One. ONE. In three days, you’re going to be one.
Only a year through, but it is hard to remember a time when you weren’t a part of our lives. You came in and settled down like you were always supposed to be here…and then you trashed the place with a huge impish smile and unstoppable mischievous energy. It’s who you are; that soft, sleepy sack of a newborn yielded to an extrovert of the most extreme, gregarious sort.
But that’s who you are now. Let’s talk about who you might have been.
Naming you was a challenge. We had a boy name picked, but finding a girls’ name took us months. We culled over twenty serious options. These were the most serious.
Ariadne: the goddess of travel, and the labyrinth. A symbol of the journey. For obvious reasons that was a good choice; you have taken us to places we had never considered. With you we learned how high a cuddly baby can take someone; we learned, albeit briefly, what it was like to parent a very sick child, both extremes that have expanded our capacity for understanding and compassion and empathy. You healed the breach I didn’t know existed in my heart, where I was afraid that I scared my babies off, and took me through the journey to becoming a more confident and aware mother. Our walk with you, short though it has been, has given us more than we could ever give you. Alas, Ariadne was your dad’s first choice, but not mine–lovely, excellent meaning, but the “-adne” was too nasal-sounding. So we moved on.
Vivienne: this also would have come so close to perfection, and was my first choice. You are bigger than life, and always have been.
A year later, we still get double-takes when we tell people “Ten pounds. Born at home.” You command the room’s attention. You shriek and babble and demand that your sister, who would really just rather be left to her tea and books, pay you your due attention. You roll and tumble and wrestle. You fill our house with the noise and ruckus of enthusiasm for life! People! New food! Games! “Oh, please, more of these!” is written across your face whenever you discover something or someone new. When you jump out of my arms to snuggle with even our most casual acquaintances, I can see your vibrance and happiness. Your energy makes our world glow. We would have called you “Vivi.” We shelved it because it wasn’t your dad’s top choice, and moved on again.
Flannery: This was, until a few weeks out, to be your middle name. “Red-haired warrior.” Oh, my darling girl. The things you wrestle and make yours…you seize, you grapple, and you conquer. There has been almost nothing and almost no one that you cannot charm and win. You won our entire family without firing a single shot; even Maggie adores you, and her loyalty is a thing to be earned.
But even though you are naturally good-natured and enduringly sweet…
you have the capacity for enormous anger and frustration and you wield those to your advantage…
…but always with a happy resolution. Sort of like “Let me DO what I need to DO and get out of my WAY…no, wait, come snuggle me. I figured it out.”
Clearly, as much as we liked Flannery, we went another direction with your middle name. Autumn, and an Autumn you are. My brilliant Autumn girl, with the multicolored fire hair and sparkling dark blue eyes–a true November blue. You are my wild child. You hug and kiss and snuggle and scream and howl in frustration and though you make me crazy sometimes I miss you terribly when you are away from me. That book is you, my crimsony cranberry puckery smuckery girl; my baby with the reddish goldish beautiful spirit. Once I read that book I knew it had to be Autumn, and your dad agreed.
And finally, Moira.
Two dozen tries later, we suggested another M name and from that, “Moira” evolved. We knew immediately that it was perfect, but not quite why. It means, in the Scottish/Gaelic, “Star of the sea” or “Of the sea.” The ocean is so important to me and your dad; we both grew up on the coast and adored Hawaii for its beaches. The sea is so gorgeous, and so powerful, and you are certainly both of those things. It certainly helps with our last name that your first name has a Gaelic background.
But there’s another wrinkle in your story. After you were born, Daddy told me that there is a different meaning for “Moira” in the classical Greek; it’s derived from “Moirai” and means “fate.”
A long time ago, while I was pregnant with your sister, I had a dream that I told your father about immediately because I was so sure I had predicted the gender of our first child: a little girl with hair of fire. I went one for two with Maggie, our golden blonde girlie. And then, two and a half years later, we had you. Our Moira. Our little girl with the fire hair, the one who completes us.
You are the child I once dreamed of; the redheaded girl I knew I would someday have. Of course it had to be Moira; no other name would do. You belong with us and always have.
It was fate.
Happy first birthday, sweet lovely girl. We love you so much.