A Rose by Anyother Name

My son and his girlfriend recently informed us that we are truly getting old. He did this on his thirty-third birthday. I looked at him and his girlfriend in surprise, hugged them both and thanked them profusely…so did my wife. You see they informed us that we, my wife and I, had reached the grand-old age where numbers go out the window and names become our age. This can eventually happen between thirty-something and the grave. We were informed that our age  forever on would be Grandma and Grandpa. Our first grandchild will undoubtedly change those names to something that his/her little mind, vocal cords and mouth form into unintelligible sounds that we take as darling names and to which we will run at the high rate of aged speed that only grandparents can obtain each and every time the grandchild calls. That is until the child has toyed with us long enough that we collapse into a grandparental heap of exhaustion. This could happen anywhere; the kitchen floor or the living room floor…actually any floor in the house. Through the years “I” have been preparing for this event and have practiced veering off to one side and hitting the couch, bed, chair or other horizontal surface sufficiently raised off the floor and out of the daily traffic pattern of commotion wherever I am so as not to be stepped on in the event that this day would come.
We as grandparents will of course continue this game of name-calling-running and dodging, in order to impress on the small but developing brain of the child that no matter how trivial the request that may require our sprinting from wherever we are to wherever he/she is, we will endure the risk of heart attacks, strokes, exhaustion and even the possibility of tumbling down a flight of stairs and a broken hip just to watch the joy in his/her face brought on by how he/she is able to manipulate people who have spent sixty plus years on earth learning how not be taken by such a ruse.
So…with our ages changed to Grandma and Grandpa…and our names to be changed to the intelligible that we find so cute and adorable, I think we should be involved with the naming of the child…after all we did such a great job naming our own children…Lucas and Lauren. Each individual but connected. And by hyphenating their last names with ours, Huftill-Balzer, we gave them their first choice in life…which one, or both, am I going to use when I grow up…no pressure…no worry. Just so you know, our son chose to go by Balzer and our daughter decided to carry on her mother’s name by choosing Huftill. She felt that a new tradition was in her. She felt this so strongly that when she went off college she began to use the first letter of her first name AS her first name.
You may need a little background on this. My wife’s parents began this discussion of naming their children when my mother-in-law was pregnant with my wife. My father-in-law felt his input in getting the child thing started important, but his input into naming the children was only to be minimally so.
“What do you think of Angel…or maybe Angela…she will be born at Christmas time.” (Christmas Day to be exact)
“I don’t care if you name them after the alphabet.”
And so it was; his word was law; Angela, Belinda, Caren and Diane. So, my daughter’s second great personal decision was to follow my father-in-law’s edict and continue the alphabet soup of Huftill girls…Elle. Maybe she will even name he first daughter Fiona…after all she is big on tradition.
With this historical explanation of names in our family you might better understand our thinking about what our son should name his child…that is if it’s a girl.
You see they have already picked out a boy’s name and it is indicative of how they feel the pregnancy and delivery will go. In my son’s teen years he belonged to whatever that ‘society’ is where they cover swords made of PVC pipe with insulation foam (don’t want anybody truly losing a limb) and go out into a big open field and recreate, or create anew, a battle from the times of knights, dragons and damsels in distress…white knight-black knight stuff.
I think this influence and the fact that my son decided to not arrive on his due date but felt that three weeks later was a much better time…after all, what boy wants to be born on Valentine ’s Day…his girl should be giving him the flowers and chocolates on his birthday not the other way around.
I think Becca, the answer to dreams of the love of his life, feels that any boy they made together would follow that pattern of stubborn delivery and they have taken to calling the baby Excalibur…Excalibur Jones. But I’m sure that she will not be inclined to wait for a doctor named Arthur to assist the implementation of removing the sword at the time of huffing, puffing, pushing and pain.
So, since the boy’s name is chosen…on to a girl’s name. My wife and my daughter are both fans of the early names of the century…Ethel, Mable, Pearl, Elizabeth, Margaret, etc. etc. And so Dorothy rang a bell…but I needed to disagree…seriously, any connection to flying monkeys, scarecrows without a brain, tin men without hearts or a wizard too afraid to come from behind the curtain needs to be discouraged.
My son and I are both photographers and Becca likes his photography. Sometimes it is…shall we say entertaining… and sometimes it makes a statement. So why not connect my wife’s choice and maintain peace in our house and go with Dorthea as in Lange. She was a great photographer and her work spoke, and still speaks, volumes. Ok…first name settled on. But a child needs to travel through life with more than one bag of luggage…so thoughts of a second name…a name of promise and hope for the future.
Since we live in the computer age, we sidestepped the “name your baby books” and went straight to Google. Hours, days, weeks…for what seemed like a millennium, we searched the data bases for just the right name; something that had both a connection with the peoples of the earth and the promise of the future…Combara…Aboriginal for Tomorrow.
Eureka I shouted as I took my clue from Archimedes and ran naked through the streets…not really but the sentiment was there. All that is left is to inform my in-laws that they too, no longer have the silver age of Grandparents but have moved on to the golden age of Great-grandparents.
That done, we will have to inform Lucas and Becca that they do not have to have to worry over a girl’s name as we…the ever intrepid and experienced baby naming aficionados…aka mom and dad…have proven to be up to the task once again. And Dorthea Combara has a built in nick name that computer nerds such as my son can appreciate…
If you haven’t figured it out, I’ll be writerly and tell you…Dot Com.


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