You have to think very highly of someone to name your baby after that person. Yes? No arguement here. It’s an honor and it’s a tremendous show of respect. Okay. That said…
On June 3rd my cousin Mike named their son after my husband Jimmy. (James) Oh, not the first name, but the middle name. I don’t mean to sound picky because it’s not my nature, but we all know a middle name is forgotten and unused as soon as the birth announcement goes out.
When the kid is five and he’s not cooperating the parents may yell,
“Andrew James – no more drinks of water – just go to bed!”
Andy will know from that that they mean business or more likely he’ll have no idea who ‘Andrew James’ is. For the most part that kind of talk is a Southern thing where they’re used to having two first names, ‘Mary Jane’ ‘Carol Ann’ ‘Jim Bob’ – But, then what do they do for emphasis? I guess they add on ‘Miss’ or ‘Mr.’
“Mr. Timothy John – I’ve had it up to here with you!”
I don’t know anyone in the tri-state area who talks like that.
My cousin Mike and his family live in Brooklyn. With the exception of formal documents James will most likely be reduced to a ‘J’. Still, a middle initial is a huge step up from ‘nmi’ which translates to ‘My parents were too lazy to think of second name for me.’
In spite of my sarcasism I swear I really was genuinely touched that Mike and his wife thought enough of Jimmy to name their son after him…sort of…
Only six weeks later on July 25th Mike’s sister Sue had a baby girl and named her after Jimmy. Her name? ‘Samantha Zoe’
Hmmmmm…are you thinking what I’m thinking? Exactly. Is this a sibling rivelry thing or what? I’d better find a moment to clue them in that they’re not in the will.
Here’s how I found out about Jimmy’s 2nd namesake – I visit Sue and she summons me to sit on her hospital bed. I do reluctantly because these days my radar is on high alert. Any one can say anything at anytime that will bring me to a place I don’t want to be. Once there, I want to just curl up and disappear.
Sue sweetly takes my hand and looks at me soulfully. Uh-oh…my mind is racing.
Something is up and something is expected of me. I hope I’m able to respond appropriately because I’m really feeling uncomfortable just being in a hospital. Walking through the halls has brought me right back to Jimmy’s last week.
I make a concious effort replace that awful memory with the joyous one two years before when my granddaugter, Skylar was born. Maternity floors are happy and hopeful and this is the facade I am hanging on to until I hear Sue say,
“I want you to know that we named our daughter after Jimmy.”
Sue’s mom is sitting on the bed next to me and I’m afraid to turn my head to look at her because I can tell by the sound she sucked in that she is holding back tears. I, on the other hand, because I am a normal person am holding back a laugh.
“I’m not sure what to say” I say concerned that the smirk I’m feeling on
the inside is leaking out.
Sue looks perplexed and unaware that ‘Samantha Zoe’ being named after Jimmy
needs an explanation.
I stammer, “I’m flattered and well, happy, well, not really happy, but you
know…not sure how…”
Suddenly it clicks for Sue that I may be wondering how “Samantha Zoe” and
‘Jimmy’ have a connection.
“Well, we always wanted ‘Samantha’ and so we thought about a ‘J’ name for
a middle name…” she begins.
I’m thinking, ‘duh’ a J would be good…
“But, we really didn’t like an J names and we love Zoe which means ‘Life.'”
She left me there, my smirk turning to something else that felt like grief.
I had time to process the irony of my Jimmy who is dead being regarded as
“Jimmy was so full of life. He loved life.” she said.
“Yes. Oh, yes, he was. He did” I chimmed in.
Then, my smirk came back as I pictured Jimmy watching this. He’d be
“I loved ice-cream, too. Maybe someone should name their kid