Monday, March 5, 2012

What's in a Name?

Sylvie Annalise

While searching for Emeline's middle name I found Sylvie. I loved it. The meaning isn't necessarily special: woodland dweller. But I couldn't resist how beautiful the name sounded when said aloud. Besides, Emeline and Sylvie--don't they sound like the best of friends? This is my hope for them.

It's her middle name that carries the special meaning.

As most of you know, last January we suffered a miscarriage. Becoming pregnant again wasn't the blissfully exciting prospect it had once been; innocence lost.

Then one night I dreamed we had a second daughter; a chubby, pink, lovely, baby girl. I was hopeful it meant something, yet reason prevailed: I'm not one to have a prophetic bent. My official position was to brush it aside, yet my heart couldn't forget. When we found out we were pregnant a few weeks later I began to realize how important the dream had become to me. Like a treasured possession I held it close, fearing that if I held it out for others to see, someone might scratch it or break it, or worse, question why it was so cherished in the first place. I began playing an internal tug-of-war: was the dream significant in some sort of divine way, or just an early pregnancy, hormonal fluke?

Then I had a second dream before my eight-week appointment (you can read the whole story here) where I heard Sylvie's heart beat--something I so desperately wanted to hear after seeing a flat-line during my last ultrasound.

Even after my second dream panned out, I was too timid to say we were definitely having a girl because God showed me so in a dream. This kind of stuff doesn't happen in the twenty first century--especially to someone living in an enlightened country like the US, right? At least, there's a lot of pressure to believe that to be true...

But I did buy a cute sunhat for her before the 20-week ultrasound.

I also spent more time thinking about girl names.

Teeny, faithful, hopeful steps.

When the ultrasound tech announced Emeline would have a baby sister, deep down in that place where we cannot lie to ourselves, I knew God had been generously gracious with me and gave me those dreams to help quiet an anxious heart.

I say generously gracious because God's already shown himself faithful and loving to me and in the lives of millions of people who have come before me. These intimate dreams felt unsparing and even extravagant to this everyday stay-at-home mom, living in a mediocre neighborhood, in a run-of-the-mill city, in a fly-over state. Because, let's face it, aren't there bigger problems in this world?

But God was intent on reminding me who he is. His infinite nature allows him to spend as much time on me and my paltry issues as he does on The Really Big Issues. As he stands outside of space and time, he has to send me a precious, personal promise. And the way he chooses to demonstrate these two characteristics show how loving and caring he is.

And so it became incredibly important to me that Sylvie's middle name encapsulated this story. Because it is a story that needs to be remembered as often as we say her name. It's a story that needs to be told when one day she asks, "Mom, why did you name me Sylvie Annalise?" It's a story worth remembering as often as she writes her name.

Annalise means "Gracious oath of God."

The story didn't end, but became more poignant as we learned of Sylvie's congenital heart defect.

Again, my mind traipsed the well-beaten path to all the terrifying What Ifs and my heart slipped into its old ways of worry.


What if all What Ifs needn't be terrifying?

What if the dream was just as much for now and her upcoming surgery as it was during my pregnancy?

Sylvie Annalise: our gracious oath of God.

That's something worth remembering as often as we say her name.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful promise He created for you... So glad I get to see such a miracle close up.