what's in a name?

8:16 AM

Last week was a very "sixth sense," clairvoyant feeling week. There were numerous occasions were things were clearly more than just happenstance. For example, I've been thinking abut my faith and church a lot and just last week my grandmother wrote me a poem for my birthday entitled "Why do we need faith?" And in that same week we learned something very interesting about our daughter's name.
There have been two girls names that were constants for papa bear and me. One was a name that I had loved for years (saving it in case we have another girl) and the other was my maternal grandmother's name - Valentina. As you know we chose not to find out whether we were going to have a boy or a girl but that didn't stop us from having some fun. One night as we were decorating the nursery (I think I was about eight months pregnant) we decided to do a silly experiment. I had bought three cloth letters for hanging on the wall from Anthropologie that week. One was for a boy and the other two were the two girls names. We laid them on the rug and nudged our kitty to "choose" not just the sex but the name. She went straight for the V. We half jokingly hung it up on the wall figuring it was quite possible we would have to change it next month. Our plan was that if it was a girl we would wait to see her to pick between the two names. 
The very instant that we both laid eyes on her there was no denying she was our Valentina. And so it was. The following day a sweet lady in a darling pair of glasses came with our social security paperwork and cooed over our brand new baby girl. I remember her saying that it made her miss newborns so much. Do I ever know what she meant by that now. And so we went home with Valentina. A few weeks later we received her social security card and that made it official once and for all. Now because it was my grandmother's name and because papa bear loved it as much as I did we didn't really "research" baby names at all. And we never researched hers...
So there I was last week at the cathedral at Catholic University with my Valentina waiting to go into the sanctuary to say a prayer when a lady approached me. She too wanted to coo over my baby and she asked the requisite "how old" and "what is her name" questions. When I told her Valentina she said "Oh! "The designer!" And it's funny because I instantly thought "hmmm, doesn't seem right." 
I pulled out my phone and googled "meaning of name Valentina." And there it was in black and white: Valentina means "brave." I was immediately glad we didn't find out the meaning of her name earlier, it just meant so much more now. Both papa bear and I and both of our families have always said that if there was one word to describe Birdie it would be "brave." This little girl hardly ever cries, she's had the strongest pair of legs and lungs (she loves to "holler" as we lovingly call it) since birth, absolutely nothing phases her - not new people, not the ocean not even fireworks (though all of those things do elicit a nice enthusiastic "woooooh" from time to time) and she loves everything. She thrives on new experiences and throws herself into any new task. It's been such a joy to watch her learn, develop and most importantly to discover her personality. For nine months you carry this little person inside you and sometimes you practically go mad trying to figure out or predict what they're going to be like. To in one moment realize that you couldn't have picked a better name for this person that you now know so well is absolutely incredible. We were both floored. 
The cherry on top that day was that I had just downloaded Sara Barielles' new album and had been belting out her song "Brave" at the top of my lungs. I officially made it V's song that day and I said a prayer entrusting her to God and asking him to grant her unceasing courage and bravery in this life and hoping that she will always have the confidence to let her voice be heard and for her words to never be empty. 
Valentina you are mama and papa's brave little warrior!!

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