First, the big news: We found out some time ago that we are expecting a boy! We also found out that we were quite wrong on the expected due date. Those things happen when you skip the first trimester.
Naming a child is certainly a lot more difficult than it would seem. To help, Courtney and I play a game. One of us starts out by saying a name that begins with a certain letter, such as Andrew. The other person then says a different name beginning with the same letter, such as Alex. We then go back and forth as long as we can naming as many names as possible no matter how strange or unusual (this last time I tried Aardvarkius; Courtney disqualified that one for some reason). When we are done with a letter, we record the names we liked. After a time, you end up with a pretty good list of names to work from. And even though we have yet to actually use a name from the list, it gets the juices flowing and puts us in a good state of mind to think about names.
When we were looking for Katherine’s name, we took about a month to find it. When we did, Courtney knew it was right immediately. I took a few days to settle on it, but now that I have, it certainly is right. As is too often the case, we faced just a little pressure from some people who felt the need to be a part of our naming process. To ease this, we gave family and friends the chance to participate by choosing the spelling of Katherine. We sent out a survey with all the different ways to spell it and asked everyone to vote. To tell the truth, we took the results, cooked the books, and announced that the spelling we had wanted all along had won even though it actually came in second place (Kathryn won). That’s something we’ve kept hidden for almost four years now…. Sorry, but it was really our choice anyway.
Since we found out we are having a boy a while back, we have been busy thinking of names. We’ve largely avoided the varying traditions from our own families because the are so different. Instead, we kept a few choice traditions and added our own. These are the traditions we’ve kept: In my family, boys are given Biblical prophet names and all the girls have the same end sound in their names (Wendy, Linsey, and Shelly). In Courtney’s family, children are typically given a name from somewhere up the family tree. For our own traditions, we’ve found that we really like the end sound in Katherine, and want to use that in our children’s names. It’s somewhat an extension of the end sound for my sisters. We also really like the Biblical prophets and, especially, honoring our ancestors by using their names. For example, Katherine is named for her maternal great-grandmother on Courtney’s side, and her middle name comes from my mother. It’s a very nice fit.
With our son, we are keeping the traditions alive as much as possible. The name we’ve chosen is Myron Daniel. Daniel matches the initial sound in my own name (Courtney and Katherine also match, which is a nice touch), and the name is also a Biblical prophet. Finally, Daniel is a name that both Courtney and I like.
As for Myron, Myron is my maternal grandfather. It keeps both the “RIN” sound from Katherine as well as being a name from the family tree. Grandpa Myron died in 1984 when I was quite young. In fact, I have but two memories of him: his body lying in state at his funeral and him being fed Cheerios by my grandmother. He spent the last years of his life battling Parkinson’s disease, a disease that left him physically wasted, immobile, and speechless. Because of this, I always found him to be quite scary, and it’s something I regret. I don’t blame myself for that; after all, I was very young, and you just don’t understand those kinds of things at that age. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned how much he wanted to be a part of the lives of his grandchildren and how difficult it was that he couldn’t be as active and close as he wanted.
One of the most precious stories about him is from my mother’s youth. On Christmas Eve, he’d pull out the family shot gun and sit in the living room polishing it throughout the day while softly humming “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.” In the evening, he’d have one of his neighbors sprint past the house in a Santa suit, and Grandpa would kick open the back door, fire a couple shots (blanks), and scream “THERE HE GOES!!!” Then he’d sprint off after Santa into the orchard and fire half a dozen more shots while screaming like a mad man. Back at home, my mother and her siblings would all be huddled in a terrified mass crying because “Daddy is going to kill Santa!!!” Of course, he’d always miss and somehow Christmas would happen anyway. It’s the story that brings that sparkle of memory to my mom’s eyes….
Grandpa Myron was a fire fighter and hero in so many ways, and I’m sorry that I didn’t recognize that until just the last few years. Since I settled on the name (it was Courtney’s turn to take a few days to come around), I’ve had the strongest feeling of happiness and approval from the other side. I have the feeling that my son and my grandfather have a bond and friendship that I never had in this world and that the name pleases them both immensely. If words could describe what I see between them….
And don’t worry, I’ll be sure to send everyone an e-mail where they can vote on how to spell his name. And I even promise not to cook the books this time … unless I need to!