Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Welcome Baby: What's in a Name

\\ Our newly named baby headed home in his new car seat and hospital hat //

Trying to come up with a suitable name might have been the hardest part about having a baby.

We were supposed to be leaving the hospital in the next twenty minutes, and we still hadn't finalized the name. I was sitting there on the adjustable bed, giant plastic water cup in hand, waiting for the wheelchair to be rolled in, and Derek and I stared at eachother with big eyes, knowing a decision needed to be made but not being sure how to make it.

The woman from the records department had been...persistent in checking in with us every few hours (that's a nice way of saying that she'd been harassing us) to see if we were ready to fill out our paperwork, and we'd started avoiding her phone calls since we were sick of telling her that we needed a little more time. She surprised us by poking her head in the door, and in a voice that was too bright to actually be cheerful, asked us if we were trying to sneak out of the hospital without giving her our decision. We assured her that we weren't planning on it, but that we still were having trouble committing to a name. She gave us a look, reminded us where her office was, and told us that it was much easier on everyone if we could just get our paperwork in before we left.

I made Derek fill out the papers and take them upstairs to her. It felt a little like the harried last minute of an exam, where you decide to fill in the rest of the scan-tron bubbles at random since it is better to guess and have written something rather than just leave the space blank.

The thing is, it wasn't as if we hadn't discussed names beforehand. Derek and I kept a spreadsheet full of possible baby names that we bandied about for months, but hadn't come to any final decisions.

We talked about family names. We made lists of names that had a tie to San Francisco. We talked about names that were meaningful to us in some way, and names that had the right number of syllables, and names that just sounded good and names that we hated. We imagined ourselves yelling the name across a playground. We imagined our boy having to introduce himself to his friends. We imagined his name printed on business cards some day. We imagined saying his name along with the names of future siblings to come. We imagined possible nicknames. Through it all, we came up with lots of names that we liked, but it was a lot of pressure trying to figure out which name was the right one to actually give this baby for the rest of his life.

Finally, the name that we kept coming back to:

Emerson Bixby Wright.

The name Emerson is just a name we liked. And, though the name doesn't necessarily come from Ralph Waldo, he is associated with liberal thinking, self-reliance and a love of nature, which are all things I wish for in humans.

Bixby comes from a beautiful bridge down in Big Sur that we had crossed over during one of our valentine excursions a few years ago. It is a fine piece of engineering, which Derek obviously appreciates, and the name stuck with me after that trip.

Of course, like any good parents of the 21st century, we googled our possible names before committing to them. Just in case.

When googling "Emerson Wright" one thing that pops up is this amazing video by a kid that looks to be about 11. Apparently he is THE expert on vlogs, comedies, and gaming, but the thing that really put him over the edge into awesome is his glasses that look just like mine and Derek's...except, of course, that his are actually 3-D glasses stolen from the movie theater with the lenses popped out.

The most notable "Emerson Bixby" to be googled is a writer/producer who allegedly wrote and starred in a campy low-budget zombie flick in 1986 that no one can find a copy of.

We felt satisfied.

On our way out, we got cold feet and called the records woman to ask her not to turn our paperwork in until the following Friday, just to give us an extra few days to change our minds if we needed to. I could almost hear her rolling her eyes over the phone.

In the end, I'm not sure why we stressed about it as much as we did. For the most part, we don't even call Emerson by his real name yet. If he goes by what I actually call him, he's going to grow up thinking his name is "bun bun", "bub", "milk mouth" or "little sad sad." 


robin marie said...

Love it! I feel funny calling Asher his real name. I mean, when does he know that's his name!? I love all your nicknames for Emerson!

bex said...

Right, Robin? Those names feel so formal for such a little person : )

Kim said...

I love this! What a great name Little Sad Sad has.

Alice said...

wonderful story. we had the hardest time with naming Dash. it;s a big decision.

Jamie @jforjamie said...

That's a fantastic name! I love that bridge in Big Sur too. Congratulations!