A letter to Lily - what's in a name?

  • September 07, 2015
  • By Stephanie Kirsch
  • 0 Comments

I struggled when I returned to work after maternity. I'd missed my job, my colleagues, my routine for the previous months and was looking forward to getting back. Then I arrived back, and it wasn't the same job I'd been missing. I often felt like my whole world had changed, but that everyone else was still the same. I missed my daughter so much it ached (as did my breasts, but that's way too much information). In my loneliness, I would often take time out during the day to 'write' to her.

8th May 2013

Dear Lily

It's been a really busy day today. My boss has been out of the office in Hong Kong since yesterday afternoon and I have been using the opportunity to catch up on all the bits that I don't usually get to do when he is here. I really have to do the filing, but I don't really like doing that, so I'm procrastinating.


Today I registered online for a couple of 'mummy' websites. They all promise to hold the key to getting your baby to eat well, sleep well, learn quickly. Luckily with you I don't have to worry. You're already really good at all these things! But I joined them anyway to read the newsletters and enter competitions. One of the topics was 'how did you choose your baby's name' and it got me thinking about my reasons for choosing yours.

According to baby name websites, your name Lily comes from the name of the flower, a symbol of purity, innocence and beauty. One even goes so far as to say:
"People with this name tend to be a powerful force to all whose lives they  touch. They are capable, charismatic leaders who often undertake large endeavours with great success. They value truth, justice, and discipline, and may be quick-tempered with those who do not."

But for me, the name Lily means someone who always displays true, inner beauty. The strength of a flower that stays beautiful despite the troubles the world can throw at us. It means lifelong colour and sense of humour in the face of adversity. It means charity, generosity and friendship.

That's because I named you after a much loved family friend. Lil York, Pearly Queen of Smithfield Market. Lil is quite ill at the moment, in fact she's been ill for a while now, but she still soldiers on and has an incredible zest for life. Despite being well into 'old age', she loves to drink, to party, to laugh. In the grand scheme of things, I guess I don't even know her that well. But I love her very much. Looking at her makes me feel less afraid of growing old. You're still so young, but I like to think that when you reach a grand old age and I am no longer with you, that you will still be young at heart, quick to laugh, friendly to those in need and full of warmth.

Lil York, Pearly Queen of Smithfield Market
Your second name, Louise, means 'warrior' or 'warrior princess'. I know a number of women called Louise and named you specifically for two of them. The first is your Aunt, Louise Jolly and the second is one of my childhood best friends, Louise Buist (although she was called Louise Blainey when I first met her). Both are born warrior princesses. They are beautiful. Strong. Adventurous. And I named you after them because I loved the way it fitted with your first name, that symbolically you would be named as not only beautiful, but powerful, not only a fighter, but a princess.

When we found out that you were going to be a girl during my 20-week scan I was so thrilled. Boys names were so hard to come up with and me and your Daddy just couldn't agree. But we knew straight away what your names would be. Even when we discussed other options is was only as a back-up, or 'just in case'. When you were growing in my tummy you were always my Lily-Lou and now you're also my Lily-Bug, Lily-Lou-Belle or even my 'Sickywickydoodah'. Your Daddy just calls you Lily, or sometimes he calls you 'Poobum'. But he calls me that too. Between you and me, I think he finds it funny, so I laugh just to humour him. It's something I'm sure you'll learn to do soon as well.

love always


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