Maya Rose Castañeda: What's in a name?

Dear Maya,

In case you are wondering why you are named Maya Rose Castaneda, here it is; We pulled it out of a hat. That’s it. It was in a big hat with many names. In fact, Foster helped sniff it out. Totally Random.

Ok not really but by the time you are reading this you already realize that one of our hobbies is “Mess with Maya.”

Let’s start with Castaneda. Technically we should use the “ñ” (énye) in place of the “n.” So Castañeda is your last name. Pronounced Kas-tah-nyed-(th)a. The “th” sound is very subtle. Don’t worry; it’s ok to use the “gringo” version. I have all my life. It’s just nice to know the authentic version.

Your middle name is Rose. Rose was the name of your Great Grandmother on your Father’s side. It was your Grandpa Carlos’ Mother’s name. In fact, it has been a tradition for the first born girl to carry on the name Rose in some shape or form. (Thank your cousin Maria for that tidbit) So that means that you are related to about 1,032 women named Rose. That number is just an approximate. I’ll gather the factual data later.

We almost settled on a different version of Rose: Rosemary. This was because when we first moved to Seattle against your mother’s will, (she was shackled and forced to move) one of the first things that made Seattle ours was all the wild rosemary. We would go on walks in our Magnolia neighborhood and your mother would make me steal branches of rosemeary to help make the scary place we lived smell better. In the end, you’ll always have Seattle in you no matter where we are and Rose just sounds better than Rosemary with the full name.

Maya, Maya, Maya. Where did Maya come from? Your mother and I struggled with your first name for some time. In fact, while your mother was pregnant and before we found out your sex, I was convinced you were a boy. I told her I had a gut feeling about it. This is probably why Daddy doesn’t gamble that much. A gut feeling probably just means I’m hungry.

Anywho, I had your name if you were a boy: “Jupiter Castañeda”

I’ll give you a second to revere in it’s awesomeness.

So that name would have caused a lot of controversy so it is probably better for everyone that you came out a girl. But with that said, we wanted you to have a name that is all your own.  A name you can own. A name that is strong and proud. Maya won out over a list of many names and as I’m writing this you are proving to be indeed a perfect Maya, even at 8 days old.

Here is a list of some of the other contenders:

  •  Isabella – This was the runner up to Maya.  It was your Great Grandmother’s name, your Grandma Anita’s mother. It was a close one but Maya won out in the end, as it should have.
  • Gracie or Grace – This was my top runner for a long time. I thought that this was a strong name because of Grace Hopper. She is one of the pioneers of the Computer Science field. Now I realize you are reading this one the palm of your hand and the notion of “home computer” seems foreign to you at this point but know this; Grace Hopper helped move us a forward. A very positive female role model indeed. At the end of the day this name still didn’t fit. Like Isabella, it was very common and we wanted something that just said… you. Something that said Maya.
  •  Ava – This was your mother’s favorite for a long time. In fact when first starting dating around the year 2000, she mentioned that if she ever had a daughter she wanted to name her Ava. Well, as it turns out, so did 900,000 thousand other people between then and your actual birth date. So for the sake of being one of many Ava’s in your class, this name was also passed.
  •  Unicornia or Lorelei 2 – So your buddy Lorelei was six years old when you were born. Frustrated with your Mommy and Daddy’s name procrastination she took matters into her own hands. We all called you Unicornia while you were In Utero. It almost won out. Seriously. Don’t ever forget that your name could be Unicornia right now.

So that’s it Maya. It was a long journey to get there but we believe Maya Rose Castañeda holds the power that you possess. You have a great role model in Maya Angelou that shares your name but plenty of other strong women who surround you in your every day life, especially your mother. Time to rule the world and bring peace to all the planets.

If nothing else, we wouldn’t have the wonderful song that Grandma Diane made up for you:

(To the tune of Copacabana as made famous by Barry Manilow)

Her name is maya, Maya Papaya.

She's the cutest girl, west of O-hi-ya.

(feel free to freestyle the rest of the versus and choros from this point)