My sister’s began calling me Lily or Ms. Lil back in the 80’s. It fit because the water-lily has been my enduring favorite flower. My family grew up south of Aitkin in an area called Frog Alley and the joke was nothing lived there except frogs and Frenchmen. It really wasn’t a joke that’s pretty much all that did live there.
Marshland was abundant (we used to just call them swamps). I have come up with a few other names: “Morassic Park” (morass is a swamp, usually a deep one) and for the more shallow swamps, I call them “Le Mire” (my last name is Lemire). We knew our swamps. Which is why my BS degree is in Environmental Sciences with an emphasis on water resources.
In Spanish, my first name Leanne, is pronounced “Lilyanna.” In Taiwanese, the Lotus flower, which is the same genus as a water-lily is pronounced “Leanne.” I don’t think it’s actually spelled that way, but oh well.
In Indian and Asian symbolism, the Lotus comes up from the muck and mire and remains pure. As it relates to humans, it is someone who comes up out of the hardship of this world and remains good and kind and helpful. I like that part.
I found a brooch on clearance and knew this is what I would have tattooed on my right shoulder. It consists of two flowers, one fully opened (that’s me) and one partially opened (that’s my daughter, Aeriel). There are also two frogs underwater, one on each stem. Again that is Aeriel and I.
In addition to the humor involved, ie, I am of French descent and grew up in Frog Alley, I also love the completed circle the Lotus makes through the journey of my life. I have come up through the mire in Frog Alley, raised my daughter alone, studied water and now I come back to the Lily Pad.