“‘But if it’s to be a flower name, then I don’t trouble about the length: it must be a beautiful flower, because, you see, I think she is very beautiful, and is going to be beautifuller still.’
Frodo thought for a moment. ‘Well, Sam, what about Elanor, the sun-star, you remember the little golden flower in the grass of Lothlorien?’
‘You’re right again, Mr. Frodo!’ said Sam delighted. ‘That’s what I wanted.’”[i]
She was born last Sunday morning in the back corner of my brother’s house, with wild, black hair and a mouth that opens and shuts in the shape of a little triangle.
It was raining when Mom and Janaya rushed out early. I went to church with the boys because I had a Sunday school lesson to teach— and because I’ve never seen a live birth, didn’t know how I’d handle it, figured I’d probably end up in the driveway with the boys. All the babies I’ve known came out in hospitals or birthing centers with waiting rooms.
The “it’s-a-girl” news spread through the halls before I could get upstairs for second service. Pastor Bob congratulated me before I knew the labor was even over. My mouth came open.
It fell open again when I saw her on the bed under the lamp. The midwife tucked her naked arms and legs into a sling and weighed her. Black hair and long toes peeked out.
Janaya said they circled round the bed and read 1 John over her:
“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
Elanor means “light.”
The sun came out on Thursday and we had a picnic in the driveway with Brian, three toddlers, and one sleeping newborn coiled against Taylor. Later, the house went quiet for naps, and I stood cradling Elanor in the kitchen, dinnertime sunlight filling the sink. Outside, Brian cut the green grass and a breeze played with the May leaves. I stood in the square of light, and I looked at her for a long time, because, you see, I think she is very beautiful.
And I suddenly couldn’t think of a better place to have a baby than at home.
“But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap.
He drew a deep breath. ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”[ii]
“They will need to light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” -Revelation 22:5
[i] Tolkien, J.R.R. The Return of the King. (1955: The Ballantine Publishing Group. New York, NY), 334
[ii] Ibid, 340