When we decided not to find out the gender of this last baby, it kept us from diving in to the baby name game. In fact, I sort of found myself avoiding the conversation. We’d literally used all of the names we’d hoped to give our children. The twins alone took four names out of our arsenal! We decided to give this baby the name Lee regardless of the gender, after Chris’ mother. After that, we weren’t entirely sure. I’d throw one out every now and then and we’d have lighthearted chats, but we decided to just go with the flow once he or she arrived.
The day she came, time slowed to a crawl for me. I was in heaven in the hospital. I didn’t care about anything other than holding her. I just kept calling her “the baby,” and I figured her name would come when it needed to – which apparently was soon, as we had to sign the birth certificate paperwork before discharge from the hospital. Chris sent me text messages that night, after he put the kids to bed and got a chance to process the day. He wanted to name our girl, and he began running down the (very short) list of girl names we’d shared. When I say short, I mean… there were only two or three options at that point.
He knew that I liked Esther, but we both liked the Hebrew version better. Hadassah, pronounced HUH-DASS-UH, was Esther’s given name. She’s one of the big heroines of the Bible, a queen famous for saving her entire race with her smarts and patience and self-control. I like the self-control part; she waited until the time was right, nearly ten years, to speak up and have her people spared. That’s where people get the phrase, “for such a time as this.”
I want that kind of patience and self-control for my daughter. I want to raise a woman who’s assertive and graceful, smart and compassionate, fierce and faithful. So when Chris got to the hospital the next day, Hadassah Lee became official. One of the definitions of her name is “myrtle tree,” a representation of righteousness to the Jewish people. We’ve since planted six of them in our yard, a gift from my grandfather.
Haddie Lee is okay for you folks who feel weird about big, heavy names. It’s Southern and familial and it rolls off the tongue, like her big sisters’ names. But I’m pretty fond of her given name at this point, and this little queen will grow up hearing it spoken often.