Friday, March 20, 2015

What's In a Name? -An 8th Birthday Story

Tomorrow is Miss Lana Lu's 8th birthday.  Lana Lu.  Some of you might think Lu is her middle name since I call her that a lot.  However, it is not.  Her middle name is Drew, after her father, Andrew, and not Drew Barrymore like some people have also asked me.  Although eight years ago when she was born all she had was a middle name for a while.  For Andy and I middle names for the girls were the easier part.  Coming up with the first names led us to divorce proceedings.  Then we thought getting divorced over choosing a baby name was kinda stupid so you know, we worked it out, and settled on a name, or so we thought.  We are good like that.  However, little Lana didn't have a name on the day she was born.

Eight years ago today I went to the hospital to give birth to my second girl.  Andy and I had settled on giving her Drew for her middle name, because Sonya had Lynne for hers, which is also my middle name.  At the time we thought we were going to name Lana, Holly.  Holly was a name I had always liked, partially because of the British character on General Hospital I had watched growing up, but also because I think it's a pretty name.  Plus there was the fact that we really couldn't agree on anything else.  We had lists of names, but Holly was the only one we both were ok with, so we thought we would go with it.  The only bit of a problem with the name was that it also belonged to a girl Andy dated in college.

I know all of you women out there just gasped and now think I'm crazy for even entertaining this idea. To be honest, I didn't care.  I mean she was a girl he dated for a few months in college. It's not like she was ever someone he was planning on marrying.  Far from it in fact. She may have been a bit of a do I put this nicely...promiscuous girl.  Yeah that's a nice word than what I was thinking of in my head (slut). What? She was!  I'm not being mean, it really is just a fact.  However,  I've never been the type to care about who dated who in their past.  I mean it's their past.  I have past boyfriends too and we were married now and pregnant with our 2nd baby.  It's not like I had a reason to be insecure.  I can't help it if the girl he dated had a name we both liked.  And dammit it was the ONLY name we both liked.  So I said- who cares.  Andy had more reservations about it than I did.  She isn't someone he keeps in contact with at all, but he worried that if he ever did run into her one day what would she think about us having a daughter with her name.  Would she think Andy harbored some burning desire for her still?  He didn't want that, because he certainly didn't.  I offered other names like Lila, or Georgia (yes that name was in the running since I had Sonya), but he wasn't keen on any of those at the moment, so we stuck with Holly.

Then I went through 23 hours of labor with the soon to be little Holly.  I was doing everything I could to not have a c-section again and I succeeded.  After I gave birth to my second daughter I was on a high I don't think I could even describe.  Okay some of that might have been the pain medication. The rest of it was the feeling of accomplishment that I hadn't been wheeled to the operating room again to have my stomach cut open.  No this baby got pushed out and I had done it.  I was elated. I was ready to run marathon!  Okay maybe not a marathon.  And perhaps not run, but I could sit up and gingerly walk to the bathroom on my own.  A million times better then right after a c-section.  

"Let me see her!" I said as they weighed and checked her APGAR.

Andy was standing with her talking to her as they looked her over.

"So?" I asked, "Is she still Holly?"

He looked up and me and definitively shook his head no.   Then when they brought her to me I saw why.  She really in no way looked like a Holly.  I don't know how else to say it.  This is why when people name their babies in the womb, then start calling them that name, I personally think it's a big mistake.  That baby can come out not looking like your name choice at all.  My second daughter was NOT a Holly.

"Then what are we going to name her?" I asked Andy, hoping he had an answer.  He did not.  Back to the proverbial drawing board.

After we had moved to our room and we had a number of people ask her name, to which we had no answer, I pulled out my notebook.  I had brought it with me with all the names we had gone over throughout the nine months.  I was calling out names I had written down for each letter to Andy and he said no or I did.  Then we got to "L".

"Lonnie?" I asked.

Andy paused for a minute.  "That's not bad," he said.

"Or how about Lana?" I said looking at the other "L" name on my list.

"That's a good one too," he admitted.

I looked down at my sleeping baby and tried out both names.  She had been born with a set of full lips anyone who's had collagen injections would have killed for.  The names both seemed to suit her, but we were still unsure.  It was late and Andy had to get home to relieve our friend Melinda who had been staying with Sonya for over a day at that point.  He left and we decided to sleep on it.  Throughout the night when I was awake with my newborn I kept trying out both names, but Lana was that one that sat  best with me.  Something about it was cute and fiery.  

Andy had gone home that night and told Melinda the names we were thinking about and she had sent me a message saying that she loved the name Lana.  So the next day when Andy came in with Sonya we both agreed.  On March 22, 2007 we introduced Sonya to her little sister, Lana Drew Dadekian.  A cute and fiery name indeed.  One that she has lived up to in her short eight years on this earth.  The name Lana means light and then I found this on a website called 

"People with this name tend to initiate events, to be leaders rather than followers, with powerful personalities. They tend to be focused on specific goals, experience a wealth of creative new ideas, and have the ability to implement these ideas with efficiency and determination. They tend to be courageous and sometimes aggressive. As unique, creative individuals, they tend to resent authority, and are sometimes stubborn, proud, and impatient."

Perhaps I should have researched more before we just decided that she "looked like a Lana", and went with it.  Although most of those qualities are great and definitely Lana, it's the "aggressive, stubborn, proud and impatient" ones that have given me grief over the last eight years.  On the other hand it makes her who she is.  The kid who will decide she is going to do something and then you better stay out of her way because she is doing it. And she is doing it the way she wants to.  She is definitely determined with certain things. I've always said that Lana is the one of my three I will worry about the least in getting ahead in life.  She will make things happen if she wants them to.   Then there is the stubborn and proud part, like the morning she argued with me for ten minutes on what day my birthday was on.  She insisted it was April 28th.  Even though I've been celebrating it on April 18th for 40 years, she made me wonder for a second if I'd been on the wrong day all along.  I mean her way would make me 10 days younger.  It is well documented  on here over the years about her aggression and her temper, however, what the paragraph doesn't include is her ability to make up for her aggression.  It might take her a minute or 60 to cool off, but when she does she always apologizes to whoever she wronged.  Then everything  just goes back to normal with her.  There is no grudge holding with Lana.  What's done is done, let's move on.  Sorry if you are now sporting a 2 inch scratch across your cheek.  I will ask mom to cut my nails later.  (That really happened about 2 weeks ago.)  Don't get me wrong though, she is a friendly and kind little girl as well.  Although, those are traits I believe she works on more they are still something she aspires to be.  

Yup, tomorrow is Lana's 8th birthday.  She has developed such a great little personality in these 8 years, good and bad.  It was a personality you could see from day one, which is why the name Holly would have never suited her.  So I don't know if we chose the name Lana for her or if she chose it for herself, but I couldn't imagine her as anyone else.  She is our light. Our unique, determined, courageous, impatient, stubborn, cute fiery and yes, even sweet, light of our family.  I can't imagine my life for these past 8 years without her in it.  I love you Lana La, Lana Drew for infinity times infinity. I can't wait to see where your fantastic personality with your matching name takes you in this life.  


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Common Ground

I've mentioned on here before how every year at Christmas time we take a trip to Disneyland.  I am aware at how lucky we are to leave near the Happiest Place on Earth.  I am also aware of how even more fortunate we are that we get in for free thanks to my good friend Melinda, who works for Disney.  (Hi Melinda!)  We have been going every year since Sonya was two or three.  Even the years when the little girls were babies.  However, I do not understand why anyone would want to take a newborn to  Disney unless they had an older sibling with them.  It is not always fun with a newborn especially when you are breastfeeding.  I can point out many places throughout the park where I had to stop to nurse one of the  girls.  Outside of Minnie's house, yup.  Main Street, check. During one of the parades, been there.  

The first few years we visited the park our trip was was mostly about seeing the characters, because that's all the girls cared about.  That and a ride on Dumbo and the Carousal and we were done.  In the past couple of years, however, it has become more exciting as they have become older, taller and more willing to ride some of the more fun or adventurous rides.

Sonya was, of course, the first to go on those rides like Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain.  I myself happen to LOVE roller coasters, so waiting for my girls to be old enough to take on these rides was like waiting to be tall enough to ride them myself.  Sonya will ride them most of the time.  They are not always her favorite and she could really take them or leave them. Besides, after last year's incident with the Indiana Jones ride, she is more nervous about hopping on a coaster.   This year was the first year Lana and Georgia were able to ride both coasters.  Lana was apprehensive about doing it, but Georgia...Georgia couldn't wait.

The first one we braved was Big Thunder Mountain.  Lana was a bit nervous as we got on the ride.  She was sitting behind me with Melinda, because she insisted she was going to ride with Melinda.  You'd think she would want to ride with her mom or dad, but no.  Gotta be Auntie Melinda.  Georgia and Andy were in the car behind them and Sonya was with me.  During the course of the ride I could hear Georgia giggling and screaming in delight the whole time.  I turned around to see how Lana was doing, and to say she had a look of sheer terror on her face would be an understatement.  For those of you who have never been on Big Thunder Mountain, it's pretty tame as far as roller coasters go.  It's a perfect first coaster for kids though because of that.  Still, Lana did not look like she was having fun,  especially compared to the ear to ear grin and giggles GG was sporting.  

Once the ride was over Georgia exclaimed how much fun it was and Lana, trying to be upbeat, said it was okay. Yes, that was upbeat for her. Although by the end of the day she claimed it as her second favorite ride, so who knows. I do know when I mentioned Space Mountain I received a very definite "Nuh-uh!" from her.  Sonya was also not all that excited at the mention of Space Mountain.  She has been before, but again, she's never super excited for it.  Georgia on the other had was asking about it non stop.

After dinner and a ride on the Hunted Mansion and Pirates, we decided to split up.  Andy took the two older girls to wait in the forever line at Peter Pan while Melinda and I took Georgia to explore the space coaster.  

When we got there the wait said 45 minutes which I knew was pushing it, but figured it wouldn't take that long so we hopped in.  Unfortunately, the time was wrong but we were on the bad end of it. We ended up waiting for over an hour.  I was more than a little annoyed by the time we got to the front, but Georgia was still in good spirits and she was so excited for the ride I let it go.

She sat next to me in the car and wiggled around her seat when we got in, full of energy and smiles.  I remember taking Sonya on that same ride just a few years before and what a different experience it was.  She was anxious and holding on to me for dear life.  Georgia was completely the opposite.  She was on a high of happy and excitement.  I had warned her that it would be really dark and if she was scared to just hold on to me.  I could tell from the moment the ride started there would be no scaring her.  We went through the first tunnel of lights making it look like we were about to take off and I looked over to see her smiling and looking around, completely thrilled.  As we made our way through the winding darkness of the coaster, she giggled and screamed just as she had on Big Thunder Mountain. She probably didn't need to hold on to me, but I was holding tight to her, you know just to be sure she didn't fall out.  (Sometimes it's hard to have fun and not still have mom thoughts in your head.)

As the two minute ride came to a speeding stop, I looked over at her finally visible in the light.  Her hair was wild and all over the place and she was still smiling, perhaps bigger than before.  As we approached the place where we were to exit, I asked her how it was and she yelled,


 I was so excited she was excited I thought about it for a second.  Yeah, except I wasn't waiting an hour again.  I will admit it was totally worth the hour wait the first time to realize that I had found my roller coaster kid.  She didn't have a bit of her that had been scared.  Nothing but excitement and fun.  Exactly the way I was when I was her age with roller coaster.  I was never scared. 

 It's always interesting when you find something in common with one of your kids.  Whether it's love of roller coasters, taste in food or your favorite animal being the same.  Some of it is nurture sure, but there was no way I would have coaxed Lana into going on that ride.  On the other hand this was all nature for Georgia. No amount of nurturing needed.   It is something that brings me closer to her as she grows in to her own person.  Even if the other two don't feel the same way, there are other interests that I can relate to with them.  I can't wait to found out what those are over the years.  Slowly, we are transitioning out of the just taking care of the kids and making sure they stay alive, to seeing them develop as people with their own personalities.  Even though they don't need me as much as they once did,  I get to now see what we will have in common to share in life.  That being said,  I can't wait to see who is going to be the wine drinker so I have someone else to go wine tasting with.   After they turn 21 of course.  Although that interest should never be combined with the roller coaster interest.  The results would be disastrous.  At least for me.