazing personalities just by naming them for traits we admired.
My first daughter’s name means “strength”, and she is the epitome of all things strong. She is a little mother to her siblings and someone her friends look up to and admire. She stays tough, even when most people would bend or break. Her name fits her perfectly.
My son’s name means “defender, protector”, and he is living up to that meaning as a loving brother to his two sisters. He is the first person to throw his arms around me and tell me he loves me when he sees I’m having a bad day (which sadly, is more often than not). He sticks up for anyone being teased, and he is a true defender and protector of his girls (myself included) and his friends. He is a little man with a strong sense of family responsibility.
My baby, my ten-year old daughter who suffers from mental illness, has the most suitable name of all. Her name stands for “little hero”, and she has suffered more in her short ten years than most people might have the misfortune to experience in a lifetime. She falls two steps backward, but leaps three steps forward. She just keeps trudging along, pointing forward, trying to stay positive. She is a hero to her parents and to her brother and sister because she never gives up. She knows that life for her is going to be tougher than for other kids her age, but she tries so hard not to let that get her down. She is my hero, and will continue to be even when she is grown.
My husband (if you’re a regular follower you know we are separated) is also my hero. But his name has an even more fitting meaning: “mighty king, ruler, chieftain”. Did his mother know when she named him that he would grow to be this amazing man who “rules” over his family with love and compassion? Who would take charge of the issues surrounding his family and stay strong in the face of adversity? Did she know how aptly his name would suit him, as the president of a small corporation and the head of a growing household? That he would make decisions he believed to be best for the welfare of his children? That he would be king of his castle, never backing down, always standing his ground and never, ever going back on his decisions?
I should mention, finally, that after we investigated names for all of our children, I decided to look up the meaning of my name. I received my name as a “gift” from my father – it is the feminized version of his name, and of his father before him. I have always hated it. It is unusual and non-phonetic, making it impossible for others to spell, pronounce or remember. When I discovered its meaning, I hated it even more. And in the last year, I have come to find that for me, the meaning of my name suits me better than I wish to admit.
My name means “blind”.
Blind to the dangers of bipolar disorder. Blind to the consequences of bad behavior on account of my illness. Blind to my illness in general, refusing to seek help when first diagnosed, blind to the fact that if I didn’t reach out I would lose my world. Blind to realizing that my actions and inactions would cost me some of my friends and family, my home, my faith, my children’s trust, and the man who loved me.
Blind. How fitting.