15 January 2010

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl

Dearest Mirren,

You're here. Your dad and I keep looking at each other and saying, "We have a baby," like this is somehow still unexpected, even after anticipating you for the last 9 months. It's just that you're so much more than we'd asked or imagined that we can't quite believe you're what was waiting for us inside my tummy.

People keep asking us about your name, little one, and I want to tell you what it means to us so I don't forget it and so you know what to tell the people who ask you about it someday. The truth is, I saw "Mirren" online and knew almost immediately that it belonged to you. It took daddy a little longer to come around, but one day when I asked him what he'd been thinking about names he just looked up and said, "I like Mirren," and that was about it. We had other names, in case you came out looking more like a Madeline or a Sophia, but I don't think there was actually much chance of that. Maybe God gave you this name, for your sojourn here on earth.

Your name means so much, on several different levels. Mirren (MEER-ren) is a Scottish form of Mary, I assume via some of the same linguistic routes as Miriam and Marian. There are lots of ways to spell it that are more Celtic (like Muiren, which is, I believe, the way they spelled Maid Marian's name in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves), but we wanted to give you the best chance of having people pronounce it correctly on the first try. We figured we could give you an unusual name as long as you didn't have to tell every single soul you met how to say it ;)

Anyway, both your Dad and I like Celtic things. He's of Irish heritage and I have some Scotch blood, and loved Scotland both times I visited it. Somehow, it seemed right to give you a Scottish name.

In addition to all of that, Miren (with one "R") is also a girl's name in Euskera (the Basque language). While we didn't choose that spelling, it seems appropriate given the fact that I once spent 4 weeks in Pais Vasco (Basque Country) and have a deep love for the culture, people, and language of the place. It was my first overseas experience and meant so much.

As far as meanings go, Mirren carries the same traditional meaning as Mary, which is "bitter." However, further research revealed that the name is also associated with being one who is loved, or beloved.

There's something about that juxtaposition that seems so right for life on this earth. Things will be bitter, and I know I can't keep you from experiencing that along the way. But no matter what happens, you will always be loved, and I hope you can remember that when you get a bad life-taste in your mouth. Because it's the love that matters in the end, and not so much the things that happen along the way.

Your middle name has raised some questions, too. Clarys (CLAIR-iss, rhymes with Harris) was your maternal great-grandma's name, and between her being a special woman and the name being too unique to lose, I wanted to give it to you. I would have considered it as a first name, but it reminds your dad of Clarice from Silence of the Lambs and neither of us wanted you associated with that.

I don't know what the name means, unfortunately. Apparently, there's a story about where it came from but no one quite remembers it. It's what it means to me that's most important, though. My grandma was a strong woman who lived a hard life in a hard place and still made something beautiful of it. Someday I'll take you to those wild, rolling South Dakota plains and show you where she came from, and I think you'll understand. I'll show you her grave, clustered with others (most of them your relatives) in a small, well-kept plot in the middle of a wheat-grass field. When you watch how the wind hits the tall sentinel pines that do their best to protect the cemetery, I think you'll see the sort of place where she made her life and made it work, even when it was hard.

That's what I want to give you, baby girl. That strength, that stands tall in the face of the things life offers and bends but doesn't break. My grandma had that strength and I hope my daughter does, too.

Little girl, you're our treasure. We talked about you as our little gift, the entire time you were inside, and you certainly are that. There's so much more to say, so many more thoughts and hopes and blessings I could give you, but I don't have the words right now and, besides, I think everyone is concerned as it is that I've been sitting on the couch crying for the last 20 minutes. I can't help myself. You're so very, very special to both your daddy and I and we love you so much.

Welcome to the world, baby girl. I hope you learn to treasure love and laughter and God and family and friends and that you have some sense, even now, of just how much you are loved.

More later, little darling, I'm sure of it. Meanwhile, sleep well.


kirsten michelle said...

Oh, Sarah -- this tugs on my heartstrings like nothing else. I've been following a blog where the blogger regularly writes letters to her baby girl and they grip me in a way I can hardly describe. This letter did so much more for me; it's more personal because I know you and got to pat your belly while she was still inside it.

I'm so excited for you to have your wee beautiful Mirren. I don't need to tell you to enjoy or to love her because I know you will do that better than anyone can.

I do hope you will keep up this letter-writing habit, even if you show them to no one else in the world but her and her daddy.

You are all so, so loved. The blessings of Christ to you.

P.S. I know you must have seen them already, but this is for you.

Tammy said...

Awwww how sweet and precious is that? Who can read this blog and still have dry eyes.........that is so beautiful Sarah, the words the prayers you have spoken over little pumpkin.

I always call babies pumpkins because that is what my dad called me when I was a baby and it just kinda stuck with me.

Now Sarah you know I cannot leave that Clarice statement alone. And I know this is a very serious blog, but i cannot help making a snide remark. I busted out laughing at the thing you said there.....you would just have to know how my mind works.......

"The Laaammmbbsss Clarice the Lammbbs....have they stopped screaming Clarice?"

I love you Sarah...you know I am just being silly right? I take this serious. She is just precious. Thanks for showing us her adorable little face. Both of those names are beautiful and that was such a powerful name that you chose to name her after her great grandmother....someone who sounds like a woman of valor. I am sure she will live to honor the name.

Sarah said...

Kirsten--I did see. I didn't get to tell you all that it meant to me, but thank you so much, for the special picture sand the special post ;)

Tammy--I've never seen the movie (hearing about it was bad enough), but I'm sure Dave will appreciate how your mind works ;) My dad calls babies "Punkins," which is close to Pumpkin.

Christin said...

Oh Sarah! Mirren is beautiful! I pray that the next days and weeks and months will be treasures as you get to know your precious daughter. There will never again be anything like the sweet days to come. Congratulations!

di said...

Congratulations on your precious baby girl. Mirren is beautiful. As is her name. Celebrating and rejoicing with you, mommy & daddy!

christianne said...

My sweet friend, this was a beautiful letter to a beautiful girl. I'm so happy for you and Dave. Mirren Clarys will be surrounded by so much love.

I'm trying to imagine how life has changed for you now. It's hard to even imagine! I look forward to getting glimpses into this new world as you share small updates here.

Much love,

Tammy said...

Hey Sarah I keep popping over here just so I can go Awwwwww how sweet.

Cahleen Hudson said...

Hello! I found your blog through High Calling Blogs. Congrats on your beautiful baby girl, and what a beautiful name you've chosen for her! I'm expecting my first child now, a little boy. This post gives me so much to look forward to!

heather said...

A beautiful, strong legacy passed to this little girl through her name--I pray God gives her the strength and grace to weave this legacy into her path like liturgy freeing us to follow God uniquely.

Sarah said...

Thanks for all the comments--they mean so much to me right now. Loving this little girl takes a lot of energy, but it's definitely worth it!

Jen said...

Congratulations, Sarah! Thanks for sharing your sweet, intimate, maternal thoughts with us. Mirren is blessed to have you.

Dean said...

Congratulations! How awesome for you to get to hold your precious little girl. To quote a Kenny Chesney song, "Don't blink, you just might miss your babies growing like mine did". She'll grow up faster than should be possible, so enjoy every minute.

Joelle said...

Dear Sarah, you are holding your treasure well, with such love--makes my eyes water a bit and heart smile. Enjoy your Mirren Clarys!

sojourner said...

wow - it's been so long since i've visited here that a new life has come into the world - and yet, the time seemed to pass quickly - what a beautiful little girl! blessings and peace to the three of ye!