Samantha Rose. Samantha in Hebrew means “as told by God”; from its Aramaic origin, “listens well.” A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. A flower, growing from a small seed into a piece of treasure. A tiny puzzle piece that sits on the ground, unused until in trouble. And sounds beautiful sitting upon the right person’s lips. It travels through mountains, under bridges, and over trees. It’s picked out of the mailbox and stood on the mantle like a birthday card. It’s forgotten, yet special; unusual, yet oh, so common. It remains constant, like the wind, like a birthday.
Almost cruel that it’s not mine entirely. Not when I took it from him, from my great-grandfather. But maybe it’s the way we keep him alive. Tradition and religion say we would’ve confused the spirits if we took the name before he left. Though it seems unfair that we took the name he hid with, the name he fought with. The name he married my great-grandmother, my Gigi, with. A fighter, in every sense of the word, bending iron rods with his bare hands, or so he claimed. If only the name was still just his and he were still here, maybe I would be different, or maybe I am like a rose.
Sam, or Shira Rachel, or “Samantha” as Tía would say with her Colombian accent peeking through as she envelops me in a hug every time she’s here to visit Mimi. Or everyone’s different version of Meh-Meh, the name mi hermanita gifted to me as a child while I sang her to sleep in the room that used to be mine. Or the way Mimi spells it, “Me-Me,” so that I’m just like her, so that she’s the same as her granddaughter, the same thing, but with the Spanish twang I so adore. But I’m the same person, Samantha Rose, always and forever.
Maybe once I thought about changing my name. Maybe it was a phase, or maybe I grew tired of being compared to all the other Samanthas of the world. The same “dumb blonde” Samantha that people expect me to be. But truly my name means the stories behind it and the future in front. It is a gift, a gift and a treasure, a piece of my puzzle.
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