When I first decided to name my baby girl, I searched a myriad of websites for names based on the meanings "light" or "sweet" or "good." I was desperate to attach a name to her that was the opposite of my experience of her conception.
I knew that she was completely the opposite of dark and horrifying and bad. She was my daughter. And it was not her fault.
One site turned up Ailis with the meaning "a light," and I loved it immediately. It was perfect. Interesting and different, and I could refer to her as Lissie, if I ever had the strength. I've always liked Lissie. So Ailis it was.
Except I can't find that site anymore, the one that says her name means "a light." (Not that it matters. It's her name, and it means that to me, whatever else the sites say.) Actually, the most common definition that comes up is "of noble kin."
When I first realized this, my thought was: Whaa?
Her father is a nameless, faceless coward who still haunts my nightmares and every shadowed alley, four years after our single shattering encounter. I have no idea what his family is like. And my own ancestry, generation upon generation, is an embarrassment, to say the least. So, yeah. Noble kin? Oops!
The more I thought about it, the more pleased I was with this additional (and indeed, more commonly offered) meaning that is attached to my daughter's sweet name. I like to think that maybe, just maybe, I could count as that noble kin. That I'm enough. That even though I'm just one person, it's enough to make the definition true.
And of course there are other people, who have stepped up and been family to us. I like to think that it makes my girl and I part of a bigger kind of family; a tribe bound by common spirit, instead of common genes. A kinship of perseverance and right-thinking and courage. Full of hope. And gentleness. And light.
My girl is a light, even if I'm the only one who can see it.
My girl is noble, and of noble kin.