Friday, May 13, 2011

The Story of a Name

Note: This rambling is more for my own records than anything, but I know some of you are truly interested in how we arrived at the name Kaia.  If you are, read on, if not, skip this one. 

McKenzie was easy.  Dustin and I had picked out her name long before we were even married.  Lake McKenzie is the most beautiful lake we've ever seen.  A crystal clear, fresh water lake on a white sand island off the coast of Australia. Amazing.  For years we talked about possible middle names and decided long before I was ever pregnant that our first girl would be McKenzie Elizabeth, after my mom.
Lake McKenzie
Skip ahead to pregnancy number two.  We have no other meaningful names in our arsenal.  While there are tons of names that we like, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to come up with a name that also had a story.  We didn't want the girls to hit those tween years, ask us how we picked their names and have to explain to baby number two that her name was on page 80 of the baby name book while her sister's name was the result of her parents' worldly travels.

We decided to wait to discuss names until we knew the sex of the baby and in December we began the search for the perfect name.  We started with family names.  While we love all of our grandmothers dearly, Alma, Joyce, Delores and Elise just didn't seem a good fit.  Then we looked at our grandmas' middle names:Virginia, Carol, Jean and Peatrya.  This wasn't going to be easy.

Next we took the same route that allowed us to arrive at McKenzie's name.  We thought of meaningful places we've been.  We got engaged at Gunsight Lake in Montana, married in Jaffrey, NH, met in Keene, first lived together in Putney (we actually considered this as a name).  We didn't want our girl to be Gunner so we went to the next logical place, Hawaii.

Our time in Hawaii is the most special time Dustin and I have spent together as a couple.  Not only did we get to meet and become friends with some of the nicest, most caring people on this planet, we also saw some of the most beautiful landscapes we'll probably ever see.  Unfortunately, picking a name that represented our time in Hawaii was not easy.  We didn't want the name to be too Hawaiian for a New Englander.  We tossed around Malia, Maile, and Leilani.  Hawaiian flowers? Hibiscus, Plumeria? Hmm, Meria?  Is that a name?  

Somehow through all this discussion we landed on the name Mia and quickly fell in love with it. Come to find out, so have millions of other people because it is in the top ten baby names in the U.S. for 2009.  We didn't want our daughter to be known as Mia R. for her entire childhood and eventually we shifted to the name Maya.  We really liked the name, but it still lacked any true meaning for us.  There are no less than five different ways to spell Maya.  If spelled "Maia" it means Goddess of Spring.  We were only about week away from my due date and felt that this might be as close as we would get to having a meaningful name.  It wasn't a real deep meaning, or one that we really connected to all that much, but we had spent a lot of time thinking on it and that would have to be enough.  

Then, we had the aha moment.  Talking about Hawaii again one night one of us mentioned the Hawaiian word for ocean, kai.  Kai is a male word and not one that seemed fitting for a little girl.  I said, "Maia? Kaia?  Kaia!"  We both loved it.  Next we wanted to check to see if this was, in fact, a real name or if we had just invented it.  The Social Security Administration's website (which is amazing, check it out, confirmed that, while not very popular, Kaia is a real name.  

Now, we realize that both of our daughters are named after bodies of water, but it really isn't about the water at all.  The ocean in Hawaii is where Dustin and I created lots of memories.  Dustin found a new love, spearfishing, and when relaxing at the beach we found peace.  The ocean in Hawaii is amazing and beautiful.  We think that makes a pretty great story for a name.

Kaia's middle name, Marie, honors my best friend.  If Kaia grows up to be a kind, caring, funny, helpful, thoughtful person like Mindy we will be truly blessed.
Sunset at Waimea Beach, Oahu

1 comment:

  1. I thought Marie might be after me, but I wasn't sure. Thank you so much for this beautiful honor.