Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Names

I was treated to a conversation last night, a conversation that I've been waiting a few years to have. I had the pleasure of telling my son the meaning of his name, how that meaning is twined into and around the meaning that he is to me. He's only five (and a HALF, Mom), so I'm sure we'll be discussing it again. Still, it was a unique pleasure to reveal this little secret of mine. My name has little significance. It just means that I'm a Christian, which I am, and that's meaningful enough I suppose. But I always yearned for a name that meant something, that was a blessing from my parents to my infant self. Instead I got a name that my mother thought "sounded nice." So when I bought my niece a CD of lullabies so long ago and heard the song "Jacob's Dream," I immediately decided to name my future son Jacob. There's a line in the song, "Could you not be a man like he, so wily and beguiling?" that absolutely captured my wish for my children. I did want beguiling, charming children. I wanted crafty kids who were tricky and dreamy and curried favor among all. Then I found out that the literal meaning of Jacob is "One who supplants." How lame, I thought. But I shushed it aside and convinced myself that the character of Jacob was the meaning of the name. And that's what we named our son, with my secret hope that my Jacob would be like the Jacob - that I had so blessed him with this name. It was only after his birth that I discovered the literal meaning had been a secret blessing to me. Last night, I was brushing Jake's teeth and I mentioned how special he was to me. And I told him that the name meant "one who supplants." He replied with a look of utter confusion, naturally. I chuckled and explained what "supplant" means. I recounted how he had changed my life, changed my experience, stolen what I thought my life would be like and replaced it with something better. He stole who I thought I was and replaced my self-image with something better. Jacob is most definitely wily and beguiling. Thank God. And now, I'm just atwitter with anticipation about telling Claire what her name means. I cannot wait.

4 comments:

Katie said...

How sweet, Christy!

Chelsea said...

Now that I am dreading that conversation with K... ummm, yeah honey, your name? It just sounded cool.
Great.

I love that YOU get to have those fun conversations though!!!

Lisa said...

Aw, that's really neat.

For J, all I can tell him is that all his names come from family. And his first name was a name of French derivation that wouldn't get him beaten up on the playground here in Texas (I mean, can you see Etienne or Gauthier not getting a wedgie a day here?!).

cheribear said...

I love five. Its such a great age. Such good questions and they're ready to pounce if you try to snow them with an answer.

I can't even imagine how interesting Claire will be by the time she asks about her name. What fun!