Friday, February 15, 2008

In the Hands of a Six Year Old.

The year was 1991, and my parents found themselves preparing for the birth of their second child. As most of you know there are many aspects to anticipating the arrival of a new baby, and finding the perfect name was definitely on the list. My parents chose to have the sex of their baby revealed on the day of the delivery, so there had to be an option for both sides of the coin.

The name for their potential baby boy was an easy choice, Elliot Holland. Two names, one from each side of the family. Elliot, from my father, his middle name. Holland, from my mother, her maiden name. The name for a baby girl was a more difficult choice. So the most logical thing was to leave it in the hand of their six year old daughter, Élise.

Now there is a special significance to this decision. In 1968, after years of my grandparents hoping for another child, my mother’s new sibling was soon to be born. My mother was thirteen at the time, and my grandparents gave her the reigns when it came to the name for this special baby. She picked out Christopher James for her baby brother, and a tradition was born.*

Back to 1991. The fate of this possible baby girl was in the hands of a SIX YEAR OLD! First on her list was Cherise, the name of her favorite doll. Next came Jillian, after the main character of her favorite book, “The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs”. There was also mention of just Child, but that was not accepted by our parents. So after doing as much toiling as any six year old can do, she came to a final decision.

On September 19th, 1991, little Élise was decked out in her “I’m a big sister shirt,” my father was eating jelly donuts, and my mother was in what I can only assume was the most pain of her lifetime as the Randall family became four. The addition was a baby girl, Jillian Renée. My middle name is also Élise’s and our maternal grandmother's.

It turns out, the specific Jillian Jiggs book my sister had was some what prophetic. The character was a spunky girl with a love of crafting, just like me. The complete meaning of my two given names is girl reborn. I also think this fits. I’ve been through many trials in my short life, with each I have triumphed and grown into what I can only hope is a better person. Giving a name is a powerful thing, and although I did not have the opportunity to choose my own, I am happy with it and it’s story.

*My sister has mentioned plans to continue this tradition with her future first and second born.


Colleen said...

How cool! Great story and what a nice tradition.

Phyllis said...

You warm my heart each and every day! Your words are like pure poetry and they brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. You are loved! MWAH MWAH Mommy

Donna said...

I love your name story, Jillian! What a cool family tradition.

Amylia said...

VERY very lovely story. I like the name Jillian a lot. I also love the name Elise. It's one of my fantasy
"when I have a baby girl I'm naming her Elise" names--I always liked Emma Elise for a name for my fictitious daughter, but now there are too many Emma's so I need a new first name. I will keep Elise for a 2nd name.

Jillian Elise? :)

Amylia said...

P.S. What a sweet comment from Phyllis, a.k.a. the lucky lady known as Jillian Renee's mom! :)

Jillian said...

Colleen & Donna, I'd have to say I love the story too, it's a great one to share with friends. I really hope my sister blessed enough to be able to carry it out in the future.

Amylia, I've never known another Jillian IRL, so I like it's uniqueness. Elise is pronounced slightly differently than my sister's name, but it's still very beautiful. Your fictitious Emma would be in the same "Amy" boat that you were. Well if you were to name your daughter Jillian Elise, it would certainly one heck of a name story.

P.S. I love my mom, she's the best!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Great story Jillian!

Sandra Miller said...

I smiled the whole time reading this one, Jillian.

Because it's a wonderful story, wonderfully told.

And because Joseph (at seven years old) named his sister, too. :-)

k2 said...

Jillian -
Awesome story,fantastic tradition, and great name!
Kelly K
(which according to many a baby book,Kelly was originally a last name and means Irish Warrior Woman.

Ironically, My last name, Kunik,is Czech, but means Kiss or to Kiss in Eskimo - I kid you not)

Jillian said...

I'm glad to share with you guys, and I'm so happy you enjoyed it.

Sandra, I always wondered why Evan had such a unique name for a little girl. It definitely creates a special bond between siblings. said...

I'm glad you like your name. It's funny, yesterday I was talking with Sindri and she asked how we got such cool names. She also thought it was interesting that Jillian Jiggs was so crafty. I love you to infinity and beyond...

Naomi said...

I've got to find this Jillian Jiggs book!

That's a great story. I don't have a name story. I think my mom just liked "Naomi."

Anonymous said...

what a great story! I wish I had a cool story about my name.. but I think it was just because sinead oconnor was popular at the time and my mom liked this spelling :P