Saturday, July 10, 2010

My heart is full...

When I left Charleston for Austin in January, I did so with a heavy heart. I was leaving behind three sisters, five nieces, a nephew, my mom, my best friend, and many other friends I would miss terribly. I was also leaving a city I loved, the house I'd been living in for 8 years in a neighborhood I loved, and my comfort zone.

I made the decision to move to Austin in early November and found out that my niece Keri was pregnant right around Thanksgiving. I was thrilled for Keri and her husband Tim (who I also adore). Sadly, Keri's father passed away on the Monday after Thanksgiving last year, just a day or so after she told him he was going to be a grandfather. The idea of leaving my pregnant, grieving niece and moving halfway across the country made my heart even heavier. I knew it would be expensive to fly back to Charleston and I hated that I was going to miss her pregnancy and the birth of her first child.

Yesterday, Keri was admitted to the hospital to have labor induced (she's a tiny little thing and the baby was growing fast!). After being in labor all day, she finally had to have a c-section. I was on the phone for about two hours - talk and text - with my mom and my sister/new grandma and my heart ached to be there with the rest of the family. My mom and sister did a great job of making me feel like I was there; the minute my new niece was born I received a flurry of photos via text.

I already knew they were going to name their daughter Jolie, after Keri's dad Joseph. And that her last name would be Martin. When my mom texted "Jolie Martin, 6.5 lbs., 19 inches long" along with a photo of Jolie in a bassinet, I texted back, "what's her full name?"

Ever since we found out Keri was pregnant, we had all suggested names (some jokingly), and I told Keri (also jokingly) that she should give her my middle name because (a) it's awesome and (b) I don't think I'm going to pass it on myself, being the least maternal member of my family. But I never expected her to seriously consider it.

My mom responded to my text with, "I'll let Keri tell you when she wakes up." And when she called me, I told her that I wasn't serious about her giving the baby my middle name and my feelings wouldn't be hurt if she didn't. She told me Keri would probably call me this morning. She didn't. She called me last night, groggy and exhausted, to tell me that her daughter's name is Jolie Love Martin. And I immediately burst into tears. Keri, being Keri, said "don't be sad, you'll see her over the holidays," thinking I was upset that I couldn't be in Charleston. I had to choke out the words..."happy tears." And they were. I don't think I've ever felt so honored in my entire life, so connected to my family, or that I realized how amazing it would feel to have a "namesake."

Keri has already posted pics of Jolie to Facebook, being Keri, from her laptop in her hospital bed. And I've been weepy on and off all morning looking at photos of my new niece and namesake. I can't wait to meet her. Keri told me when she told the nurse what the baby's full name is, the nurse said, "it sounds like a rockstar name."

Indeed. And now I'm excited x100 to go home and visit for the holidays and get to hold my new niece for the first time, to tell her how amazing her mom and dad are, to tell her how lucky she is to be part of our screwy family. I have no doubt this beautiful little girl will live up to her name.


  1. Awwww...I teared up reading this! That is so amazing. Some law school friends of mine named their daughter Suzanne and I joked that they named her after me, and I learned that another friend's child had my middle name, Lorraine, long after the fact, but neither of those were true namesakes. Maybe someday..


  2. Rockstar name, rockstar aunt! And screwy families are the best kind. High on drama, rich in love. (I'm speaking from my own experience, anyway). I think it's great how they brought you right into the action, even across the miles.

  3. I still get teary when I think about it - also desperately looking forward to going home to visit for the holidays and finally getting to hug my mom, sisters, nieces, and hold my brand new niece! And Angie, I wouldn't trade my screwy family for any other family in the world. We're all survivors of the same war and spent a lot of time in foxholes together. Very hard to be away from them. It's been more than 6 months since I've been able to hug my mom, sisters, nieces and my BFF. I miss those hugs.

  4. I cried happy tears for you. Congrats on the newest family member, and the special connection between you two.

  5. Thank you! Every time my niece posts new photos to her Facebook page and I see the name "Jolie Love Martin" on her photo album, my heart gets a little bigger.


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