Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's all in the name...

This morning Kyra asked why/how we selected her name. The answer is simple--we both had liked it for years, and were absolutely agreed if we had a girl, Kyra would be her name. Lucas is a bit more complicated. We had a Jennifer, a Kyra, and a Matthew. Because I crave order and have been known to obsess about word games, the missing "L" in our J, K and M family stood out grotesquely. We had some ideas for "L" girls--Lyndsey was my choice, and Lauryn was Matt's. (I believe Abigail would have been the middle name, but my memory is quickly fading on this...) The "L" boy seemed a bit more challenged. Louis? Nah. Laurence? Double nah. We liked Luke, but we had always wanted "Cooper" for a middle name (more on this in a moment....), and the double "k/hard c" sound of Luke Cooper always felt awkward. Logan seemed to fit for awhile, but two weeks before I was due I decided (in true summer pregnancy style) it WOULD NOT DO AT ALL! No, never! When a new baby at Kyra's day care was named "Lucas," she had begun to call my belly "Baby Lucas." For three months, while Matt and I were still debating the Lauryn/Lyndsey choice (Lauryn, by the way, was due to win out.), Kyra called this being inside "Baby Lucas." We were so convinced it would be a girl, we barely gave it a second thought.

When I was two days overdue and rapidly tiring of being pregnant, I said to Matt, "Maybe it's actually a boy and he knows we don't have a name for him yet." We rubbed that beautiful belly, asked the baby to come and said, "We want you to know, we will pick a name when you arrive. We won't know until we see you." Well, surprise, surprise, within hours my water broke. Many hours later still, a baby boy was nestled in my arms, nameless, with "Baby Boy" on all his official hospital garb and ID cards to prove his parents indecision. Three hours after this, with only Auntie and Kyra aware a baby had been born, we were feeling pressed to make some calls. We needed a name! With three months of practice at Lucas, we attached the Cooper I had always wanted, and it seemed a good enough fit. Lucas Cooper he would be. Let the calls begin!

I share this story to say that the Lucas aspect of our dear boy's name is trivial in some ways--I had that missing letter obsession, Kyra had selected a name she had heard, and we just couldn't come up with anything better. But the Cooper was a point of real attachment. As you have read previously, Matt and I are BIG fans of Cooperstown, NY. We met there, we hope someday to live there (though retirement seems like the life phase we are presently aiming for....), and we wanted to mark our shared connection to the beautiful lake and town with the name "Cooper." I can state quite emphatically that Matt and I are not fans of the town because of a lifelong baseball obsession. I've been to the Baseball Hall of Fame once, and I suspect Matt hasn't been many more times. Lucas Cooper, however, might feel a bit of the baseball connection. This morning he was strolling aimlessly around the house. We have an open floor plan with all the rooms leading naturally into the next, and I find lately I get a little nervous when Lucas begins to circle the downstairs. He did so this morning with a green and white bouncy ball in his hand. As I knelt on the kitchen floor tying Kyra's sneakers, Lucas approached the kitchen table opposite where Matt was eating breakfast. With more fluidity than I have ever found in throwing overhand, Lucas lifted that bouncy ball and chucked it across the table, squarely hitting a tall glass of water left over from my own breakfast. Matt leapt into the air as water sprayed all down his left side, Kyra's shoes barely escaped being drenched, and Lucas looked like it was just another day at the park. The ball park, that is. Clearly the name is in him.... And I should mention as an afterthought, he's nothing but a Lucas for us now. The name, once a point of indifference for us, now represents him through and through. We couldn't ask for more than our Kyra Elisabeth and Lucas Cooper, names, faces, personalities and all!

3 comments:

Kristen said...

Kids do really grow into their names, it becomes hard to tell if the kid grows into the name or if the name starts to fit the kid. I can't imagine him as anything other than Lucas, either!

Laura said...

I agree! Now when I think of Harrison as a Bennett, the other choice, it just seems so wrong! I love Lucas Cooper. He has definitely got the aim down!

Sue Sehulster said...

I always loved the whole naming process for my kids, despite its difficulties (you just try pairing a good name with "Sehulster!") and I love hearing other people's stories too. Very interesting point made about whether the name fits the child, or does the child grow into the name. A little bit of both, I think! But there's so much more to this whole world of naming -- not only a good sounding fit, or a meaning attached (like "Cooper"). But what about the meaning of the name itself? Not always considered, but it's funny how often it does indeed play out into the child. We wanted an Irish name for our son, to honor my Irish background, and we laughed when we discovered that "Aidan" (solely chosen because we loved the name itself) means "little fire." How terribly true, although at times "Big Fire" would have been more like it! Too bad having "Henry" as his middle name, after my calm and quiet father, didn't balance him out. And Grace Julian ... don't get me started on that one. We've loved the name Grace for years, even before we started thinking about kids, and little did we know what was in store. Her little life, even before she made her appearance in the world, has been one marked by grace over and over. Talk about a name that fits this little girl on so many different levels. I'm so glad you wrote about this ... and with so much importance behind a name (at least for us), I wonder if that's why we tend to get so frustrated when people misspell or misprounce our beloved child's name? Why do I feel irritated when I see my Aidan -- so perfectly suited and spelled with an "A" -- maimed with an "E?" How can anyone think my son is actually an "AidEn?" It's just not him! Very, very interesting. :)