Thursday, November 04, 2010

What's in a Name?

"...that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet..."  W. Shakespeare

Yeah right, Jules.

I obsessed over the name of our baby girl.  Like completely, over-the-top, couldn't commit, obsessed.  As in almost left the hospital without a name.  As in broke into sobbing tears over it more than once.  As in still wasn't completely sure we'd picked the right one even when we'd picked.

You see, I've always loved names.  I love the significance of naming something with meaning and purpose.  Every plaything, pet and person of mine has named, renamed or nicknamed my entire life.  My beloved little stuffed animal puppy I was given during my second Christmas had about 15 names before I finally settled on Dixie (who, incidentally, was the name of a character in All My Children) at the age of about seven.  I had (ok, fine, have) lists of dozens of names for horses and pets.  For years as a child, I dreamed I would one day have triplets daughters (heaven help my crazy little brain) named- get ready- Victoria, Michelle and Nicole; Vicki, Micki, and Nicki for short.  (Yes, with i's.  I was a kid!)

I even named the hideous stovepipe in our super gross kitchen in college Steve.  Long story.

Also, I have never been especially decisive.

So you can imagine that naming my daughter, my firstborn, the love of my life, was no small task.  While we've had a name for a boy picked out since before we were even married, we'd never settled on anything for a girl.  I honestly think I have looked at thousands of names.  I had a lot of requirements, too.  The name had to be:
1. Unique (Because, let's face it...our last name is anything but.)
2.  Meaningful  (Preferably Christian.)
3.  Sweet enough to be feminine for a little girl, but professional enough to put on a resume when she grows up (Sorry, but I just think girls named "Candi" or "Shaquanda" have a hard time being taken seriously.)

I was also mostly interested in names that start with W, because my mom's name does, my name does, and our favorite boy name does.  So, after months (years, really) of going over name after name, we came down to our two very favorite name sets.  Now, remember the part where I said that I'm not exactly decisive?  All I can say is that we better have another daughter someday, because I am completely in love with the other name, too.  So much so that I was so stuck between the two in the hospital that our daughter was "Baby Girl Smith" for the first three days of her life and I wouldn't let anyone call her anything but Baby until I was absolutely certain.

I was a little bit a lot bit crazy.  I partly blame hormones.

And so, just to set the records straight, here is the full background behind our daughter's name.

Waverly: Old English, means "meadow of quivering aspens."
You're probably thinking, "Um...what?  You named your daughter after a field of trees?  How could that possibly be significant and not weird?"  You see, ever since I was a kid my mom has loved the line "I want to grow something wild and unruly..." from the Dixie Chicks' song "Cowboy Take Me Away."  She always said that line made her think of raising her children.  I love that, funny as it may be, a waverly is, directly translated, a growing field of beautiful, wild trees. 

But really, that was just secondary to why I really fell in love with the name.  It's from William Goldman's wonderful book, The Princess Bride.  Yes, this is the book that the famed movie is based on, but let me tell you, the book is a million times better (and funnier, and sweeter, and more meaningful) than the movie.  The book has a chapter at the end called "Buttercup's Baby," in which the hero and heroine are blessed with a daughter whom they name Waverly.  This little chapter tells the story of this baby girl, who is utterly loved and adored by a giant named Fezzik.  Fezzik looks after her and dotes on her and delights in her.  When she is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer, Fezzik goes after them and sacrifices his life to redeem her. 

It's a really neat little story, and I am in love with the allegory.  Just like all fairy tales, it points to Christ and our need for redemption, sacrifice and true love.  I can't wait to tell my daughter a bedtime story about a little princess named Waverly and the giant who gave his life to save hers because he loved her.  I think that somehow it make explaining how much Christ loves her that much easier.

And besides, it's a pretty name, and it's definitely unique.  Do you know anyone else named Waverly?  I don't!

Aislin:  Irish Gaelic; means "dream or vision." 
We really liked and were interested in Irish names because it's strong common heritage between the two of us.  There are actually a lot of Irish names I like, so it was hard to choose.  Aislin (pronounced A-shlin) had a great meaning to me.  Like I've said many times, I've dreamed about being a mom for all of my life, so I loved having a name that could mean my "dream" come true.  But, it fit even more so because I've had several dreams, the first before I even knew my husband, of a sweet and beautiful baby girl with huge blue eyes shaped exactly like my husband's.  And we got her!

So there you have it.  Why her name is Waverly Aislin and why, to us, it's the most beautiful name in the world.  (As will be the names of her siblings...because yes, I have a list all ready to go!)

In the end though, good ole' Jules is right.  Our little girl is so sweet and lovely that no name could take anything away from that.  But I'm still glad we gave her a name that is special to us, and I hope she loves it too as she grows.       

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