When Missy and I lived in NJ, we went to Atlantic City a lot. We’re not big gamblers or anything, but it was a nearby place to getaway to… with lots to do around the clock and indoors. We had a lot of awesome memories there; it was the very first place we went away together. As awful and cheesy as the city is, we had some very romantic moments there as well and I have a lot of awesome memories there. (How tacky to think that our most romantic memories are in A.C., but it’s true.)
Growing up, I always wanted to have children, a family. It was never an “if”, but it was a “when”. Becoming pregnant and having babies has been a goal and a dream my whole life. I looked forward to and thought about my future children a lot – even as a small child, as a teen, and as a young adult. I dreamt about it, both while awake and while asleep. I decided how many I wanted (this number has changed many times over the years), the perfect birth order by gender (even though you obviously don’t get to choose this), how far apart they’d be spaced (this too has changed many times), and the perfect names. I remember being very young… maybe 6? 8? And sometimes hearing names I liked, meeting new people or hearing about people… and thinking “that’s a great name, I could name my daughter that.” Yes, I said daughter. In all my dreams, it was always a girl. Maybe because I was a girl and I was the oldest. Maybe I wanted a girl. Maybe because many years later, I’d actually HAVE a girl. But my whole life I’ve been naming my daughters. And I’ve gone through dozens of names. Some of the childhood names I liked are pretty bad. And the ones I chose in high school, not that great. College, still no. And even post-college, I never picked a great name. But at the time I always thought they were great.
In 2003 or 2004, Missy and I were in A.C. in a hotel, and I was asleep. I woke up from an extremely vivid dream, it was so ordinary, I thought it could have been real. I don’t even remember what the dream was specifically about, it was just ordinary day to day stuff… but Missy and I lived together, and we had a daughter. The dream wasn’t ABOUT the daughter, she was just there, and in my dream she seemed to make perfect sense as though she’d always been there. She even had a name in my dream, her name was Lilian Grace. I woke up, and it took me a minute to realize that it wasn’t real, she didn’t exist, Missy and I weren’t home, we were in a hotel. I told Missy about our dream daughter and how real she felt.
What was bizarre about her having a name in my dream, was that “Lilian” was never a name I had chosen or considered in my 20 years of baby-planning in my head. I don’t know anyone named Lilian and I never particularly liked the name. I knew where the “Grace” came from… Missy, her mom, aunt, and sister all have Grace as one of their middle names too, and Grace was her grandmother (still alive at the time of this dream), so Missy knew that any daughter she had would have “Grace” as one of her names as well. My subconscious dream-mind remembered this, but I have no idea where “Lilian” came from, but it felt so real, and so right.
Fast-forward a few years… when I was pregnant and we were discussing names, we talked about several girls names (always with “Grace Isabel” as the middle names, Isabel after my grandfather Isidor who died in 2006, to carry on Jewish tradition), but in the end, Missy made the final call that “Lilian” would be our choice. I’m not even so sure that it was her “favorite” girl’s name as much as it was a name that meant something to us.
We decided on our male/female names before we discovered the gender – so we’d not be tempted to have to agree all over again by changing our minds. When we had the ultrasound that determined the gender, when the man pointed out her va-jay-jay, I just nodded and thought to myself “yes, that’s exactly where it should be”. From the moment I saw the 2 pink lines on that very first pregnancy test, I knew it was a girl. I tried to keep an open mind, because I could have been wrong. And I would have been happy to have a son, its not that I only WANTED a girl, its that I KNEW, felt she was a girl. But I just knew, like I’d always known, I could just feel that she was, in fact, a she.
So, naming Lilian after the girl I dreamt about felt right. And now that she’s here, I can’t imagine her with any other name. As crazy as it sounds, I kind of even feel like we didn’t choose her name – that she chose it for herself. That our daughter, Lilian Grace, who had visited me many times before (but only once with a name) was finally coming true.
To be honest, I don’t know how this makes sense to me, but it does. I don’t believe in the supernatural. I don’t believe in god, or heaven, or souls, or reincarnation, or ghosts, or anything else that might make this make sense. I believe in what I can touch and understand, science and what’s real. But for some reason, the thought that my future daughter visited me in dreams, and told me her name somehow doesn’t seem completely insane to me at times. When I see Lilian, sometimes I think about how I’ve been waiting to “meet” her my whole life, not “make” her… she always existed to me.
This is babbly, because it’s after 4AM and I’m going on just 5 hours of sleep from yesterday.
I’m not exactly positive if Missy’s reasons for making “Lilian” our final name choice are the same as mine, but somehow everything in the universe came together just right and our daughter, Lilian Grace Isabel, is here with us now. I love her name, it suits her perfectly and I can’t imagine calling her anything else.