Monday, January 14, 2013

the story of her name

From the time our case worker, Megan, told us that her birth mom had named her Nila, we both knew that that would be her name.

Soon after, I decided that I wanted to change the spelling from Nila to Nyla. I didn't want people mistakenly calling her "nilla" instead of "nie-lah"

i also had this silly thought in my mind that people would try to be funny and call her "nilla wafer"

i know it was stupid, but as an african american girl in a (so far) all white family, i wanted to take away any opportunity for nicknames that could be offensive, especially if i had the foresight to fend them off.

After Nyla was decided i remember sitting at the dining room table racking my brain for a middle name.

I went through our small list of names that we had prepared for a girl and a boy and none seemed to fit with Nyla, so i got online to look up the meaning(s) of Nyla thinking that that might help.

In Gaelic, Nyla means "Champion" or "Cloud"
In Swahili, Nyla means "Gift"

What did i want my daughter to be a champion of. What was she a gift of?

and then it struck me...


A Champion of Grace
Gift of Grace.

yet, Grace seemed so popular, trendy even. Yet, i knew, that was it.
in that moment I didn't care how many other girls were named Grace, it was right.

I texted my friend Kate with my "dilemma" which wasn't really a dilemma at all.
She confirmed. That was just what she was. our gift of grace.

then i texted Curtis to get his thoughts. i texted him the meanings of Nyla and he was sold too.

Nyla Grace Penick

only later that night Curtis' mom also told us that Nyla (spelled Nila in her case) was the name of her grandmother.

a family name in every sense of the word.

She is a gift of grace to us, that's for sure.


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