What a ridiculous name for a baby

Before George

April 13, 2021

Sunset on Lake Michigan near Charlevoix, MI

You will learn early on that your mother enjoys her sleep. The first few hours of my day are spent alone or as alone as you can be with five cats and two dogs in the house. I catch up on the news or enjoy a chapter from the pile of books next to my office sofa through sips of coffee. Sabrina disturbs my reading with her demands of ear scratches and belly rubs.

Given the option, your mother would remain under warm covers surrounded by Jacob and a cat or two until midmorning. On weekdays, it’s her alarm that wrests her from bed and reminds me that I should go start my workout. Trading off showering is the most time we spend together on a typical morning.

With over a foot of snow on the ground and a pandemic keeping us from venturing anywhere besides work, your name was a constant topic of conversation. Your mother latched onto Oliver quite early. I protested. The Social Security Administration told us that Oliver was the third most common baby name for a boy last year. Growing up with a name in the top ten, I was leery of giving you a name you will share with at least one student in every class. My proposals did not make much headway with your mother either.

Early one winter morning, your mother was showering with some Americana playing in the background. A name popped into my head. I paused the music and told her I had the perfect name. George.

She burst out laughing. Not a giggle. Not a chuckle. No, she had an uncontrollable belly laugh. George. What a ridiculous name for a baby. Just as she started to regain composure, she said it again – widdle biddy baby George. With that laughter, I knew that we had found the name.