Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Know Thyself.

I was just on the phone talking to my dear, dear friend Becky about how one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is self-awareness.  The ability to KNOW themselves.  The gift of knowing who you are- what you are good at as well as what you are not good at and accepting all these various facets of yourself.  One of Shakespeare's characters put it this way: "To thine own self be true."  We, as women must know ourselves (more on that another time) so that we can pass this gift on to our children.  It is a life-long treasure to know who you are; acknowledging your flaws but not getting fixated on fixing them; knowing how you feel about things; knowing and embracing who you really are so that you can be who you are supposed to be on this planet at this time in history.

I think my daughter is blessed with a big healthy dose of self awareness.  Much of her security and who she is can, of course, be directly attributed to her DNA from her first family.  I think it's obvious that she was very loved, no, ADORED by her first family.  She just seems to really know who she is and is very aware of what she thinks about, oh, everything.  And one of those things she feels strongly about is... her name.

All along we have been calling her a whole variety of names: Abeba, Lilah, Lilah-Abeba, in addition to a whole bunch of sweet names: Lovey, Princess, and Silly Goose seem to be the ones that come up the most.  ;-)  But sometime this past Summer she announced that she wanted to be called "Avé."  (pronounced: AH-vay, as in Avé Maria...)  When she would say her Ethiopian name she would often pronounce it "Aveva" instead of "Abeba".  I don't know if that was just toddler -speak, or if it was the way her first family pronounced her name, or just a fluke.  I really don't know.  But when she told us she wanted to be called Avé, it seemed like it might have been a nick-name for "Aveva".  Who knows, really???  But... it kinda stuck.  And it kinda stuck to the point that when people would call her anything else she would correct them by saying, "Me Avé!"  And then when she started pre-school last week I asked her what she wanted her teacher and school friends to call her:  Abeba, Lilah, or Avé.  And she said without hesitation: "Avé!"  So... Avé she is!

Internet: meet Avé
We have not completed her re-adoption papers yet.  I am kinda waiting for a few more months so that she can acquire even more language and understanding about the fact that we have adopted her.  I would like it if she could really understand what a momentous occasion it will be when we stand before a Judge and are "officially" declared a family- I kinda want her to "get" the significance of that.  So since none of the final paperwork is complete, we still have some room to play with her name.  I think what we will do is to keep her Ethiopian name as it is- Abeba- and keep it as her first name.  And then keep the name we chose for her- Lilah- as her second name.  And then just call her "Avé" as a sort of nick name.  (I'm considering giving her a third name... but perhaps I'll share more about that later.)  

So... I think our girl knows herself.  She knows who she is and what she wants to be called.  And so who are we to stand in her way???


Sohailah said...

That's darling.

Interesting about getting the significance of it. Guess since I was 6 weeks old, I never thought about
"getting it". That's a cool thing, really.

Glad you're into this whole blog slurping thing - making you write more. :)

love YOU!

Lindsey said...

That girl has spunk! I love that about her and I know that her future hubby has enough spunk to hang with her and call her whatever she deems fit! :) LOVE you and cannot wait to see you soon.

Becky said...

This is such a great post. Remind me on Friday to share with you how GOD is teaching me about naming things. The importance of naming and how important it is that we know who we are based on what we are named. That when we truly, from the heart of Christ understand our identity we have the unlimited ability to stand in the gap between heaven and earth so that the Power and redemption of Christ flows.

Sorry so long, I just get so excited thinking about what Jesus is doing, especially with Ava and you guys.

Kimberlie said...

My kids have three names on all their official paperwork, one name being the name they came to us with. We did this so that when they get older they can revert back to their Chinese name if they want. My oldest already has times when he wants to try out being ZhenFei. He hasn't stuck with it yet, but we are open to it if he wants. I think you are wise to give her multiple options for the future.

It's great that your girl has a strong sense of self! She is gorgeous by the way. I can't help but get a big 'ol sloppy grin when I look at her sweet face.

Big hugs!

wildflowers said...

this is a great post.

i like the quote ,
' it is better to be disliked for who you are than to be liked for who you are not ' , in other words , be true to thyself!

Deena / TEAM MARQUIS said...

I love reading about Ave'/Abeba/Lilah...she reminds me so much our our little one! All of her names are beautiful and they sound beautiful together.

I also wanted to thank you for the blog book idea... I can't wait to do one of our own. I had heard about the idea, but didn't know where to begin. Many thanks!

You also got me thinking about our re-adoption...I had just planned on doing it as soon as possible, but after reading your post, I DO want to make it as memorable as I can. I am not sure our girl will get the significance, but you've got me thinkig...

Kate said...

wow... that is so cool. you are so cool to be flexible and just roll with it. ave' is very pretty...hehe at least she isn't insisting on being called "sparkle diamond rainbow" or something :) whenever we see her at church, we just get these huge smiles on our faces. she's just perfect, whatever she chooses as her name.

A Real Good Friend said...

OK, first off, thanks for the shout out in your blog!

Secondly, just a thought about your girl...and her naming herself...and how this is an incredibly strong statement about HER SELF... In the ol' beginning...Genesis--God told Adam to NAME the animals. In the account of John the Baps birth, his father was struck MUTE until it came time to NAME his son. In the telling of the birth of Jesus, the angel TOLD Mary, "His name will be...." It's my understanding from Jewish tradition....The One Who Does the Naming--does the ruling (I guess in our culture, it would translate into, "The one who does the naming--is responsible for the one being named").

From ALL you have told me about Ave (wish I knew how to make the accent mark appear), you have been given a strong, complete, whole person to love, nurture and raise...Her sense of self, is her gift. Her knowing HERSELF, will be such a security in challenging times. She indeed gets, "herself," and the act of her naming herself--is just a taste of what's to come. You are in for a delightful, mind-blowing, heart-filling ride with this girl! She couldn't be in better hands! Love you! Becky

Melinda said...

Hi Gayla,
This blog really struck home with me. We went to Ethiopia to pick-up "Amira" (even had the towels embroidered!) and came back with "Selame" and now..."Mae" for short. :-)


Tricia said...

I love that you shared this. We are almost Gladney-approved for a toddler/preschool-aged girl, and names has been a topic of discussion. You have reminded me that even if we go with her "birth name" things can change...and to be willing to be very flexible. Your sweet Ave (sorry I don't know how to make the accent mark) is BEAUTIFUL!!

Selam! G'day! Hello!