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Saturday, July 31, 2010

What does Kaholumehekainani mean?

Our daughter has a special Hawaiian name, Kaholumehekainani, which forever will be a family name. As Alicia mentioned before, having the stress of having a baby we love so much be subject to such a horrible condition, the name we originally picked out didn't quite seem appropriate anymore. We originally had the name Ka'imilani, which is a popular Hawaiian name which means "one seeking heaven". This was and still is a beautiful name and we chose it because we desired her to live a life that would lead her back to heaven. When we realized that Whitney had a serious life threatening condition, a new twist to this phrase, "one seeking heaven", started to intrude into our minds, that perhaps Whitney was wanting to leave us so soon to return to heaven. Whether this is fact or just our imagination, the meaning didn't bring the same peace to our minds anymore and the name had to go.

I sought help in finding a name from my family back in Hawaii, specifically from my dad and grandmother in Hawaii. They suggested some names to me, mostly some of which are family names. I won't mention them because perhaps someday we will use those family names, but my dad suggested doing research online to find some names that we felt were appropriate. I decided to do just that. I looked through a long list of names, most of them again were just popular Hawaiian names with pretty meanings. Still, I felt that our daughter deserved something more meaningful.

Looking in my personal Hawaiian geneology charts, I saw that many of my ancestors had long Hawaiian names that often had special meanings. This is what I wanted. I talked with Alicia and we both looked at some of the names that were used in my family history, and while we wanted to use a family name, we wanted the name to represent how we felt about our daughter, and a name that she would be able to strive to live up to.

I asked Alicia if she could think of a phrase that she felt would best describe what we wanted for Whitney. Alicia instantly responded to me saying, "Strong and beautiful like the ocean". I don't if this was an awe inspired moment for Alicia to say that or if that phrase was premeditated in her mind, but when I heard her say it, I felt a really good feeling inside.

Finding a literal translation for this phrase isn't as easy as looks, but I feel that Heavenly Father helped me find the perfect combination of words, flow of syllables, and meanings to do her justice. The name I came up with for our daughter is Kaholumehekainani, which to Alicia and I means strong and beautiful like the ocean.

Ka-holu-mehe-kai-nani (All consonants and vowels are sounded. The vowels are pronounced the same as they would be in Spanish.)

Ka - this is a prefix commonly attached to a name. It means "the" or in the case of a name it means "One who is..."

holu - this means "resilient", used to describe something that is pliable but is able to restore itself after enduring stress or pressure. In the Hawaiian language, "holu" is sometimes used when referring to the waves of the sea, which never fail to rise up again and again even after falling upon the shore. It is also used to describe the swaying of palm trees, which are strong enough to rise up tall even after being blown by strong winds. To Alicia and I, this means "strong". Our earthly desire is for Whitney to be strong, to be resilient, to be able to withstand and endure this world's trials like the palm trees endure the strong winds, but at the same time to be able to recover quickly from stress, pressure, and failures when she inevitably falls like the waves inevitably fall upon the shore.

mehe - a preposition that means "like", "as", or "as though".

kai - this means "Sea", referring to the ocean. In context it also refers to the seashore and the tide.

nani - this means "beautiful" or "glorious".

When you put the whole phrase together it literally means "One who is resilient like the beautiful sea". Whitney is our eyes is the most beautiful baby we've ever seen. We desire that she continue to be resilient and bounce back from her surgery so that she may have a chance to be able to lead a full life.

So the next question people will ask is, "Will you really go about calling her by that long middle name?" The answer is...sort of. I will call her by the last part of her middle name, Kainani, for short, and thank goodness for pronouns.

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