Two women talk at the park about the latest in little girls’ names: Lily.
Two weeks later, a woman says to me, “Cora is not a name you hear much anymore. What a beautiful name!”
Or, my favorite, “Did you name her after the girl on Downton Abbey?”
Your name has an entire history, stories, and symbols wrapped into it just like your brother’s name. For it is journey of faith, love, and hope. Your name, Cora Aurelia-Ann Bridges, is not one you’ll find on a top ten list of baby girls’ names. Your name was carefully put together like a puzzle by your father and I just as we did for your brother.
On a Memorial Day a few years ago, your father and I walked with Charles through a cemetery at your Granddaddy’s family’s Baptist Church. I saw the name, Cora, on your great great grandmother’s head stone and for some reason it spoke to me. It stayed in my mind, and the only name that had stayed in my mind as long was Hannah.
Yes, I knew from the time I was in college that I would name my daughter Hannah. Hannah prayed to God for years to have one child who she would dedicate to God. Maybe the story spoke to me because of what your grandmother experienced with your uncle. Maybe it spoke to me because Hannah never lost faith that she would have a healthy child.
Yet, Cora stood out more and more. I can’t explain why, but very quickly it replaced Hannah for a first name. I fell in love with the name. Perhaps I had a gut feeling that name was meant to be yours and I would hold on to it until you came into the world.
Your nickname, Corrie, is chosen by your father. He loves you so much, and had wanted to use that nickname.
It is fitting I write this letter – blog – for Easter Sunday. Although I believe faith is very personal and I do not speak of it often, much faith and love comes with this name. It is joyful and big name to carry for with it carries the legend of a woman who had believed in my talents.
My grandmother always hated her first name, but her middle name was absolutely beautiful. It defined her smile and her soul.
One Easter Sunday, my aunt put the phone down on a restaurant table, and told me my grandmother passed away quietly. It was fitting she went away Easter Sunday of all Sundays because the sun shone bright enough to blind me, and although I felt sad that she would not see me or pictures of me graduating high school, she had fulfilled the entire meaning of that special middle name: golden.
This simple, sweet name was batted around for a long time. We were going to name you Cora Hannah Aurelia, but your father asked me to change my mind the night before you were born. He asked me because you were already being named for his great grandmother and my grandmother, who had influenced my life tremendously. He wanted to honor both of my grandmothers because they both helped raise me, teach me how to cook, and take care of myself.
No woman has been a greater influence in my life than Mimi. She sang to and with me. She taught me the importance of not only producing art, but appreciating and exploring art.
She shares a quality with your other great grandmother. She is not crazy about her first name, but her middle name is sweet and simple.
We put a hyphen in your name, which we did not do with your brother’s middle names, to represent the friendship between Mimi and my DickDick. Maybe it is the artist in me to put true meaning in a name, but because of you, their friendship and both sides of my family are connected.
It is sad that I did not celebrate Easter the way I should have last year with your brother because I was under pressure with classes, finals, and a very – shall we say – evil challenging professor.
Despite the pressure I face in finishing this school year, I feel like my faith is stronger because of you. I know it is the right thing to shut off the computer for one Sunday morning, and if I miss a question on a quiz Tuesday, I will not OCD about it.
In all seriousness, sweetheart, you have made life better. You make me feel like I can be an even better teacher than I was before, a better writer, and most importantly; a better mother.
Rebecca T. Dickinson