My Flower Grrrls,
Pretty soon, in just three days, I will embark on a long trip to see you. I have been excited about it for weeks. By the time I get to Thursday, I’ll be as giddy as can be. And then on Friday, when I reach the finish line (that would be your doorstep), I will jump for joy. I plan to try hard to arrive in time for Kids Choice Night, because I haven’t had one with you in so long.
Tonight made me happy for two reasons: (1) we decided on a new middle name for me and (2) I was lucky enough to be able to read (most of) the first chapter of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone to you. Elanah, you were a little resistant. I know you don’t like to sit for long periods of time reading with us, but I am hoping in time that you will get into the book and want to keep listening. I know it’s hard when Mummy’s not right next to you to help you stay focused, but it’s a good challenge. When you’re feeling bored, listen to the words and try to imagine the people in the scene. I want you to know that your mind can create pictures to go with the text like a picture book, or a television can, and the cool thing is that the pictures can be just the way you want them to be!
When we started reading, Darah, you tucked the phone in bed with you, in between the two of you you, to try to make it like it is when we read together, and I have one of you on each side of me, and we are all snuggled up together. I know you didn’t want me to stop when Elanah jumped up and ran out of the room toward the end, but it was almost bedtime anyway, so I think we made the right decision to wait for her to be with us to finish the chapter. We came up with a great solution, too– you and I will read a separate book together when Elanah’s not in the mood to read HP with us. I am going to try to read to you as much as possible when I am visiting, but I know you will want to do lots of things with me to make up for lost time. You’re already planning to have your friends over for a party while I’m visiting. And I expect to be enlisted to play the role of the villain, as per my usual assignment.
This is a very unique trip because it requires FOUR thirteen hour drives in a very short window of time because of the special event: Aunt Kate and Uncle Billy’s wedding! We’re also going to celebrate your birthday, Elanah, because I won’t be able to be with you on your special day in October (which makes me very, very sad). But our Buffalo Ninja Warrior Birthday Party for you will be great fun, and Billy’s wedding will be great fun, too, even though it’s going to go by in less than the blink of an eye! The two of you are going to be wedding flower girls for the SECOND time in your lives. Of course, as we all know, you’re always flower girls. I know that now more than ever.
And you know what else I know? I’m a flower girl, too, mostly because I have the two of you, and you are part of me, but when I was in high school, I was in a garden club, and I love writers who write with a flowery style (as well as content), such as the poet Amy Lowell, who is one of my favorite poets, and one of my favorite literary figures, Vita Sackville West (she was an avid gardener). I am glad to be a hybrid flower: the lilyrose.
I asked you to give me a name because I believe in non-traditional naming practices. I don’t believe names should always come from one’s father; I believe names should come from daughters, too. This is a family act of feminism, actually, for the two of you to name me. I will use Lilyrose and I will use it proudly because I love you, I am proud of you, and I trust your judgment, as budding young women whom I know are already changing the world and making it a better, more equal and fair, place, for women and girls. In our non-traditional, all-female family, girls’ voices matter and girls get a say. Flower power all the way!
In addition to the flower power line of reasoning, I have had a couple of different names during my life, and I have liked them, but I don’t like not sharing a name with you, so I needed to come up with a name for me that represents my relationship with you.
It’s been pretty funny trying to get the two of you to come up with a name for me. I liked Jessy Owl– very fitting, Elanah. And, Darah, Jessica Actor and Jessica Stage were also fitting suggestions. I gave Jessica Butt and Jessica Ninja some consideration, too, but they just didn’t make the cut. You goofs! Funny girls. I particularly enjoyed my little conversation with you, Miss Sassy Darah, when you suggested, “Mummy, why don’t you become Jessica Bear?” I said, “Oh that’s a good one, but I don’t think so; what made you suggest that?” And then a big sinister grin opened up on your face and you gave me the punchline: “Because I can’t BEAR to look at you!” What a kid! Word-playing already!
Most of the serious suggestions that you came up with were the names of flowers. Darah, your first suggestion was the name Lily and you did not back down. You adamantly wanted me to be Jessica Lily, and you were consistent about it. Elanah, you suggested a few names and didn’t seem to feel particularly strong about any one name until you heard the name Rose. As soon as you heard the name Rose, you were decided. My Darah Lily and My Lanah Rose, I would and could never pick between the names you chose for me, and so there was only one thing to do: combine them. Together, we made me a new name. Lilyrose.
Not many moms can say their daughters invented a name for them. I’m lucky! I am glad these flower(names)s remind you of me in some way, but really and more importantly, they remind me of you. You are my Lily and my Rose. Part of me always. You are Spring to me, and now you are putting the Spring in my name.
Lilies are beautiful flowers, symbolic of many interesting and wonderful things. And roses are beautiful flowers, symbolic of many interesting and wonderful things. There are a lot of media and literary references for the rose and the lily, so we will have a lot of fun with this name.
Rose is an old, traditional, Germanic name– it is also your Great Nana’s favorite flower and your Great Grandma Mel’s middle name! Both of your great grandmothers on my side are connected to/by “the rose,” and now, thanks to you Elanah, they will be part of my name. Roses are thought to be connected to or represent honor, purity, sacrifice, devotion, and eternal love.
Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, is often associated with roses and, in art, is often depicted wearing roses. I like the word “rose” because it also refers to the act of something, or someone, rising up. It makes me think of Easter and the resurrection because of this. Roses, like Mummy, have thorns, but the thorns are there to protect the delicate flowers that rise out of the stems. Rose petals are soft and lovely, and roses bloom in a very complex, beautiful way, because they have so many layers (petals). They are very romantic. Oh, and by the way, Aunt Kate and Uncle Billy will be getting married in a rose garden.
Lily is a Latin and Old English name– I don’t know anyone named Lily in our family, and we have a very big family, so that’s pretty neat. Lily is one of the names that I have liked for a long time (your Momma Si likes it, too; we thought of naming one of the two of you Lily, actually). I have a photo, taken a couple of years ago, of the two of you sitting on each side of lily on Easter day, because some lilies are Easter flowers (they are called Easter lilies), but there are many kinds of lilies, just like there are many kinds of roses.
Like the rose, the lily symbolizes purity, but it’s also associated with motherhood because, according to Greek mythology, the lily was created out of the breast milk of Hera, goddess of family, marriage, women, and motherhood. It is the flower of the Milky Way! Lilies are big and bold. They look like starbursts. Stars bursting. Lilies, which symbolize chastity and faith, are packed with symbolic meaning, just like the rose. They represent the trinity, because of their three main petals, which I very much like, because that’s how I think of us.
I love you and I am grateful that you wanted to name me.
Goodnight, my Lily and my Rose.
Mummy J of Lake Lilyrose
Lake Lilyrose (it’s a silly poem)
Jessica Lily lived on Lily Lake;
She had a daughter and she loved to eat cake;
Jessica Rose had a great, big nose;
She had a daughter and they lived on Lake Rose;
Then one day, the daughters met–
found out they were sisters
through a tête-à-tête;
they told their mum to buy a boat
and from then on
they sailed on Lake Lilyrose