This morning, as I was getting my four year old dressed for school, she coined a term for her nipples that I had never heard before. It both shocked and amused me.
I had grown up feeling very uncomfortable about naming any of those kinds of body parts…I didn’t even want to acknowledge that those kinds of parts existed, much less create special names for them. My older daughters had called them, “Nickels”, after one of them mispronounced the word Nipples and then was overcome with delight when the word elicited such profuse giggles from her parents. As many times as they said, “Nickels”, it never ceased to produce a chuckle or a smile at the very least. My girlfriend told me that she called them, “Nibbles”, which caused a severe negative reaction on my part. Like when someone starts describing their husband naked, or talking about peeling a scab. Ew. I don’t want to hear about that. Keep that to yourself. Nibbles. Blech. Gracie’s word this morning was nothing close to Nickels, or Nibbles, or Nipples. It was….Boobie Stars.
Boobie Stars. Okay. I guess they do sort of resemble stars. And maybe the nipples are the star of the boob. At least it wasn’t Nibbles.
But it got me to thinking about names. How they are so personal. How they elicit a response. Negative and positive associations. How I belabored and agonized over the names for my children. Even for my blog! A name can change the entire way you think about something or someone. It’s a prejudice really. Judging a book by its cover…even if a rose by any other name is still as sweet, if it’s got a stinko name, would we seriously take the time to bend down and take a whiff?
So, it’s got me thinking. Pondering. And I’m remembering how my own name was not something I loved. When I started Kindergarten there were FOUR other Lisas in my class. It was the age of “Lisa Marie” after Lisa Marie Presley. I was a Lisa Grace and how I WISHED I was a Lisa Marie. Grace was so old fashioned and duddy. My name meant “Consecrated to God”, which sounded even duddier to me. It sounded like it should be emblazoned above the doors to a convent or a nunnery. Consecrated to God. I wanted something cute and fun and feminine…like…Kate…or Kelly….or something really versatile like Elizabeth. I loved that Elizabeth had so many nicknames and variations. Lisa Grace was not my fave.
And yet....40 years later, I named my own daughter Grace. Because at 40, I wanted her name to mean something. Not just be cute or fun. I wanted it to stand for something. Represent my desires for her. My blessing on her life. Because now the idea of being Consecrated to God means something altogether different for me. It means, in my mind, to be set aside for His special purpose. To be loved by the One Who made me and loves me best. Better than anyone could. Grace's name refers back to the perfect, loving Grace of God....the gift He gives of which we could never be deserving. I'm so thankful for God's grace and for his gift of my little Grace to me. And no, we will never feel deserving that He blessed us with her. I hope that as she grows up, she will embrace that name and that blessing and wish for her life. I hope in 40 years, she’ll feel compelled to pass it on. Not just the name. The meaning behind it. And all the love and emotion that it conveys.
Names. What an impact they have. And come on…which would you rather be? A nipple? Or a BOOBIE STAR? I’ll take Boobie Star….any day of the week. A name and a meaning and an emotion which I can get behind and proudly sport. In appropriate and private environments, of course.