As some of you know, poor dear Malaki was born without a name. We had a girl name picked out, and the boy names narrowed down to a select few. Amanda was concerned about not being prepared with a boy name, but I reassured her that if a son did pop out, the sight of his face would strike us with inspiration, and we would instantly know what his name was destined to be.
…But that didn’t happen. So there we were, confined to our recovery room prison, unable to leave until we bestowed upon this newborn the single most important gift all parents must give their child, the gift that can be a child’s pride or shame for the rest of his life: his name. And boy, was Amanda mad at me.
But enough with the melodramatic narrative. You want to know what Kai’s name means!
The name “Malaki” started as a joke. Malaki MacAllister has such fun consonance, but we thought it too superstar-sounding to be practical. But Amanda really liked the nickname “Kai” (the Hawaiian word for “ocean”) and although we thought Kai by itself would be a little too bland, wanted something that could be shortened to that. We considered Mordecai, even Chimera. But we kept coming back to the name that just rolls off your tongue – Malaki MacAllister.
In the two days following Kai’s birth, while we were still searching for a name, my mother, grandmother, and Amanda all independently suggested the name “Ian.” It wasn’t something I was particularly attached too, but thought it interesting that it kept coming up in conversation. Additionally, my mother suggested the name Jonathan, a name she had considered for me before I was born. Another name that didn’t exactly pop out at me. I wanted something exotic, but also meaningful. My grandpa MacAllister has gathered amazing records about the genealogy and history of his family, and had sent me a huge packet of documents and charts. As baby and mommy were sleeping in the hospital one night, I was going through the Clan MacAlister information when I found the name of one of our ancestors, Eoin Dubh, from which our Gaelic clan title is derived: Mac Iain Duibh. Looking into the name Eoin further, I found that the modern-day pronunciation is “Ian” (“Owen” is also commonly used). I also found that the name is the Gaelic form of “John,” as in St. John, and means “God’s grace.” Having found a name that was beautifully spelled, exotic, significant in our family, pronounced “Ian” and meaning “John” – I knew I had found what I was looking for!
Amanda was happy with “Eoin” as well, but we both quickly agreed that it wouldn’t be appropriate for the boy’s first name – too many potential mispronunciations, one of the worst being Éowyn, the shieldmaiden of Rohan. So we decided to go with Malaki after all. Our spelling of Malaki was still up in the air, however. The traditional spelling, “Malachi,” is also the spelling of the book of the Bible (and the name of the prophet that the book is about). But mispronunciation seems likely with this name as well, and we thought the spelling with a ‘K’ was a bit safer. Also, I found that I just don’t like the letter ‘H,’ so best to get that out of the name altogether. And we even found out that “Malaki” is the Hawaiian spelling of the name Malachi. Our family cruise in the Hawaiian islands this summer was an important experience for us, so we thought that was a nice touch too. And that’s how we arrived at Malaki Eoin MacAllister.
Finally – one last tidbit. Kai’s initials are MEM. I figured I would Google the acronym and search for any hidden meaning there. My findings? Mem is the thirteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and signifies “water.” 13 is Amanda’s lucky number, and I love swimming in the ocean! Coincidence? I’m sure it is.