To My Baby Girl –
I have started this note to you more than once and the words seem to get stuck in my head. I know what I want to convey to you, but I just can’t seem to put it on paper. You have been full of surprises thus far and I am getting more and more excited to meet you come May. To say that I am prepared and ready would be a lie. I am scared and unsure to be honest. The reality of you being here hasn’t really hit me yet, but I’m sure you will come, whether I am ready or not! I pray every night for God to give me enough love to share with you and your sister, and I am sure He will. After all, your Grammy loved all three of her kids with no problems, as did your Naggy. I am sure, just like when your sister arrived; there is no explanation for the love that will overwhelm us all for you.
We struggled for a long time trying to name you. Your Daddy and I pondered name after name – and everyone else shared their opinions too. Your sister has a very special name to us. Carli Lynn was named after your Grandpas and I think that is so awesome. She has this special bond with them, and will get to carry that with her wherever she goes. I wanted that for you – I wanted to give you that gift of heritage in your name as well.
There are two very special women in our lives. You will get to know them well when you get here. You have two of the most awesome Grandmas. Words cannot express all that they mean to your Daddy and I. We thought long and hard about trying to name you after them, but the problem is that they don’t like their names! So, I’m not sure how much honoring we would have done for them to name you by names that they do not like! Truthfully, your Daddy and I think that they have beautiful names, but you can’t change the way ppl think.
Tessie Jean is your wonderful Naggy, your Daddy’s Momma. She has such a creative spirit. From the first time I met her, she made me feel welcomed into her family. Your Naggy has her hands full with all the men in her life. She was so overjoyed to learn that you were coming and us girls were going to outnumber the men in the family! Your Naggy is such a devoted friend, wife and mother. She takes care of her own and is very loyal to us all. Naggy may live a ways away but that does not keep her from being a part of our lives. We get to talk to her and Pappy at least once a week, and your sister will be sure share all the wonderful times she and Naggy have had. My hope is one day, you will understand that Tessie Jean is more than just a name – it is your Naggy, someone who would go to the end of the world and back for you.
And then we have your Grammy, my Momma. When I think of Nancy Catherine or Cassie, your Grammy, I think of her loyalty, love and giving nature. Your Grammy would do anything for us. She really does. She tries her best to “stay out of the way” but really I’m not sure there is such a thing as your Grammy being in the way! She is one of my best friends. I talk to her every day. She is simply awesome. She’s an amazing cook, so much fun to bargain shop with and so awesome when it comes to her grandkids. She is a wonderful woman of God. She has taught me more by her actions than any Sunday school teacher could have taught me. I have cried on her shoulder many times and there were no words needed to find comfort there. One day, you’ll understand these amazing qualities in your Grammy – and you’ll see what I see when I hear Nancy or Cassie or Catherine – you’ll see one amazing Godly woman.
But since your Grandmas do not see things the way your Daddy and I do, we prayed and thought long and hard about how we would honor these wonderful ladies while still respecting their opinions. And so, we decided what better way to honor them than to do so by looking at their Moms.
Ava comes from your Daddy’s grandmother. Her real name was Avialene, but she went by Avia (pronounced ah-vuh). While Ava is not pronounced or spelled the same, your Daddy and many of his cousins think of their Granny when they hear Ava. And your Daddy will have an avenue to tell you all about his Granny and his Momma when you ask where your name came from. I never had the privilege of meeting Granny, but I know your Daddy loved her very much. And I know enough about her family to know that she was a wonderful woman who loved and served both her family and God. We are very thankful for the legacy she has passed down through her kids and grandkids, and are extremely proud to name you after her.
Just like your big sister, your middle name holds quite a significant meaning. Hazel Ruth Smith was my Grandmother – Grammy’s mom. She was a graceful, Godly woman. Really, when I think of grace, elegance, strength - I think of my Grandmother. She held strong to her beliefs, she supported her husband and raised some wonderful kids. I remember finger painting at my Grandmothers house, and not getting to watch TV - but they did take us to the movies. Strange what things we remember. My Grandmother loved cookies, and to snack throughout the day. She was very particular about what she wore and how comfortable it was over how it looked. One day, you’ll have to remind me to tell you about the one characteristic that Grandmother said she shared with me. She was a wonderful mother, wife, grandmother and most of all committed to God. I know you will never get to know my Grandmother, but you will know your Grammy and through both Grammy and I, you will know all about Hazel Ruth Smith.
So, little Ms. Ava Ruth Hays. I know one day soon I will be holding you in my arms and experience that surreal moment of knowing that I am your Momma and that you are here, you are real and you are one wonderful, unique little girl. I also know, that you will be your own little person, and I don’t expect you to be just like your sister, or me, or either of your Grandmas. But I do hope you know that your name carries so much honor, love, and faith – that in your own way you will carry a little piece of the heritage we pray we pass on to you through your name.