OPINION – She came into our lives in a curious way.
As our family was sitting down to dinner one Sunday evening, my wife Becky looked intently around the table for a moment and said, “Okay, that was strange.”
She was counting heads and making sure all four of our kids were seated when she had the strongest sense that someone was missing at our table. We laughed it off and went on with dinner.
At the time, we were the proud parents of two girls and two boys and felt that four was a nice round number. Our little deductions gave us a reason to celebrate each April 15th and we weren’t in danger of outgrowing any of our vehicles.
A short time later, Becky and I had the unexpected privilege of becoming legal guardians to a 6 month old baby boy. When Robby joined our family, I mentioned Becky’s dinner table premonition to her and we agreed that if there was anything to it, this must have been why.
We now had three kids for which we’d planned and two surprises.
Going from four children to five children doesn’t seem too drastic but we did officially outgrow our crew cab pickup and maxed out our minivan. Both of my siblings have one child each and my sisters began to tease me about my “Utah-size” family.
Looking around at some of our homeschooling friends’ families, we were still a small tribe by comparison.
A couple of years after Robby arrived, I had an especially vivid dream one night in which a little girl was trying to communicate with me but could not speak. I could sense the child’s frustration and wanted to help her but had no idea what she was trying to say.
The dream impressed me so strongly that I mentioned it to Becky the next day. Her reaction surprised me as she confessed that she’d had the feeling for some time that a little girl was waiting to join our family.
She rationalized that if it was supposed to happen that I would get the message too and say something. After much discussion and a bit of trepidation, we decided it was time to have another child.
In no time at all, we were expecting a baby. From the very beginning, we knew that it would be a girl. When the 20-week ultrasound confirmed this fact, we weren’t surprised in the least.
In retrospect, we felt that this girl had worked upon our hearts and gently pushed her way into our thoughts for years. It was as if she had been waiting to join our family.
We gave serious consideration to what we would name her.
I realize that not every parent feels a similar weight of responsibility when it comes to finding the right name for their child. Still, most of us try to do right by giving the child a name that will empower rather than hinder them in life.
With most of our children, we found ourselves unable to settle upon their names until after they were born. We had discussed and pondered a number of names, but until we actually held them in our arms and could look them in the face, it was not possible to make a final determination.
With this child, it was the first time we felt such a definite influence in our lives from someone who hadn’t yet arrived.
At the time, I was studying Biblical Hebrew. The Hebrew language is one of great beauty and depth and their names provide far deeper meaning than a simple handle.
In my studies, I had learned that, under Jewish tradition, parents receive a very limited gift of prophecy as if an angel whispers to them the name the child will embody. We listened closely for that whisper as we considered what would be the most appropriate name for our little girl.
The name we eventually settled on was Hannah. It derives from the Hebrew word “Channah” which means, “God has favored me with a child.”
The name suits her well. She arrived with an earnestness and bold sweetness that immediately endeared her to the entire family. As with our other children, especially our surprise ones, we cannot imagine what our lives would be like without her.
On Tuesday we will celebrate Hannah’s 7th birthday. She is living proof to us that the greatest happiness we’ve yet known comes to us through our family bonds.
I also have it on pretty solid authority that this joy gets even better with grandchildren. I’m looking forward to finding out for myself.
Bryan Hyde is a radio commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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