Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's in a name?

Because Sophia decided to arrive a little (lot) early, we were unprepared in a number of ways. No car seat. No baby furniture. No bottles. The list goes on. One other thing we were unprepared for was naming her. Several of you participated in a little naming competition wherein you submitted first and middle name suggestions. We had looked at them briefly, but not in depth. We arrived at the hospital totally unprepared (thanks, Aunt LeAnn for bringing your camera!), including not having a name selected. At first, that was the last thing on our minds. We just wanted to make sure that she was stable and able to continue breathing on her own. But, as more and more people asked us, "What's her name?", we realized that we were going to have to get serious about this naming business. We were also pressed to do so when they told me we had to select a name before I was discharged from the hospital! No pressure there. The child is only going to have this name the rest of her life.

Anyway, Toby and I began very serious discussions about names. We would call them out to one another in between visits to the NICU. I don't recall many of the ones that we each suggested, but I do know that Sophia came up pretty early in the process. Toby used his handy, dandy iPhone to Google the meaning of the name Sophia. Here's what we found:


Origin: Greek
Meaning: Wisdom
Additional Info: The name Sophia is derived from the Greek work for "wisdom." In early religious and philosophical texts, characters who personified wisdom are referred to as "Sophia figures."

We not only liked the sound of the name, but we also liked its meaning. We hope that Sophia grows up to be a woman endowed with great wisdom. It also sounds great with her middle name, Lorene (my Mom's name). Thus, we welcomed to the world Sophia Lorene Slinkard.

Now to the real point of this post. I attended a luncheon today of sustaining members of the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas, of which I am one. One of the ladies attending is originally from Greece, and in fact has recently returned from an extended visit there. We were all chatting about what's been happening in our lives. I was talking about having a baby, and someone asked what her name is. I said, "Sophia." Athina, the woman from Greece, immediately said, "Oh, today is her name day!" Well, I'm sure from all the blank stares she got, including mine, she felt the need to further explain. Here's the gist:

For members of the Greek Orthodox faith, name days are a much-anticipated event each year, greatly overshadowing birthdays! Most children born into the Greek Orthodox families will be given a name that coincides with the name of a Greek Orthodox officially recognized saint. The name day is celebrated on the saint's day, and is cause for a birthday-like celebration including sweets, gifts, and parties. Much the same as birthdays in other cultures, the honoree is the host, and while most name days are celebrated at home where friends come to call, some take their parties out to clubs or restaurants and treat the entire gathering to a fun-filled event.

Guess what? September 17 is Sophia's name day! I wish I'd known. Perhaps we could have had a mini-celebration for her, though we are neither Greek nor Orthodox! Happy Name Day, Sophia. Maybe next year....?

P.S. Today also happens to be the birthday of my wonderful boss - Larry Olson! Happy B-day Larry.


Jessica said...

How cool is that?!? : )

Katie said...

Sophia is such a cutie!!!