We chose a unique, but not freakish, name he goes by and made it his middle name. Our dilemma was coming up with a first name to pair perfectly with the name by which he'd be known.
For those of you expecting a funny story of marital banter and a wife outwitting her husband with little more than a pomegranate and a stapler to achieve her purpose, stop reading now. I'm taking a turn from my usual style to try and write something serious, although I do think one of next week's prompts should be "Describe How You'd Use A Pomegranate And A Stapler To Outwit Someone."
Back to serious mode.
We had a few names on our list, but we didn't feel strongly about any. The tipping point was the memory of one of my very best friends. The two year anniversary of her death just passed and it's about time I put in writing her influence on our son's name.
This friend was a friend who started out as the person across from me in the office, quickly became the person who welcomed my husband and me to our new city with open arms, and made us part of her family.
At the office we could be serious and discuss "the business" when needed, but spent many hours exchanging relatively inappropriate IMs and text messages during meetings when eye rolls were not appropriate.
She was the best work friend one could hope for, but she was much more than that. She lived a mile away and we spent many a weekend night with her, either at the bar down the road or at one of our houses. She would call and say, "I'm cooking tonight. Bring wine and come over!"
One night when my husband was out of town, the two of us went out and ended up walking home, me sans shoes. In the morning, neither one of us knew what had happened or why I'd chosen to go barefoot the previous night, but we knew we'd had a blast.
I've heard grief described as numbness, but when she was gone I felt her absence with a sadness and shock that was overpowering. I listened to my boss read the eulogy and sobbed. The coffin left little room for anything other than reality.
In the days and weeks that followed my husband and I felt the sharp angles of her missing silhouette.
Less than two months after she died, I found out I was pregnant. She knew I'd decided it was time for a baby and my body wasn't cooperating. Crying and laughing on the way to the bookstore for a pregnancy guide, I knew she'd had a drink with the bigwigs in heaven and convinced them to knock me up.
I thought of how excited I would have been to tell her. I thought how sad it was that she'd never meet this baby. I thought of the funny conversations we'd never have about my future parenting skills. I thought how lucky this baby would be to have her watching over.
I thought of all this and it took me several months to think of the name staring me in the face. It's hers. Ok, the male version of hers and also a family name, but hers nonetheless.
Not a day goes by that I don't think of her.
More frequently than you might expect a memory catches me off guard or I hear that damn Michael Buble song they played at the burial and tears run down my face, but I think it's her way of letting me know she's still around.
And every once in awhile, if I listen closely, I can hear her infectious laugh as she watches me try to outwit the toddler who's named after her. I don't stand a chance.