I’m running a few months behind with this, but I’ve now got four kids worth of excuses: we had a little girl, Elaine Grace Talbott, on Friday, June 15th at 12:06pm – she weighed 8 lbs, 15 oz and was 21.5 inches long. It was a short, smooth (I didn’t say easy!) labor of just over two hours, and both mother and baby came through with flying colors. Elaine’s been eating like a champ since, and has grown a prodigious amount… with three older siblings to keep up with, I think she’s determined to make up her late start as quick as she can!
Every time one of these little miracles is on the way, Katie and I spend time trying to figure out what name to give them. Sometimes it feels like trying to find that perfect domain name for a new web site: the name needs to be easy to spell, easy to pronounce, not too long, somewhat unique but not bizarre, and wouldn’t it be great if it actually meant something! Of course, when naming a baby, it’s easier and harder; easier, since you’re not trying to convert name impressions in to sales, but harder because you’re contemplating the moniker that a real, live person is going to carry for the rest of their life.
So, rather than just slapping the name on and calling it good, I like to take some time to put down in writing some thoughts on what the name means, and what I hope the little person bearing it will (and will not) grow in to:
My little Elaine Grace, let me tell you about your name. Elaine is French and has its roots in the name Helen (another name which your mother was fond of), and means “light”. Your middle name, Grace, is defined very simply as “simple elegance or refinement of movement”.
As a fourth child, you may sometimes feel that you just blend in to the background and aren’t appreciated as your own person. The promise in your name is this: that you will shine with the light of a grace all your own. Already, at a mere two months old, I’m starting to see your personality come out as you lay so contentedly on the floor and smile sweetly when someone stops to talk to you. As you grow older, you will find that this graciousness attracts others to you, and you will have the opportunity to influence them for good. You will be like a “city that is set on a hill [and] cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14).
There is a warning here as well, though: your light and attractiveness spring from your grace, and it’s very clear that “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). If you choose to exalt yourself rather than serving others with humility, you will cease to burn brightly.
I love you my little Elaine, and I can’t wait to see you grow up in to a vibrant woman. May God bless you and keep you with His grace.
I truly believe our names ought to be more than just what people yell out to pick us out of a crowd, so if you’ve never done so, I’d encourage you to look up the meaning of your name: it might inspire you!