Friday, December 21, 2012

The Mayan Calendar Confession...

Dear Maya,

Well, the day of the Mayan 'apocalypse' is now drawing to a close so I suppose it's safe to tell the story of the meaning behind your name. Wait...what? What does one thing have to do with the other? You might be asking yourself that question, and we apologize in advance if you think your parents are ridiculous. I'm sure you'll go through a stage (or many stages) in which you doubt our sanity, and sometimes we doubt it, too. But bear with me for this little explanation before you think about hating or changing your name, dear child.

Mommy loved the name Maya for more than a dozen years before you were even born. It is a very international name and most of the associations I'd heard of were good ones such as Buddha's mother and Maya Angelou. In Japan, Maya is not an unusual name and it is pronounced the same as it is here in the U.S.

There are a variety of ways to write "Maya" in Japanese. The meaning of the characters is one aspect the parents take into consideration when choosing the written form of their child's name. Another factor is the number of strokes it takes to write the characters of your full name and how lucky that number is.

To complicate matters further, we decided to give you a Japanese middle name--Koyomi--when they don't even have middle names in Japan! To be thorough, your grandfather researched characters that would produce lucky stroke counts with or without your middle name included. Here is what we came up with:

Ma Ya
The first character means 'to polish' which is significant because your father comes from a long line of stone sculptors. The second character means 'night' which is significant because it is also a character in your grandmother's name. Together the meaning could be interpreted as describing someone who polishes her heart at night, i.e. is introspective, thoughtful and considerate of how she presents herself to the world. Granted, this is kind of a contrived meaning and mommy might be embellishing even more in English.

Koyo Mi
The first character we chose means 'almanac' and the second means 'sea.' Together they can be interpreted as the schedule of the tides which, in turn, reminds us of the endless passage of time and our place within it. Furthermore, these characters remind daddy of his hometown which, like most towns in Japan, is on the sea.

Here's where the confession part of this blog post comes into play. The word 'koyomi' in Japanese means 'calendar' in most cases. Daddy suggested it as a joke at first, alluding to the upcoming 'end' of the Mayan calendar that has been a big topic lately. In the end we chose it because we liked how it sounded with your first name and because it made us smile. Most English speakers wouldn't know the meaning of Koyomi and most Japanese speakers wouldn't expect you to have a middle name. It was the perfect inside joke.

Yesterday when we went to get your passport our inside joke wasn't much of a secret, though. There we were at the Japanese consulate, talking to their bilingual staff, picking up a passport with your full name in it-- one day before the Mayan calendar ended! They must have been chuckling for the rest of the afternoon...

On a less silly note, the rest of our day in New York was very much a whirlwind tour, but we made sure to hit two very important landmarks. We saw the tree at Rockefeller Center, and you played on the big piano at FAO Schwarz like you had back in January. It was not easy to do both in such a short time but we did it!

Our train trip back home late in the afternoon was exhausting. You hadn't napped all day so you were at that slap-happy, part-hyper part-cranky stage. You were noisy and wanted to run around and jump on the seats for the whole two hours, to the delight of a few passengers but the horror of a few, too. Oh, dear.

We spent a quiet day at home today to make up for yesterday. We played with blocks, read books, and had lots of family cuddles. We also finished your last few crafts you'll be giving as Christmas presents. Daddy uploaded a video here:

Last weekend you did a fun craft, too--you decorated your first gingerbread house! We were invited over to our friend Diane's where the houses were built and the ingredients were ready for you and a few other children to design away. No surprise that more candy made it in your mouth than on the house!

Well, there's another weekend ahead of us. I wonder what last bits of magic the Christmas season has in store...
Love you!

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