Last summer, I participated in a study at our church based on the curriculum/book Namesake by Jessica LaGrone. The introduction to the study invited participants to consider that each name tells a story. (The study is great, if you are so inclined but I’m not going to offer a book review this entry. However, if you know me well, you probably expect that this blog will surely contain book suggestions at one point or another.) I don’t have a remarkable story behind my name. My mom didn’t like that her middle name, Ann, lacked the classy “e” so she added one to my middle name. Lauren Anne. This additional “e” is partially to blame for my lifelong obsession with Anne of Green Gables. (told ya’ there’d be books in my blog)
When my relationship with Trey became more serious we began teasing about our future children and their names. Trey is a III. I will protect his full identity (can’t you imagine Trey reading this, fist in the air, screaming “Is nothing sacred!?”) and not put his entire name but he is the third. Just trust me on that. (Sidenote: I’m new to this mom blog thing. I’ve noticed that some bloggers create pseudonyms for their family members and others just go for the gusto and “keep it real.” I don’t want to embarrass my family any more than I already do, but am afraid I won’t be able to keep up with nicknames or aliases. Keeping up with my own alters is a full-time job!) ANYWAY…Trey teased me that it was his duty to carry on the family name by naming his first son (insert Trey’s real full name here) but that we would call him “Quad.” The first time he made this joke, he smugly chuckled forgetting that I typically demand the last word. I retorted that I planned to name any future daughters a family name too, Lodema Marie. (pronounced LOW-DEE-MA) Thankfully we agreed that Trey had fulfilled his family obligations to his name and there was no need to carry it on into the future. We are equally thankful that we did not have a baby girl.
When it became time to determine Logan’s name, we argued back and forth some but I ultimately knew Trey would give into my wishes, partly because he’s that kind of guy and partly because hormone driven Lauren is scary! Seriously! We’ll save those stories for another day. I insist that I simply knew the growing (giant) baby inside of me was a Logan. Trey will tell you that I was hungry when driving past “Logan’s Steakhouse” and the rest was history.
Jack is named after my Grandpa Jack. Trey and I both wanted to honor Grandpa in this way. We decided to announce our decision to name the baby after Grandpa at a family dinner. As I often do, I had imagined a sequence in which we’d make a formal announcement to honor Grandpa with a namesake. In my dream sequence, everyone would cheer and Grandpa would become choked up with emotion. Instead, it went like this:
Me: “Grandpa, Trey and I have decided to name the baby Jack after you.”
Grandpa: “I’ve always liked the name Rex. How about Rex?”
Me: swallowing hard. “No, Grandpa, after you. We want to name the baby, Jack.”
Grandpa: “I wanted your mom to be named Rex. It’s a good name.”
He finally got it, thanks to Grandma and was touched by the gesture. We had to select a different middle name, however, because my Grandpa wasn’t given one. The family story is that when Grandpa enlisted in the Army prior to WW2, he was told he must either have a middle name or a middle initial. Being the good Missouri boy that he was, Grandpa admired President Harry S. Truman and decided to also select “S.” for his middle initial. I loved my Grandpa with all my heart but we selected a different middle name of our Jack. You can only have one Jack S. in the family. (say it out loud…see…)
Lately, Logan has been devastated. Jack has a pretty good vocabulary for not even being two. He can say Daddy, Mama, Mojo, No-No, car, truck, Sweet P, Dude, D (short for Granny D), Elmo, Oscar, Big Bird, Ho Ho (Santa), tree, and several more. I’m a very proud mama but I’ll stop before completely boring you with more evidence that my child is a genius. Despite being able to say so many names and words, there is one that Jack hasn’t mastered. He hasn’t said Logan. Logan has tried everything to teach Jack to say his name. Logan has taught him to say “Lo” and “gan” but when prompted to put it together Jack yells “Ernie!” (And Ernie isn’t specific to Logan, he also calls our adopted cousin Sev “Ernie”) I’m pretty confident that when Jack finally says “Logan” we will all scream so loudly and react in such an exaggerated way that he will be terrified to ever say his brother’s name again.
I understand Logan’s pain. I know what it is like to yearn deeply for someone you adore to say your name. When Logan was learning to talk, Trey was in Iraq. I was a young, educated, hip (ok, you’ve read about my leggings adventures…not so hip) mom and was determined to raise the smartest child ever. I began narrating my everyday actions as instructed in multiple parenting books. From day one, well, day 7.5, was raised in a language-rich environment. Unfortunately chronic ear sagas delayed his speech. I wanted so badly to hear him call “Mama.” This was sure to be a parenting moment like no others! I prompted him, bribed him, and modeled “Mama” for him over and over and over. One day we were hanging out with my best buddy, Beth, and Logan reached his chubby little arms up for her and said “Mama.” To.someone.else!? I burst into tears!? Fortunately Beth is the best. She GETS me. She quickly poured me some wine and reminded me that Logan heard her girls call her “Mama” but with no one else at our home, he didn’t hear anyone call me “Mama.” She then sat on the floor in front of Logan and started working to teach him her name “Beth” while pointing to me and saying “Mama.” Her oldest, Hannah, even called me “Mama” several times hoping to inspire Logan to unbreak my heart. (cue Tony Braxton) In my head, I knew Beth was right. He KNEW I was his Mama, he just didn’t know he was supposed to call me by that name. It still hurt. Logan quickly understood I needed a name. He needed to be able to summon me. But my Logan has never done things the traditional way. No, for he was born to be a jokester. Like salt in my wounds, he continued to call Beth “Mama” and me…he called me “Dat.” Nice, right? Thanks, first born, thanks. Logan loves this story. He sometimes asks me to tell him about the times he called me “Dat.”
See, I do understand the pain Logan feels when Jack yells “Ernie!” Tonight after I put Jack in his crib and closed the door, I heard his sweet little voice practicing in the dark, “Lo”…”Gan”…”Lo”…”Gan”… I made Logan come eavesdrop with me. Logan smiled his big goofy grin and had actual tears in his eyes. (Although I’m prone to exaggerations, this is not one.)
L: “Mama, can I go kiss my brother goodnight?”
Yes, Logan. Do it quickly though.
L: “Goodnight, Jack. I love you!”