Friday, June 10, 2011
i am always asked the origin of my daughter's name. her name is elodie (el-o-dee) which even a close friend mispronounces and i haven't the heart to correct after this much time has passed. if we were in france it would be élodie (pronounced ay-lo-dee with a hearty emphasis on the dee). she is named after my great-grandmother on my father's side. she was a tall, pretty german woman and i always carry a picture of her in my head on a boat in a lake holding a fishing pole. i might have made this up but i don't think so.
her middle name is swan. we knew her middle name before we knew her first name. she is named after the story of the ugly duckling. in my imagination she was this little creature in my belly that was growing and would unfold into a baby, fresh and new. free of labels. and the baby would grow, day by day, into a woman. along the way, she might have some awkward steps and be humbled. year by year she would gather labels. beautiful. smart. pretty. fat. skinny. lazy. whatever. some would stay, some would fade away. none would matter because praise or disparagement is temporary. the only truth would be what she decided to call herself. a swan is both an ugly duckling and a beautiful creature. every person should have the opportunity to be both, to learn from both which in turn contributes to growing into a more beautiful, imperfect human being. inside and out.
image: fieldguided's 'swan boat'