Sunday, December 27, 2009


1 : to give a name to : call

On Christmas night, I gave each of my daughters a final gift: the gift of words. I started with each girl by asking her who had named her. Then we talked about how when J and I named her, we didn't even know her yet. (When I shared this with B, she said, "What else would you have named me now that you know me? How about Caroline? I like the name Caroline.")

I told them that now that I know them, I want to tell them things that I do know about them. I shared with the older girls that I think it's easy sometimes to forget who you are when you get older. I told them each that while I now know I'm a reader, I spent several years where I read hardly a book for pleasure. That's hard to believe given that I've read nearly 80 books this year, but it shows how little I listened to my own heart and how much I let myself be defined by those who didn't even know me. I told them that I will write these things down and put them in their Christmas stockings and add one trait each year.

It was especially important for me to use my words to affirm the many positive traits that I see in my daughters during Christmas. I'm sure I was encouraged at their age, but I remember the criticisms much more. I still feel like a failure around my parents and I wanted to have these quiet moments with each of my daughters to remind myself of who I am becoming. And one of the things I am becoming is a mother, a woman, a wife who uses words with knowledge of the power that they hold and in a way that builds up, encourages and instructs wisely. So this gift was as much for me as it was for them. I wanted to remind myself of who I am by reminding them of who they are.

If you're curious, their lists were:

Quick Learner

Good Eyes (she sees things others don't see)

Detail Oriented

I hope reminding my daughters of these traits each year will help them remember that they are strong even when they feel weak. I hope it will help them ignore those who will tell them they are ugly because they will know they are beautiful.

I know they will have their moments of doubt. But I hope the power of having these traits within them named aloud and called forth will stay with them through the storms that await.