i read somewhere we are all called to be stewards. we are all guardians of the gifts that are given to us. when we are given children, we participate in this stewardship by giving names to our children.
it is usually easy to name our first born. it is usually a name that we’ve picked out months before because its meaning resonates with something inside us. when you’re in that birthing room, finally face to face with this new life, the name slips out easily, rolling on the tongue, melodious to the ears.
our second born also gets this special name. by this time, we have a shortlist of names already, having prepared for this coming. no, he did not get a hand-me-down name, a discarded name we considered for our first born. this came from an entirely new set of names.
our third born, we start thinking about a name that, aside from having that special meaning, should also go with the siblings names. sometimes we fall into that trap of sticking to one letter, since the others have gotten the same first letter. future parents, i advise you not to stick to one letter. it boggles the mind when you’re up at 3 in the morning, thinking what else starts with M.
our fourth born did not have a name until 3 hours after birth. we were trying out one name after another, and nothing seemed to fit. it was like choosing a shirt, throwing out one name when it didn’t have that special meaning, or when it did not go with the others. we were frustrated.
so we prayed.
at mass, during his birthday, the reading came from the prophet malachi. it wasn’t a lightbulb moment where you stumble upon a name and decide that this was it. in fact, we had decided against the name several times before. but, as the day wore on, hmmm… hey it fits. like a glove.
and a burden lifts. and you feel light and happy. and you feel the universe agreeing. you look at each other, and silently give thanks.