Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's in a name

Caden and I were walking out of gymnastics class when another mother pulled me aside. We hardly miss a weekly lesson yet I rarely do more than exchange smiles with the other parents. They chat with each other during the 45 minute lesson while I am actively assisting Caden with the exercises. They appear to all be friends now and though they are pleasant to us, I feel like an outsider at times. But Caden needs me and the class is about him having fun, not me making friends anyway.

So I was a bit taken aback when this other mother who is five months pregnant gestured to me as we finished putting our shoes on.

"I have to tell you," she said, "Our boy name for the baby is Caden." I hardly knew what to say. I was shocked silent. I think I managed to say something eloquent like "Oh wow."

"My husband heard you call to your son in here one day," she continued, "and he told me that he really liked the name. He kept saying Caden, Caden at home and then we agreed that was the name if we have a boy. We're waiting till the birth to find out the sex. We're going to spell it the way you do too." Another mom had walked over and was now smiling at me as well. She obviously had heard this news already.

I remember when The Tank and I were trying to select a name during my pregnancy. We'd bounce possibilities off each other for reactions: no, reminds me of my crazy aunt; no, reminds me of a bully in school; no, reminds me of a rude co-worker. Many names were eliminated because one of us had a negative association with it. I pictured this woman and her husband at home testing out Caden's name. Apparently neither of them said: no, reminds me of the boy with Down syndrome at gymnastics. The fact that there was no negative association with the name and that this mother seemed genuinely excited to share her selection with me was mind-blowing. I was floored and honored simultaneously. And I still had trouble finding any words to speak.

"What will the middle name be?" was the best I could do. She answered Michael, after her husband. Caden Michael. I told her how much I liked that pairing as my Caden bolted out the door, ready to go home and willing to take drastic measures like running into the parking lot to regain my attention.

There in this woman's belly grows a possible Caden who might have been a Landon or Hank had she not encountered my beautiful son in gymnastics class. It took me so long to absorb her surprising words that I didn't start to tear up until we were driving home. What an amazing compliment.

No comments: