Nicknames and New Songs

Nicknames and New Songs

“But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.”- Isaiah 43:1

I can still hear my dad calling out to my preschool-aged son many years ago:

C’mon now, Sport! Throw me the ball. There you go.

Or to my youngest spunky daughter toddling through their house:

What have you got there, Dinkus? Give it to Papaw before you break it.

Or to his first-born grandchild and my oldest daughter:

How about some ice cream, Doll? What flavor do you want?

He had a nickname for each one and they knew it was special just for them. Even today as thirty-somethings, with their grandfather deceased eight years ago, they can tell you what he called them and the bond it formed.

I think about how Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter and the connection those two men had as they worked to form the foundation of the early Church. New names for new relationships help us mark out the journey we make together.

Sing Me a Song

When Sarah, my first baby came along, I loved the face-to-face time of diaper changing. Having those sweet eyes look directly into mine just called for interaction of some kind and when the wiggles started, called for holding her attention. I used cloth diapers (unbelievable, I know) and sharp diaper pins might stick if she didn’t hold still.

I made up a little song from an old Girl Scout campfire tune Sarasponda that sounded like her name, Sarah Ellen. It was pure nonsense but had a catchy melody so while changing her, I always sang it a few times. Soon she clearly recognized it and held my gaze, smiling, and held still for the pinning process.

Two plus years later, for her brother, I did the same thing. I created a song using his full name, John Michael, from an old hymn melody. I spent lots of time rocking this reflux-afflicted baby boy and the song came in handy. This time there were real words, not folksy gibberish:

John Michael, John Michael, a precious little boy
John Michael, John Michael, his mom and daddy’s joy
He is a gift, from God in Heaven above
Given to us, to teach and love.

Two and half years later, our last child, Anna, got her song but it wasn’t enough to hold her still for diaper changes. Squirming as a baby and always moving as a toddler, I chased this small person around the house and developed a mighty hold while making the necessary diaper adjustments. Sometimes I had no energy or inspiration for singing during the wrestling match.

But what a champion sleeper Anna was, beginning with the first night of life in her hospital bed, never waking once. While rocking during the crib years, when she was the most snuggly and angelic, I would sing these words softly to a made up tune:

Anna Laurel, Anna Laurel, Anna Laurel
She is so sweet, a girl you’d like to meet
With long, dark hair, and a smile to wear
Anna Laurel, Anna Laurel, Anna Laurel

Carrying on the Tradition

When my granddaughters came I decided to create nicknames and songs for each one. They love to talk about these funny pet names and personalized tunes, even with strangers. They know each others’ songs. I hear them singing while on swings or when absent-mindedly playing with toys.

Lazada Philippines

The first adorable sweetie came in May 2009, the same year and less than a month after my dad died. Cora’s nickname is Squirt and her song is lively, perfect for a little girl who spent lots of daytime with her daddy while mommy worked.

There was a little girl named Cora, Cora, Cora
There was a little girl named Cora, sweet as she could be
She claps her hands and stomps her feet (actions go here)
And sings a little song (la-la-la)
And hugs and pats her mommy, all day long.
There was a little girl named Cora, Cora, Cora
There was a little girl named Cora, sweet as she could be

Number two granddaughter, three years later was named Avi (Hebrew for Our Father – her daddy is a Hebrew scholar) Anne. I call her Suzi Q and crafted this song, again from an old hymn:

Straight from God’s hand, our little Avi Anne
Born on this day in May,
Perfect in every way,
Our Avi Anne

The last little girl in the Jackson family came two years after Avi, a surprise but welcomed thoroughly, Lilah Ruth. She received a nickname from her Papa (my husband) for her funny fanny-crawl (Scooter), but I dubbed her Little Lady. Her song fit easily into part of the Brahms’ lullaby which I always hummed to the girls when rocking.

Lilah Ruth, Lilah Ruth, we welcome you to our family
You’re a gift from God above, and we give you all our love.
Lilah Ruth, Lilah Ruth, little hands, little feet,
Lilah Ruth, Lilah Ruth, we think you are so sweet.

God Gives Names and Songs to Us

We all long to be accepted for who we are. We are drawn to those who offer us grace and unconditional acceptance. God shows us the perfect parent model in creating us, loving us, caring for us, and providing for our earthly and eternal needs. He sees us the way we really are, inside and out and does not reject us, but invites us to discover His plans for our lives and commune with Him regularly.

When we put our trust in Jesus, the One God sent to help our sin problem, our separation from Him, we get a new name, Christian or Christ-Follower.

Jesus then promises to His followers another new name (Revelation 2:17; 3:12 ESV):

I will give him… a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it… I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

God even sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV):

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Lazada PhilippinesLet’s love our little ones like God loves us, whispering sweet nicknames and singing new songs in their precious ears. Help them develop into emotionally balanced people with cuddling and physical closeness. Offer grace and unconditional acceptance of who they are trying to become… just as God does with us.

♡ Gail Goolsby is a life coach and serves as a Titus Woman for Proverbs 31 Woman.

If you like this story, you’ll love this too → I Am A Daughter of The King Who Is Not Moved By The World

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6 thoughts on “Nicknames and New Songs

  1. Beautiful writing and grateful for the Anna you brought into God’s world. She too is beautiful, inside and out – and a friend forever and ever.

    P.S. I saw the “spunk” in her too!

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    1. Thank you, Sandy, for taking time to read and comment! Anna is a precious one, absolutely! Gotta love spunky gals, I know God does too!

      Like

  2. Thanks Gail for sending…really enjoyed reading and so nice to hear they still remember their
    Granddad. Your message was right one. Hope you are doing well! I must send you picture we took at Bobbie’s memorial service and some of her children and grandchildren sang How Great There Art to the congregation. It was great seeing John ,his children and grandchildren again.
    Take are and Love,Susan

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    1. Dad was a special memory-maker! Sorry to miss the CT service and seeing dear relatives. So glad you made the trip. Bless you, Susan! ❤

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