My life changed on August 28th, 2015. I know our lives are changing all the time, but I’m not being dramatic about this day. It was a profound day for me.
It was the day my niece was born. Her sweet brother, Benjamin, had already rocked my world a couple years before she came along. Among so many other things, he made me realize that my heart was capable of more love than I could ever imagine. I was already so affected by his birth and his presence in my life, I couldn’t imagine my life changing that much again.
So I definitely didn’t expect what would happen right after my niece was born.
She came into the world on her own terms, which, we’d eventually learn, is true to form for her fiery little personality. She decided to stay inside my sister’s stomach for as long as possible. Just hanging out. And many hours after they started the inducement process, there was not a lot of action. Until suddenly, very suddenly, she decided to come on out.
In the fluster and flurry of everything happening with her sudden exit, I was still catching my breath. In awe of my sister and her wife and what an amazing couple they are. Seeing my mom so proud of her daughter and new granddaughter. Watching my then husband tear up as he greeted his niece.
I was looking at that sweet, pink little creature when my sister said to her wife, “Are you going to tell them her name?”, to which my sister-in-law replied “Katalina Elise Freeman. Kate for short.”
Katalina Elise. They named her after me. I was shocked. I was humbled. I was honored.
And, I was a little bit confused. I mean, I know I had proven myself to be a good aunt to Benji and everything, but jeez, this seemed like a big deal.
Already in the midst of thinking about making some big changes in my life, I suddenly felt this sense of responsibility to make Kate proud to have my name.
It wasn’t immediate, but I eventually listened to the whispers I had been shushing. The whispers that told me that I wasn’t living the life I really wanted to be living. The whispers that told me that I was going to have to get uncomfortable for a bit so I could become more fulfilled in the long run. The whispers that told me that I was probably going to make other people uncomfortable too AND that we’d all survive that and be better for it.
So, I listened and then I started taking action
. I’d take a step and s
ee how I felt. Recalibrate and take another step.
In the midst of one of my most painful steps, I was at my sister’s house and I was crying. Hard. I was feeling tired and kind of worthless. I said, “I need to figure my shit out. I want that baby girl to be proud to have my name.” That’s when my sister told me, “We named her after you because we are already proud of you.”
Once again I was shocked, humbled, honored and a little bit confused. And, again, my life changed in a profound way.
I realized that my name already means something special to the people who truly know me. It means something special to me. AND I will continue to refine and fiercely protect what my name means to people through the actions I take in this world. I will let more people know me and what I truly care about.
I will be bold and brave. And I know that Kate will be bold and brave too. I know this for a couple of reasons.
One, because she already is. She is a fierce little creature. She has a self possession that I’ve only seen in paintings of the Madonna with Child. Heck, we call her Stormborn. She was literally born during a storm and she is a force of nature! And we are Game of Thrones fans.
The other reason I know this is because I will keep setting the example for her and I will be one of her biggest protectors of her inherent bravery and boldness.
I’ll make her proud to have my name. And I’ll make me proud too. Scratch that, I’ll keep making me proud.
No matter where things are for you right now, I encourage you to pause and think about what you want your name to mean in this world. How are you already living up to that? What makes you proud about how you are showing up? Celebrate that.
And, eventually, think about what you could do to live up to that even more than you are now.
PS: Photo credit goes to the lovely Anna Darlak. Check out her photography page here
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