Her Name

Mabel-8906

Today is our first day on our own since Mabel was born.  Jonny’s sister and our niece were here through end of last week, and my mom and stepdad were here from late last week till yesterday.  Friends are bringing meals, and we are being well taken care of.  We feel very loved and it has been great having family with us.

And, don’t worry!  I didn’t participate in the garlic harvest.  I merely gave instructions and took a few photos.  C-section recovery is so different, in some ways harder, but in some ways easier (and from what I have taken away from my friends who have had them, recovery can be wildly different from individual to individual).  I have been instructed to be up walking around a bit, to listen to my body, and rest as needed.  I am much more able to be up walking than I have been after previous births, especially my last, but my body definitely  knows when it’s time to sit back down.  I’m doing really well, and haven’t required pain medication beyond prescription Motrin.  And I promise, promise that I am not over-doing it and don’t intend to.  Because mostly, I just want to look at this baby!  I have pulled out most of my kids’ newborn pictures and my own, and determined that Mabel doesn’t look like me at all, or like Beatrix and Larkspur.  Maybe a bit like Seth.  Right now she mostly looks like a mini Jonny to me.  A friend commented that she has his hairline.  He answered, “Is hers receding?”   Right now her eyes are a cloudy dark blue, but I am holding on to the hope that she will have my green eyes.  She definitely wins the most laid back baby ever award, and she did not inherit that from me.  Even her body language says that she is just not too worried about anything.  She stretches and sprawls, and I realize it is too early for smiles, but she’s been smiling from day one.  I’ve never seen anything like it in a newborn of mine.  She smiles and smiles and smiles.  She’s the most darling baby ever.  I love her so much and am still in the “can’t believe she’s here” stage.

But her name!  I want to tell you all about her name.  So in our family, I typically name the boys and Jonny names the girls, at least he chooses what name the girls will go by.  He’s had Mabel picked out for a long time.  Beatrix was almost named Mabel, but he ultimately decided against it.  I think he chose well.  Beatrix is definitely a Beatrix, and Mabel is a Mabel, amiable and easygoing.  Mabel is a family name, Jonny’s paternal grandmother’s.  He has many fond memories of his Louisiana MawMaw.  As for her nickname, “Mae,” that is a family name too!  Jonny’s maternal grandmother’s name was Gracie Mae.  So he was able to name this little one after both of his grandmother’s with one name.

When we found out that we were having a girl, I knew immediately that I wanted to give her the name Sarah.  Many of you know of my friend Sarah Harkins, who died unexpectedly two years ago, next month.  What you probably don’t know is that my best friend in my late teen years was also named Sarah.  She died when I was 20, and she was just 22.  (I’m going to tell you more about her later this week.)  My friend Elizabeth Dehority passed away on Holy Thursday in 2015 after bravely battling breast cancer for years.  And it is also for her that we named our Sarah Mabel Elizabeth.  I very much wanted to honor these friends who were, and still are, so dear to me.  And you know what else? I have a sister named Sarah Elizabeth!  So, I think we’ve got meaningful and special pretty well covered with our little one’s name.  While we will probably mostly call her “Mae” (we are fans one syllable names or nicknames), her name is ultimately bound up tightly with so many people whom we love and that feels just right.

Friendship

Larkspur began flute lessons in December, using my childhood flute.  Friday night was her first recital.  Being shy, and being so new to playing the flute, she was not excited about playing in front of an audience.  Our plan was for just the two of us to attend her recital.  It could be a special night for us, a little date.  Jonny needed to be home to put younger children to bed, and Larkspur was afraid of her older brothers teasing her.

Friday afternoon, Larkspur made a last minute change of plans, inviting one of her friends to join us for the evening.  Dominique helped Lark get ready, painting her nails to match her dress for the evening, and then acting as her adoring audience as she played through her piece a few last times.

I had to park several blocks away from the recital location, and as I am slooooow, watched from behind as Lark and Domi held hands and giggled their way down the street and into the church.  I thought to myself, that this was so much better than Lark and me going it alone, both of us nervous as can be.  We followed the sound of the flutes as we searched inside for the room where everyone was warming up.  When we found the room, full of older children that were mostly strangers to us, I think both Larkspur and I felt a little lost, not knowing quite what to do.  A friend’s older daughter saw us and immediately walked over, took Lark under her wing, and told me she would take care of her.  (I will love that sweet girl forever.) Domi and I headed back to the sanctuary to find seats.  We had been waiting for a few minutes when Domi told me she would be right back.  I assumed she was going to the restroom.  Several minutes later she came back, telling me that Larkspur had forgotten her glasses.  So she hadn’t gone to the restroom, but had gone to check on her friend one last time.

Larkspur, being the youngest and newest student, was the first to play.  She played Twinkle the best she ever has, and I had a hard time not crying, seeing her standing up there so brave, knowing how nervous she was.  Afterwards I took the girls to our favorite milkshake spot.  Dominique was the ultimate encourager, telling Larkspur over and over again how she had done such an amazing job.  They laughed and acted silly and had a great time.  I thought of the change that is taking place, as Larkspur moves towards a time in her life when friends begin to play such an important role.  I’m so thankful for the relationships she has, for the sweet friends in her life.

I think there’s a gift in the fact that these little girls have watched their mamas grieve the loss of friends.  I believe that it has helped them have a deeper understanding of  the precious gift of friendship, even if they don’t realize it yet.  And I know that Larkspur truly felt it this weekend.  She will always remember her first recital, more for the friendship in that night than in the performance itself.  Good friends have a profound impact on our lives, one not quickly forgotten.

20140507-DSC_7303