A Letter to Our Daughter

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Dear Ena,

Your mother and I spent a long time thinking about your name. Names are important, you know? Our names are the most important gift we get from our parents. I like my name, Micah Jonah Killian. It’s a strong name. “Micah” means, “Who is like God.” “Jonah” means “dove”, a symbol for peace. “Killian” means “little and war-like”. God-peace-war, sounds strong to me. I’m grateful to my parents for the name they gave me.

I wanted a strong name for you, too. Your mom wanted a cute name. It took us a long time to decide. The name we decided to give you was:

恵梛(えな)・ルーシー・キリアン
Ena Lucy Killian

Let me tell you about your name.

恵梛(えな)Ena

恵 means “blessing”, “merciful”, or “kind”. 恵 is the same character in your mom’s name, Takae (隆恵). It’s also in your grandmother’s name, Mieko (美恵子).

梛 is a kind of tree called nagi. It might feel strange to be named after a tree, but people are actually very important to people. We like to live in places with many trees. Our stories often have special trees in them. Huge trees with cities inside them, talking trees, tree spirits, trees with special fruit, etc.

But more than that, people are very similar to trees.

Each tree is unique, but they all have their own set characteristics.

Nagi trees are beautiful trees with special leaves. Usually, leaves look different on the front than they do on the back. However, Nagi leaves look the same on both sides.

Like normal trees, they say that people have two sides, too. People often act or talk one way in front of other people, but then they change when they aren’t with other people. Some people, like nagi trees’ leaves, are brave enough to be the same person no matter where they are or who they’re with. They’re rare, though.

Nagi tree leaves are special in another way: They are very strong. The tree uses those strong leaves to protect itself.

In life, there are many different kinds of hardship. You might see someone that’s working hard and become jealous of them. You might feel down and wonder, “That person can do it…Why can’t I?”

Someone might hurt you. Others might try to do all kinds of things to you.

Or nature itself might attack you. There may come a time when you feel like the world itself hates you.

But, we want you to forget about that and keep being yourself. What other people achieve doesn’t matter. Other people’s bad actions don’t matter. Even if nature or the world hates you, it doesn’t matter. Just like nagi tree leaves are made so that the tree can protect itself all by itself, we want you to be able to protect yourself in your own way.

And just like a nagi tree can protect people in need using the shade of its leaves, we want you to be able to protect other people in your own way.

Neither trees nor people can be “made”. A tree decides what shape, what height, and how fast it grows. Even if you say to the tree, “Grow big! Hurry up and make some delicious fruit!”, nothing will change. People can give them an environment blessed with water, soil, and sunlight, but that’s it. Just like trees, you can’t make people grow, either. People make themselves grow in the environment they are put in. That’s why your mom and I want to give you the best environment for you to grow in. We can give you love, knowledge, wisdom, and a happy home, but then all we can do is wait for you to grow.

Your mom and I will give you healthy food, all our love, and then teach you how to live life to the fullest. We hope that you will be blessed in many things, honest and true, and when necessary, brave enough to do what’s right. We’ll work hard so that you can be strong enough to protect yourself and the people important to you. We look forward to watching you grow.

ルーシー Lucy

Your mom and I weren’t sure if we wanted to give you a Japanese name or an English name. English names are difficult for Japanese people to say, but Japanese names are difficult for Americans to say, too.

So, we decided to give you a Japanese first name and English middle name. Your middle name is Lucy.

Lucy means “light”.

Lucy is the name of a character in an old American TV show called “I Love Lucy”. She’s a funny, bright character. But, she’s a little dipsy. Although the TV show is in black and white, in real life, Lucy had bright, red hair. Interesting, huh? If you want to see a little bit of the show, ask Papa.

I have a question: What is “light”?
Light makes me think “bright”, which makes me think “cheerful” or “intelligent”.
It also makes me think “Sun”, since the Sun is the biggest kind of light I know of. Light from the Sun makes us warm and makes it easy to see. What does it mean to “see”? In English, we have an expression: “I see.” It means, “Oh, I understand now.” So, “seeing” is like understanding.

So, “light” is also something that helps us understand.

Light is what helps guide us in dark, scary places.

When we don’t know what to do or where to go, what we need is hope–”It’ll be okay”–and we need positive thinking–”I can do it, I can figure this out”. So, light is like “hope” or “positivity”.

Trees get their energy from the light of the Sun. People get their energy from the lights of hope, positivity, and understanding.
Many people have many ideas about light. You will often see “light” in stories. The next time you read a comic book or watch a cartoon, pay attention to “light” in the story.

What does it mean to *be* light? Well, I think it means to be a person that can guide others through dark, scary places. How? Maybe being cheerful and positive is enough? Maybe using your intelligence to find solutions to problems can help guide others? Or maybe just being brave and living your life to the fullest can give hope and show a path for others to follow?
Your mom and I will let you decide what kind of light you want to be.

キリアン Killian

I wrote before that Killian means “little and war-like”. That’s what I was taught all my life. It sounds tough and strong, right?

But, I learned something new about the name Killian. It probably doesn’t mean “little and war-like”. It probably means “little church”. A church is a place where certain people go to be together and worship God. It’s a little like a temple or shrine. Many people go to church to spend time with people that are important to them.

To tell you the truth, I actually prefer the first meaning. I like to be “little and war-like”. So I choose to believe that’s what it means. What do you want to be? Do you want to be “little and war-like”, or do you want to be a “little church”?

That’s your name. Tree / Light / War-like or Church.

It’s the first gift your Mama and Papa have given you.

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