When we heard the baby was on the way, we waited nervously for the phone to ring all night. I turned my ringer all the way up, just to make sure that I didn’t miss the call. Periodically, I checked for a missed call and was continually disappointed by the lack of activity. It could be hours before we had any news, but still I checked every few minutes for an update. Separated by thousands of miles and an ocean, this was the closest that we could get to the soon-to-be parents and their bundle of joy.
Random text messages from friends came in with push notifications from facebook which were quickly dismissed without notice. We were waiting on a baby and couldn’t be distracted by social media and questions about the weekend.
Finally, a picture arrived with a ding like a kitchen timer going off to pull a tray of cookies from the oven.
A perfect pink baby boy was in the center of the screen with a wisp of reddish gold hair, arriving in a text message without words or a caption. His image was enough until I realized that the picture was without a name, weight or length. Additional messages and calls went unanswered and the baby boy remained without a name for the next 12 hours.
Could he be a Byron, Ryan, Thadeus or Drake? A Zander, Adam, Corn-Nut, or Ray-Ray?
What’s in a name, anyways? A rose is rose is a rose, after all.
It can create the first impression of a person, carrying the power to normalize or ostracize. A name can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, shaping a child into the adult foreseen by their parents, likely why there aren’t many Corn-Nuts out there. It is a gift that can last a lifetime and must be carefully considered and given.
The pressure to make decisions is heavy on parents-to-be, they must decide between breast milk and formula, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, daycare, nanny or stay-at-home mommy (let’s get real, who can afford to stay home). Some decision are made for them based on income and availability, but perhaps the greatest responsibility in which a parent has absolute power is in picking the right name (a close second is vaccination).
So when the next text came with another ding, our nephew had a name. It fit him and would take him from infancy into his manhood with little room for silly rhyming nicknames or negative associations. He suddenly became a real boy, not just an adorable anonymous baby, and soon-to-be cousin to another yet unnamed babe back home in Indiana.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”