She was laughing. Actually, she was in a fit of giggling. The kind of giggling that would make even the hardest of hearts smile. Spinning, spinning, spinning…enamored by watching the skirt of her dress ebb and flow as she spun around. She looked at me, the sunlight glowed behind her, encapsulating her golden curly strands, making them almost as bright as her smile. She was familiar, yet it was the first time I was really seeing her. Without words, and speaking only through her laughter and curls, my daughter told me her name was Sadie.
I opened my eyes, my heart still racing. Almost six months pregnant, I stiffly sat up in bed, waking from a late afternoon catnap. Did I just dream of my daughter? The images of her vividly replaying in my mind. I had only dreamt of her once before, when we didn’t know officially that she was a “she”. It had now been a week that we knew for sure, and we had only just decided on her name three days prior. It wasn’t Sadie.
I had fought and won the war with my husband, she would be named Olivia. For months, I had searched list after list of hundreds, if not thousands of names. I knew in my heart the life growing inside of me would be a girl. One evening, I had just come home from the store. As I entered my home, I heard, “Olivia, come back here!” from behind me. I paused, and even though I knew it was my neighbor yelling at her child to not run into the street, to me, it was a sign from above. Olivia was in my top three names list, I loved it, and I loved it even more after hearing it being yelled by a frustrated parent.
So, when my husband finally gave in to my protests that her name should be Olivia, I should have been happy. Since my husband let me pick the first name, he won the right to choose the middle name; and for whatever reason, he wanted the middle name to be Lyn, my middle name. I didn’t understand why he liked it so much, I didn’t even like it. I had never really been a fan of my middle name, but I couldn’t argue with him, I got Olivia and he got Lyn. We shook on it, no taking it back, Olivia Lyn would be her name.
Olivia Lyn, Olivia Lyn, Olivia Lyn…over and over I turned it in my mind. Something didn’t feel right. Even as I shook her father’s hand, I knew it was wrong. I tried to brush my doubts aside. Give it some time, I told myself, I’ll warm up to it.
But it ate, and ate, and ate at my soul. Shouldn’t I be excited? Shouldn’t I absolutely, without a doubt, know that this was her name? No matter how hard I tried to love it, or even just like it, I knew that I couldn’t. Waking up from the dream had confirmed the suspicions that had been slowly building and making their case inside my heart for the last three days; her name would not, and never could be, Olivia Lyn.
Sadie had actually been a name we both liked, and even made it to the short list. It meant “princess”. We even joked about how ironic it would be if we had named her that, because my name, Stephanie, meant “queen”.
“Sadie Lyn, Sadie Lyn, Sadie Lyn”, every time I said it out loud, it made sense. It sounded perfect, like the two names were always meant to be. The more I said her name, the more I could hear the little girls laughter echo from my dream. Now, all I needed to do was convince my husband.
I made my way out of the bedroom. I knew it couldn’t wait, I had to tell him now, before I lost my courage and while the dream was still fresh. He must have noticed the determined look on my face, because as soon as he saw me he asked, “What’s the matter?”. I took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. “You see, the thing is, I am really having doubts about the name we chose”.
I proceeded to tell him about the dream, and all of the reason’s why her name shouldn’t be Olivia. I could tell by his facial expressions that he was slightly humored, because after all, it was me who had made the case for Olivia in the first place, and it was me who had said we should shake on it so we couldn’t take it back.
Now, here I was, doing my best to convince him otherwise, “and doesn’t Sadie Lyn just sound better than Olivia Lyn, anyways? I mean, doesn’t it flow better?”. I even conceded with him that my middle name, Lyn, sounded a whole lot better with Sadie in front of it, than Olivia.
In the midst of listening to myself try to win him over once again, I knew I had. He wasn’t fighting me, but he did ask, “Are you sure this time?”. “I am”, I replied, and I was.
Author’s note: This piece is in response to the WP Weekly Writing Challenge: Power of Names . Sadie is now one years old. I will always believe that she chose her own name, because it was that dream of her that convinced me. Every day she is blossoming into the little girl from my dreams.