Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The story behind her name...

Eliza was one month yesterday! In the hustle and bustle of becoming a new parent, I haven't yet told the story of how I came to pick out her name: Eliza Josephine. Might as well try and do that here and now, in the shadow of Father's Day, while she naps...even if she is stretching like she is going to wake up.

Eliza we picked simply because we liked it. It was pretty and simple...not much of a story there.

The middle name however, took a little more work. If we had been having a boy, we would've picked the middle name Carl, for my dad. Since we were having a girl however, I had to pick something different. My dad passed away when I was 8 weeks pregnant and so my pregnancy was very connected to his passing away. I thought often of the impact he had on my life. I wanted a middle name for our girl that was symbolic of my dad. Girl versions of Carl didn't work...so I started looking at the meanings of names and then turned to the Saints. My dad was a very inspirational Catholic for me, someone who walked the talk in his daily life and was quietly devout. One of my favorite stories about him is one his cousin told me about how he used to mow their lawn as a teenager and sing songs in Latin while he did. As I looked through the patron saints, I settled on two St Josephs, which Eliza's middle name, Josephine, is symbolic of. There is the Joseph, everyone knows, the Father of Jesus, and thus patron saint of Fathers. What I didn't know is that Joseph is also the patron saint of Social Justice. This is fitting as well since my dad worked for Catholic Social Services for more than 20 years. The work he did was very much in the name of social justice and it inspires me each day in my own work as a librarian. I also discovered a St Joseph of Cupertino who is the patron saint of pilots and air passengers. My dad was in the Air Force and loved planes from the time he was a boy. Throughout my childhood he took my brother and I to air museums and air shows and he could always identify the type of planes flying overhead. When he took me to the airport as I got older and started traveling places by myself he would often wait for my plane to take off before departing, pulling over to the McDonalds and waiting in the parking lot, drinking a cup of black coffee. Sometimes he would even call my cell phone to let me know he saw my plane take off. He is the reason I love airports and flying. I love that we live so close to the airport now and I think of him each time I see a plane overhead.

It is kind of a roundabout tribute to my dad, but fitting nonetheless and a story I cannot wait to tell Eliza someday


Cara said...

What a lovely, thoughtful tribute - it brought tears to my eyes.

Cheryl said...

Oh Amanda, this was very sweet to read. I had wondered how you came to give baby girl such a beautiful name. I am sure your dad is very proud of you right now as you come into motherhood.

We have something in common as Catholics, I have a great interest in the Saints and had decided that our children's names would have some connection to the Saints. In a world of reality celebrities and such, I thought our children having a Saint's name to look up to would be a significiant, great way to start. Eleanor has always had a prayer card/picture of Saint Lucy in her room :) as well as medals to Eleanor and Lucy in from Lourdes that my MIL got for her.

katie said...

What a big bright-eyed little girl! Happy 1 Month Birthday!

I love hearing the stories behinds the names parents choose. My little guy is also named after one of his grandpas-- my husbands father who passed away before even I had the chance to meet him.

Funny coincidence--both he and my husband are Air Force veterans, as well as good Catholics!

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