What’s in a name? Well, actually a lot! A name can hold your past, present and future. It’s how others identify us, and often how we identify ourselves.
When we had a therapist suggest that we offer letting T change his name, leaving the trauma of his past behind with it, and moving forward with a fresh start and a new name we weren’t sure what he would think of the idea. To our surprise, he embraced it! He Immediately chose a new name! The name he chose was Kai, which I later looked up and the meaning of Kai in Hawaiian is Sea. After a little more research, I also found this:
In Basque, Kai is a common word meaning “pier of a harbour” and a variant of the first name Kaio (from the old Latin name Caius) In Burmese, Kai means “strong” or “unbreakable” In Chinese, Kai is a common name that can have one of several meanings, including “triumphant.
I think this is very fitting! After several weeks, of letting Kai sit with his name, and encouraging us to call him that, we went ahead and publicly announced it. I sent a note to the principal and his teacher, letting them know what has happened and the ‘why’ behind it.
It was about 3 weeks later, that I was standing in the ‘walk-up’ carpool line at school, when one of the TA’s ran towards me yelling, yes yelling! “T does NOT want to be called Kai, so why don’t you just let the kid be called T!”. Completely taken back, and understanding that this was not the place or time to discuss this I just stood there dumbfounded. It wasn’t until I got home and sat with the heaviness of the day, that I began to cry. I am the first to admit that I don’t always know what I am doing, and rely heavily on the advice of ‘experts’, and what speaks to my heart. Parenting is challenging, parenting five kids is more challenging, but trying to navigate the healthiest path for my five children that have been through varying degrees of trauma can be down right exhausting, and at times lonely. This attack felt like a kick while I was down, I was already working through Kai’s latest school transition. I later wrote a letter to the principal outlining what had happened today and restating how we came to this decision, and that it was Kai who chose the name. The reply I got back was shocking: