Back when I thought I would give birth early (and then on time), Lucy’s naming was originally scheduled for the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Given that she decided to wait until eight days past her due date until making her entrance, we thought it would be best to postpone a bit and held Lucy’s ceremony the morning of Molly’s second birthday party. We were fortunate to have many of Lucy’s extended family as well as close friends here to celebrate her. Pictures from our special morning:
My favorite part of the ceremony was when each guest lit a candle for Lucy (both Lucy and her Hebrew name, Ora, mean light) and gave her a wish or a blessing. It made me feel so grateful that she was surrounded by the light and love of her family and friends. During the ceremony, Lee and I spoke to Lucy, and I asked my sister to say a few words as well. Here is what we had to say:
Leah’s words to Lucy:
Hello, my little peanut. Today is your naming ceremony, which is almost three months later than intended, but I don’t mind since these past three months have given me the time to get to know you. And because vision in hindsight is always perfect, and since I’ve had some time to reflect, today I’d like to admit to you the most wrong I’ve ever been.
All throughout my pregnancy with you, I had a nagging worry at the back of my mind. I reasoned that I couldn’t possibly love anyone as much as I love your sister. Molly is my everything. My love for her is vast and wide and deep, and I worried that to love you too would somehow take away from her. I didn’t think I had the space. I didn’t think I could love stronger, harder, more than I already did, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to love you the same way. I worried that I would fail you.
Lucy, from the moment you flopped onto my chest and opened your mouth and lungs to cry, I have been lost in you. One of my favorite sayings is that when a child is born, a piece of the mama’s heart leaves her body forever. When Molly was born, that empty space was filled with more love than I ever knew was possible. When you were born, the new empty space was filled with the exact same amount of infinity. My love for you is every bit as endless and overwhelming and all-consuming as my love for Molly. My love for you is greater than all the stars in the sky, all the sand on all the beaches, all the water in all the oceans. You are my second child by timing only. I am so grateful to have been so mistaken.
And with that said, I would like to echo some of what I told your sister at her naming. Not because you don’t deserve your own words, but because they have held true for her life so far and I hope to raise you with the same truths. The first is that our family is a team. We root for each other, support each other, and challenge one another to be our best selves. Your dad and I love each other fiercely. We are not perfect. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. But each day we try to be kind. We try to remember what matters. We try to show each other and our girls the depth of our love and gratitude.
Other truths: We will always be your biggest fans. If you want something badly enough and are willing to work for it, you can do anything. Most people turn out to be good, in the end. There will come a time in your life when your dad and I won’t be enough for you – when it will feel like we don’t understand you or maybe even that we’re not on your team. When this happens, call on one of the people in this room today. We won’t be mad, and we won’t be hurt – your family is all around you, even when they’re far away. Talk to Aunt Jodie or Aunt Sarah, to Uncle Simon or Uncle Dan, to one of your Nanas or Papas or to Josi. Talk to your sister Molly. She will always be on your team. In fact, if there’s anything that could possibly have made me love her more than I already did it has been watching her fall in love with you. We are all enamoured, peanut. Welcome to our family.
Lee’s words to Lucy:
Lucy Elizabeth, you are named after your great grandfathers Leslie and Isadore. I’m here to tell you about Leslie who was my grandfather and in many ways my father. Due to a long series of circumstances I grew up with my grandfather. Our house consisted of just the two of us and even though it wasn’t his job to do so, he raised me.
Your great grandfather came to America from England in 1948 and even though he lived in America for over 50 years and married his sweetheart from New Jersey, he always identified as British: he watched British sitcoms on PBS; if he heard even the slightest twinge of an accent he would immediately make it a point to befriend a fellow Brit; his culinary favorites were entirely Yorkie.
The generation gap between me and him made certain things about our relationship very difficult; his way of parenting and discipline were definitely rooted in the 1920s. As my side of the family is fond of saying, “I miss that miserable bastard.” The largest lesson you can learn from him would be, “life is complicated.” It’s possible to be warm and cold and caring and grieving and happy and sad at the same time.
When your sister was born I spoke about the affirmations that I wrote for your mother to help her stay positive while she was in labor. During your mama’s labor with you we reused several of these affirmations but also came up with some new ones.
“You’ve done this before, no sweat,” I told your mom this to remind her that she had been through the labor process before. As second time parents you might hear us say things like this alot. You remind me of when Molly did this, I know what’s coming, let’s compare! We don’t say these things to take anything away from you Lucy. If anything this affirmation is ironic as labor and the journey we will go on together are not easy. You are unique and I am sure you will find ways to surprise us anew.
“Molly can’t wait to meet her sister!” This was to remind us that we are now a family of four. Odds are that even in the worst of times you will be able to confide in one of us, cry on our shoulder, laugh, or tell us your secrets. We can’t wait to watch our girls grow up together and become best friends, then best enemies, then best friends again.
And now I am going to repeat myself from your sister’s naming ceremony because it is now truer than ever.
There is lots of work to do out here in the world. For your mama in labor it was “work with a purpose,” the purpose was to bring you safely to us. As you grow and learn, and see, and think, you will find all kinds of things that don’t make sense. Don’t be afraid to try to change them. Don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t be afraid to explore. Don’t be afraid to offer your hand to someone in need. Don’t be afraid of work with a purpose, it is the most rewarding work you can complete.
“We are all here to make sure everyone is ok,” I wrote this to remind your mom she was surrounded by a team of caring people, who were at her side through all her labor pains. I want you to know that we, your parents, your sister, your family, and your friends, we are all here to make sure you are ok. You are not alone, you are surrounded by uncountable experiences, unmeasurable advice, and unending love. We all will make sure that you are ok, healthy, safe, and loved.
So now you’re here! We’re all so excited to see and meet the person you will become. We are all ready to go out and share in your adventures. We are ready to be at your side when you need us. We are ready to teach you what we know. We are ready to show you all that we can. We are ready to try to make sense of the world together. Which reminds me of another affirmation, “GO TEAM SPRINGER!” We are ready to hold your hand and walk down the path together.
Aunt Jodie’s words to Lucy:
You are a gift. A sister is truly the best gift anyone could ever give or receive. My greatest wish for you is that your relationship with Molly be as special and as cherished as mine is with your Mama. Sisters have an incredibly special relationship. You are playmates, confidants, partners in crime. Your relationship will have ups and downs over the years ahead. Big Sisters can be bossy. Big Sisters tease, play tricks on, and sometimes are outright mean to Little Sisters. Little Sisters get away with more because they’re younger, they’re cute, they supposedly “don’t know better.” Sisters complain about each other, roll their eyes at each other, make faces behind each other’s backs. They also protect each other, stand up for each other, and fiercely defend each other. Some days, your sister will make you wish you were an only child. Other days (most days), she’ll be your best friend – the person who “gets you” like no one else. A sister sees you at your best and at your worst and loves you anyway. Sometimes you will be jealous of each other. More times, you will be incredibly proud of each other, joyfully celebrating accomplishments and tenderly comforting in difficult moments. You will share clothes, toys, secrets, knowing looks, laughter and tears.
As we welcome you into the world and into our faith today, my wish for you is to know this lifelong joy of sisterhood. You and Molly are so incredibly lucky to have each other. May you see each other as gifts more often than not, creating memories and nurturing the secret bond that only sisters know. You are so loved, Little Lucy – Little Sister.
What a loved, loved, loved, little girl we have.