I have dreamed of a big family since I was a little girl: ever the ardent reader and scribbler, I was always writing wild fantasies about loving but chaotic families with 6, 8, 10, 20! children. There were always at least one set of twins, a mom and a dad who were poor but desperately in love, and plenty of drama.
As an adult, the dream hasn't died (well, maybe wee small deaths - I do want less drama...and maybe a bit more money, lets be honest). Ever since our wedding night, with every hope of a new baby, I have dreamt of the perfect names for the eternal souls sent to me. I weigh each of name carefully, considering all the possible combinations and all the great significance, both familial and faith-wise. I whisper them aloud, secret little prayers, with all a mother's hope attached to each one.
I dream of monogrammed towels, nicknames lisped by siblings, their name on a welcome home banner, a church bulletin announcement. To have the authority to name a child - I feel so connected to the first parents, to Adam and Eve, who named every creature. Isn't my child as new as each newly created creature? What a marvel, to name a precious new baby - to call them out of anonimity and place them in the family of God.
But I've only had the honor once. One precious time, one sweet name that I lovingly say so many times a day.
Now twice I've had the sorrowful honor of naming two new citizens of Heaven. My first pregnancy was also my first-born into Heaven and I've no doubt that the banners there heralded his name with no less joy than our home would have: Francis Marian. This past week, our newest child entered into her Father's House - after three weeks where I was planning for her to enter mine.
I can't bear to name her, yet leaving her without a name is also breaking my heart. Another name to ask the intercession of, to jolt when I hear at the playground, or sadly read on a birth announcement; to murmur 'no' when people suggest it as a future baby name. Another name to love and never use as often as I'd like, to never cheer on at each new milestone, or get to mention in casual conversation. Another empty place at my table. How do I explain to people that my home is now missing two children? That I should have three names to rattle off when I tell of my family? How do I feel this loss sincerely, without feeling crazy for mourning those I have never met?
The new baby is Louisa Frances. At our bedtime prayers, Zuzu always shouts "BABY" as the first person to pray for, which we taught her to do when we first learned of our pregnancy. Now it's painful, so tonight I worked with her to say "Louisa," which is for some reason less painful. It's precious to hear her say "oo-ee-sah?" Would've been precious for years.
So that's our naming again. Louisa Frances joins Francis Marian and the countless other innocents in Heaven. May their prayers gain their Mother the virtue needed to see them again.