My sister named her first-born son Isaac. It means, “he laughs.” Though not very common, suddenly, that became the most beautiful name I’d ever heard. Nearly 17 years later, I found myself challenged with the task of choosing not one but FOUR suitable names when the midwife shockingly declared… “TWINS!”
After I picked myself up off the floor, I realized I would have to come up with TWO go-together names for girls, TWO go-together names for boys, as well as two go-together names for a boy and girl… just in case. You see, I LOVE a surprise and there was no chance I would spoil the best surprise God gifts us parents… the gender of our as yet unborn children! I recognized that choosing names was no small task considering “Lou” and I had only managed to settle on ONE name for our first child. Thank GOD she was a girl because we’d chosen Olivia… and nothing else. We’d have looked very foolish if the midwife had announced, “it’s a boy!”
Once the concept of meaning took root, I could not name my children without taking it into consideration. The name had to represent something meaningful… to me at least. Olivia means “from the olive branch; representing peace/the dove [of peace.]” Born just weeks after 9/11 it seemed appropriate and has proven to be an auspicious choice for my Old Soul. Choosing names for My “Twins” who we did not know would be boys, was a bit tougher. There were so many first names to choose from but as I went through the alphabet, identifying all the possible names I could think of, none of their meanings resonated with me.
I won’t go into what names — or, more pointedly, what meanings — I discarded lest I insult someone whose child carries a name I rejected for having a less-than-significant meaning FOR ME. But, as an example I would just like to throw out for your consideration a name that I LOVE but that, in writing, poses pronunciation challenges I would not wish upon my worst enemy’s child… Colon. Enough said, right? So, we finally settled on Brian with an i, (traditional) which means “Strong, Soldier of God.” Then, darn it, I had to acknowledge to my husband that, like half of the population in the United States, I LOVE the name Michael. However, because of its popularity, I stoically decided to forego choosing that name because “everyone has a Michael” and endless Moms told me that the name is a curse… every child named Michael tends toward… to be kind, let’s call it rambunctiousness. But, my cousin, whose son is also named Michael, said, “So there are other Michaels! Who cares? If that’s the name you love, why shouldn’t you have a Michael of your own?” True… so I looked up the meaning of the name Michael and discovered this, “Michael: resembles the face of God!” DONE! Brian and Michael it is.
Yes, I now have my very own Michael. And, he is anything but rambunctious. Actually, there are times that he is so beyond peaceful that he looks almost smooth from the inside out; Just like, I imagine, the face of God!
In kindergarten I thought having him write “Mike” on all of his papers would help accelerate his success in achieving the name-writing milestone and perhaps ease his load given the challenges I knew he would already face as a result of his extra 21st chromosome (aka. Down syndrome). And, I figured it would likely be the cool, teen nickname he would come to prefer anyway. But, I LOVE the name Michael and often refer to him in the proper. Sadly, HE has decided he does NOT love the name Michael. Every time I call him Michael, he quickly corrects me, “Mom, it’s MIKE! JUST Mike!… I like Mike!” I defer to his preference; after all, it IS HIS name. Then, after being corrected again, I said to him, “Mikey, I am your mother and I chose the name Michael because I think it’s just the most beautiful name for the most beautiful boy.” To which he stubbornly shook his head and responded, “just Mike!” So I closed my eyes and lifted my face up to heaven, with my hands clasped in prayer I said, “Please God, help my son Michael understand that he has the most beautiful name in the world and that I, as his mother, should get to call him by it every once in a while.” I opened my eyes and longingly looked over at my son Mike. He promptly turned his smooth, God-like face to heaven, and with his eyes scrunched tightly closed, folded his hands in front of him and with all earnestness said, “Please God, JUST MIKE!”