Tuesday, July 16

Names and Guesses.

We are almost definitely moving into our new house this upcoming weekend (as Mrs. Patmore says in the first, Titanic-sinking episode of Downton Abbey, "nothing in life is sure" -- I hope that isn't a bad omen -- but yes, our impending homeownership is 99 percent certain now).

And so, very soon, we will load up another U-Haul with groaning, splitting cardboard boxes and somewhat mismatched furniture. Very soon, I will need to find a new place for all my treasures. Very soon, I will again justify hanging on to movie ticket stubs (I still have the one from our first date!) and eight-way-folded notes from friends at Hudson Middle School (and oh, how we all talked about each other and the loves of our young lives - so funny) and the like. I have a sentimental heart, what can I say?

All this packing and sorting and tossing has made plain a thread that has run through the tapestry of my life over the past more-than-a-decade -- my fondness for names. I've been scribbling lists of baby names since I was about thirteen. I still have old ones folded up somewhere or penciled into spiral-bound notebooks, I'm sure of it. But the ones that make me a little misty-eyed are the ones I wrote into my Steno books at work last fall, winter, and spring while I was waiting for and dreaming of my own little bunny (sniff...he is growing up so fast!!!)

There are a few names that pop up over and over again -- different combinations that I've loved for years. There's a definite "flavor" for both genders: the girls are traditional but a little British, and the boys are traditional but a little sporty.

Most of the girls have short, simple first names and longer, dressier middles. Most of the boys have short, simple first names and stout, historical middles (this sounds like a discussion of waistlines). I like to know the meaning of a name, but it's not the reason I choose to use it or pass it by. It's not a easy formula, really.

It's more like trying to explain sunshine. It looks beautiful, and it feels warm, and it can do amazing things. That what I want my babies' names to be: sunlight. Bright and full of possibilities.

I admitted in my last post that sometimes I wonder if we should have named my first little bunny "John" and just called him Jack instead. John is a wonderful boy's name -- in fact, it was my Papa's. I love the name John.

But after sorting through the scraps of paper at my desk and in my "work box" recently, I don't wonder anymore.

The only boy's name that showed up over and over again in those Steno books, especially as March drew closer, was the one we settled on in the end. Jack Michael. Seeing those scribbles made me smile. It's like he was already leaving tiny, stomping footprints in the world while I waited to meet him.

So I see the other names and wonder, in the years to come, just who else will arrive.

Mrs. Darling was married in white, and first she kept the books perfectly, almost gleefully, as if it were a game, not so much a brussel sprout was missing; but by and by whole cauliflowers dropped out, and instead of them there were pictures of babies without faces. She drew them when she should have been totting up.

They were Mrs. Darling's guesses.

1 comment:

  1. Add the obsession with names to the ever growing list of reasons we are the same person! I remember sneaking off to Barnes and Noble in the mall one day while my mom let me wander off on my own and buying a baby name book at about thirteen, terrified she would judge me as destined to be a teen mom.