Nice to Meet You

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Today, for the very first time, Daphne introduced herself.  It was only a couple weeks ago I heard her say her name for the very first time.  Don't get me wrong, she is a chatterbox, a total flibber de gibbet, but she hasn't referred to herself until now (besides the word MINE which comes out of her 2-and-a-half-year-old mouth every five seconds).

But, today, as we saw some friends that we knew while we were at McDonald's, she proudly put her hand on her chest and expressed "I'm Daphne" (well, really it was more "I Daffeee") but it was otherwise clear as a sunny spring day!

It flashed in my mind how profound this kind of thing is for her little world.  Her proud little stance, her confident expression, and her then repetitive nature to clarify over and over and over again "I'm Daphne, I'm Daphne, I'm Daphne...and hey, you over there, in case you missed it, I'm Daphne." (Maybe not that last part.)

I don't know when it clicked in her head that her name was "who she is", but it makes me wonder how those little wheels are spinning in there, and what she thinks of when she says her name?  With both my girls, I'm prayerfully careful to find out who they are, who they want to be, and how they see themselves.  Sure, this is what you get when your mother is becoming a therapist (sorry, girls!); but, nevertheless, I want to be cautious not to just project my own ideas or labels of who I think they are, should be, or will be.

Daphne Mabel Valentine Pardy is as lovable as her name protests.  In fact, her name means "Victory in love" and it wasn't without many exhaustively, pregnant hours of thought (as I'm sure you could have guessed) that her name came about.  I know that it will be some time before she is able to state her entire moniker, but I pray that she attributes herself the thoughtfulness that went into it.

Of course we always want our children to like the names we've chosen for them.  But, beyond that (and much, much moreso) I want her to grow in this confidence that she knows who she is and that the amount of love that went into her name was merely the tip of the iceberg of what surrounds her.  As lovable as she is, she is also feisty, with a temper that is short and stout (much like her toddler figure at the moment).  She is fearless and expressive, and channels that into many naughty feats that challenge my compassion on a moment-by-moment basis.

Names are not fates.  I couldn't have ever found just the right name that would have fully encapsulated or determined the person that was brought into this world on the day she was born.  (If that were the case I would have named both my daughters Quiet and Calm!)  But, as this little girl develops and learns and grows into the person God has called her to be, I pray that I can continue to be amazed by her and look at her with fresh eyes each time she expresses who she is.

So, that each time she says in her own way, "I'm Daphne!" I can genuinely and wholeheartedly respond, "Nice to meet you."

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