A Name, An Identity
Elaina Joy Turner.
When a child is born, we go through this strange ritual of registering them with the State. Officialdom wants to know all kinds of random facts about all of us: how many of my pregnancies have resulted in live births and how many in deaths, what county Ben was born in, whether or not we were married at the time of the new child's birth, what my beginning and ending pregnancy weight was, how educated Ben and I are, where the child was born and whether it was where we planned for her to be born, and on and on.
But the very first question is simple and yet perhaps the most profound.
What is the child's name?
Then, in juxtaposition, what is the child's mother's maiden name?
A name is something that stays with you your whole life. It's what identifies you to those you love - if someone mentions a close relative's name, a complete identity immediately goes with it.. When I see my maiden name on that birth certificate form, I know it like I know my hands. It's me. The name is the label for my identity, the brand marking who I am. It's a little surreal to see it in conjunction with one I helped to choose, giving someone else a lifelong identity.
Elaina, our third daughter, carries the name of my parents' third daughter, the one I never knew growing up because she never came home. Her death was a distinct marker in my childhood, her name the labeling of an identity we never had the chance to know. It's a little strange to have the name in use again instead of being simply a reference to someone whose story is already finished. My parents did the same for my father's dead brother, giving his name to one of their sons. Maybe someday one of my girls will have a son named Joshua. That's a pleasant thought.
To some it's probably a macabre tradition, but there's something very satisfying about taking the name of someone you love who is gone and re-gifting it to a brand new life, putting it back in use and presenting it as the title of a new identity. For years we've celebrated my sister Elaina's birthday because her life and death changed so many things within my family and we saw God's hands so clearly it seemed like one of those things to make sure to remember. I wonder if naming a new baby with her name will change any of that tradition.
Whatever happens, this official piece of paper declaring Elaina Joy Turner's birth is just part of the opening to a new life's story, one I marvel at even as I'm watching. it happen. How amazing...Lauren Michelle Tuckfield married a man named Benjamin Paul Turner and together they have three daughters: Abigail, Susannah and Elaina.
Welcome to our family, Elaina Joy. May you bless your name with a life that will make your Creator smile when he calls you before him. Because when he calls you, it will most likely be by the name Ben and I just gave you, the one that will mark you as yourself for the rest of your existence.
I look forward to knowing you, baby girl.
6/7/2016 06:01:58 am
Congratulations Ben and Lauren. She is a sweety. Love you.
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Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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