October 17th, 2008
You know when you read someone and instantly you’re aware that you’re in the presence of amazing grace? That person for me is Tinsenpup. I found her through Five Star Friday, several months ago and I’ve been bugging her ever since. I can’t express how I feel about her writing — it’s just heartbreaking and deep and full of these dimensions that access places you forgot were there. And….THAT didn’t make sense. Yet it might after you read her. Really. You must go read her.
I had a name all picked out for my seven year old daughter before she was
born. It was, at once, both whimsical and austere; resounding, but with a
sense of fun; modern, but rooted in history, ancient and recent. It was
positively dripping with meaning.
After she was born, my partner stood by the hospital bed, exhausted, holding
her in his arms, convinced at last and for all time of the wisdom of her
existence, and asked, ‘What are you going to call her?’. When I told him, he
just shook his head as if my choice boded ill for my ability to bring her
through infanthood intact. So ultimately, he named her, after only a couple
of suggestions that I, even in the magnanimous glow of new motherhood, could
I saw significance in his act of naming her. It tied them inextricably
together, one to the other. Barring catastrophe, she would always have me
there by her side, but I foresaw that there might be times when she would
need reminding of the power of her link to him. She is his by name, first
and last; and for a time and to some small extent at least, she is mine in
body and spirit (as I am hers and only hers).
The name he gave to her was a new name, not the one I forged upon the lonely
battlefield that was my pregnancy, but a name for the age of peace that she
was born into where she was wholly welcome. It was a name chosen just for
her, not for the abstract child of my imagination. And it was perfect.
‘You choose her middle name,’ he said. But I thought about it and I thought
about the way in which we struggle to know when we are grown. In the absence
of a ceremony; a ritual of smoke and blood, we are left to wonder, “Is it
now? With this, have I crossed the line?”. And even in her first days, I
could see how quickly her time would come, so I left that space blank for
her. When she begins to wonder, she will at least have a space in which to
name herself; with which to tell us, and all who will listen, who she is by
her reckoning. We conceived her and we raise her as best we can, but
ultimately, she will bring herself into being.