|Jonathan at 8 months|
When Ken and I were dating and talked about our future children we'd like the name Gabriel for a boy, but by the time our first child was to be born we were 12 years older and a little wiser. I realized I didn't want any child of mine to be nicknamed Gabby. All I could think of was the toothless Gabby Hayes of the Roy Rogers show fame!
I was only a few months into my pregnancy when the name Jonathan came to me. This confirmed for me that I was having a boy and when I looked up the meaning of his name I had no doubts where the name came from for it means "God has given". After 10 years of marriage, this was a long-awaited child, and I was ecstatic! But this was also a very sad time in my life because my father, who had waited those same 10 years for a grandchild by me, died within weeks of my telling him about my pregnancy. This led to our giving Jonathan my Dad's name, Davis, as his middle name. We had already planned to give him my maiden name as his middle name, so now he would have my Dad's first and last name sandwiched inbetween his first and last names.
He grew up to look remarkably like my father did as a young man, complete with the wave in his dark hair. This is my father with his first-born, David.
This is Jonathan in his and Bronwyn's engagement photo.
Davis means "son of David" and David means "beloved". So Jonathan's name translates to "God has given the son of the beloved".
All children are "sons of the beloved" in my estimation. I love this Mary Engelbreit painting and quote because it expresses so perfectly what I believe.
Our babies are "fresh from God". I felt that way, but unfortunately by the time I had another baby the lack of sleep and the weight of responsibility I felt often caused me to forget to express the love I felt for this child when he was being particularly strong-willed. Yes, he took after my father in that way as well. And it was one day when my little Jonathan was not being obedient and I was extremely agitated that I realized I was really expressing my anger at my father, having never done so to him while he was alive. Yes, Jonathan had been given to me by God, to show me that anger should not be stuffed down, but should always be dealt with before the sun goes down as admonished in the Bible. But, of course, when I was growing up children weren't "allowed" to express anger towards parents. And this is why, I believe, teenagers often rebel. Thankfully, because of what I learned from this first son before he reached that age, I allowed my sons, but always respectfully, to tell me when they disagreed with me. Sometimes it actually helped to change my mind about the thing, but if it didn't they at least had been allowed to express their feelings and I'd been given the opportunity to explain my reasoning.
But the story's not over for the name Gabriel. Four years ago, with my last son in college I was experiencing the pangs of an empty-nest and decided a dog would help. After all, they're perpetual toddlers--that time when children still need you more than anyone else. I had already decided to call him Gabriel so when I called that September day about the 4-month-old Westie advertised for sale in the paper and asked when he was born, I knew it was to be. His birthday? May 20th.
Father, children have much to teach us, not only through their love, but what we must learn and unlearn in order to love them as dearly as You do. Thank you for each of my children and what they have brought me from You.
Link to scripture: http://bible.cc/psalms/127-3.htm
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