Letter to Camille: Your Name

Sweet Camille Grace, thank you for quietly snoozing through yet another meal in a restaurant. We just got back from Moon River (technically your first trip to a bar – though we headed straight to the restaurant portion), where we took our friend Andy who is visiting from L.A. This was your third foray into public dining, and (just as the two previous outings) you were wonderful. You slept peacefully the entire time. I know there will come a day when this will no longer be the case, but thank you for being such an angel. I thought we were going to have to protect you from the strange man who came over wanting to peek into your infant carrier – but he just congratulated us on such a beautiful child and went on his way. Who can blame him for wanting to see you? Still, your daddy kept a hand on the carrier as the man walked by again.
I was thinking the other day about all the crazy nicknames we call you, and I thought I should write them down so we will remember them. I also thought you might like to know why we picked your name, Camille Grace.
Neither name is a family name. We tossed around a few of those, but none of them stuck. One day, your Daddy and I were driving from Mobile (on a business trip) to Gulf Shores, and we started coming up with baby names. We didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl at that point, so we came up with tons of each. When I said, “Camille,” your Daddy thought that was such a sweet, unique, and beautiful name. I did too. We also liked shortening it to Cami, so it was a name with options.
We cosidered several other names too, but kept coming back to Camille. Once we decided on it, we went to work on your middle name. Your Daddy was the one who came up with Grace. I just love the name, and I also love the meaning. My middle name is Joy, and my parents named me that because they say I brought joy to their lives. It seems fitting to give you the middle name of Grace, because you are a gift from God, a blessing of beauty and charm for which we are very thankful.
But it was our pastor, Dr. Finley, who sealed the deal on your middle name. For several weeks in a row, he’d talk about grace during the church service. It might have been a quick mention during a prayer, or a focal point of the sermon – but each time I’d elbow your Daddy and grin, thinking of you. One Sunday, the prayer was full of references to grace: “God, thank you for your Grace…” “We are full of Grace…” (quite literally for me), “We are saved by your Grace…” and on and on. When we left that service, your Daddy and I decided it was a sign. Your middle name should be Grace.
The next Sunday, instead of paying attention to the sermon, I used my Bible’s cross reference guide to find examples of Grace in scripture. I like Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” You are a gift of God, you have saved us in many ways, and we can’t take full credit for making you (though I am awfully proud that we had something to do with it).
The Sunday before you were born, the sermon was all about Grace. The pastor also gave us the preview title of the next sermon (part of a series about Grace) called, “What is the Size of Grace?” I remember when I heard the sermon title I wondered if we’d know by then what size you were. And we did. The size of Grace is apparently 7 pounds, 3 ounces.
I hope you like your name. We wanted to give you a name that was beautiful, but strong. Unique, but not strange. Once we chose your name, I found myself doodling it all over everything, like a high school girl. If you flip through my notebooks at work, you’re sure to find Camille Grace written in cursive in the margins of many pages.
As for those nicknames – some of them are a bit strange. Over the last three weeks you have frequently been called: Cami, Camibear, Cambear, Cambot, Cambot 2006, Cam-a-lamb, Cami-lamby, Cam Cam, My Cam Cam Dancer and Camtastic. Aside from Cami, you’re most often called Camibear.
Your other two nicknames are taken from your actions instead of your actual name. Sometimes we call you Turtle, because you love to do this stretch where you purse your lips, furrow your brow, and stretch out your neck like a turtle coming out of her shell. Sometimes we also call you Tery, short for pterodactyl. You have this half-cry/half-squeal that reminds me of a pterodactyl baby, and I started calling you Tery before we even left the hospital.
Speaking of, I hear some Tery noises coming from the bassinet, so I should probably wrap up this letter. You were such an angel to let mommy and daddy eat with Andy, so I want to be sure you get a nice, peaceful meal when you wake up too.
I love you sweet Camibear.