Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Daisy by Any Other Name...

Do we or do we not wrack our brains for nine months to decide the perfect names for our children?
Sometimes we want something unique—different from anyone else. The movie stars really have this dialed in right now with names like Apple, and Honor, and Sunday. However, from the moment the celebs christen their little ones with such distinctive names, hundreds of thousands of little kids will be monikered thus, rendering these inimitable names common. Kind of takes the fun out of it, doesn’t it?
Sometimes we want to give our children family names. Geoffrey’s middle name is Scott after his father. Sean Eugene Martin is a fifth-generation “Eugene”. Five generations is nothing to sneeze at! That name goes back hundreds of years. If we’d had another son, his name would have been Something Eugene. Incidentally, Eugene is my father’s middle name, Donald Eugene Lofton.
We want our children’s names to mean something significant that will hover over them like a protective banner throughout their lives. Geoffrey means “Heavenly Peace”. Not only has he been a source of “Heavenly Peace” to me and those he touches, it has always been my wish that his name would do its job: hover over him and provide “Heavenly Peace” whenever he needs it as he goes throughout his life.
My Grandma Polly’s name hovered over her, but not as a banner of protection. Polly means “Great Sorrow”. Her middle name, Ann, means “Gracious and Merciful”. Her name defined her perfectly. She was the most gracious and merciful woman I have ever known, whose life was afflicted by great sorrow.
So, be careful when you name someone.
In writing fiction, I never name any of my characters until I’ve consulted with www.babynames.com. That website has every name you could think of, the origins and the meanings. Look up your own name and see if your life has lived up to your label.
On September 4th, a little after 9:00 AM, my name was legally changed to Daisy. Many have asked how I got the nickname, Daisy, in the first place. It was a Scrabble game, to tell you the truth. I worked at Applebee’s for several years and… OK, so I dated the general manager for about two years, which is not kosher in the restaurant business, so no one really knew about it. Another blog. Anyway, I was playing a game of Scrabble with him and his mom, Betty, whom Geoffrey and I loved dearly—may she rest in peace. Now, I’m pretty decent at Scrabble, and I was already winning by no small amount. I attached the word “daisy” to another word and put it on a triple word score, shooting ahead almost another hundred points. Then on my next turn, I put “amaze” with another word on ANOTHER triple word score and just about blew the two of them out of the water. The next day at work, I had someone make me a nametag with the name “Daisy” on it, and I wore it around just to rub it in. When my boyfriend/boss saw it, he simply replied, “Amazing.” As I wore the nametag, people began to call me Daisy. I decided I liked the sound of it and continued to wear the nametag. People started calling me Daisy even when I wasn’t wearing it. I liked the sound of that too. A manager from another store asked me to come tend bar for her on Friday nights, and I went over to her store as “Daisy”. When she liked me enough to ask me to open up another restaurant for her and be her daytime bartender, I was Daisy from the very first day, and I’ve been Daisy for the last fifteen years.
People have asked me throughout the years if I would ever consider changing my name legally. It’s strange, but I always said no. I don’t know why I said no, other than the fact that when people don’t think something is really an option, they tell themselves they don’t really want it. But recently, when my dear friend, Diedre, told me how easy it would be and that she would make it happen for me if I really wanted her to, I discovered that I wanted it so much it hurt. I literally began to cry at the possibility that I could change my name.
Why would I cry?
When people call me by my old name, it’s as if they are calling my old self. That girl has cried buckets of tears. She had a reason to. The good news is that when I speak of my old self, it seems to me that I am literally speaking about someone else. Like a phoenix, I have risen out of those ashes to fly to heights beyond anything I could have ever thought or imagined. I shed my former self like snakeskin and emerged a new person. I left behind everything but my name, and now it’s time to leave that behind as well. I’m crying for joy. There is no longer be anything that tethers me to my past.
Daisy simply means flower. However, when I looked a little harder, I found a very old meaning: “Day’s Eye”. Someone, eons ago, probably looked out over a meadow filled with daisies and thought they looked like eyes peering up toward the heavens, seeking all that the day would bring.
For a middle name, and I’ve discovered that it is somewhat bizarre to name yourself, I have chosen Rain. In this moment, every one of you thought to yourself, “Daisy Rain”. At least half of you thought I should have grown up in the sixties. But let me explain this so you’ll really get it. First of all, I wanted a one-syllable name. All “Daisies” have one-syllable names that come after: Daisy May, Daisy Sue, Daisy Jane, Daisy Lou… Daisy Chain! It just SOUNDS good. I also wanted my middle name to be a noun. Daisy is a noun—Rain is a noun. And the fact that Rain is a nature-noun works for me as well. But the kicker in my mind was this: According to the babynames website, Rain means, “Abundant Blessings from Above”.
I am Daisy Rain Martin, the girl with her eyes toward Heaven every day, seeking all that each day will bring, and knowing that every blessing in my life has come from above.
Thank you, Jesus, for making me a new person. Thank you, Diedre, for making it legal. I love you both more than…