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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Name Game (and a Gender Disclosure)

Sara and I woke up early on Christmas morning, or I should say our slumber was abruptly interrupted by an anxious three year old.

"Go potty," I directed Graisyn, "I'll be right there." She obliged and I lugged my heavy legs out of bed as Sara herself started to stir.  I met Graisyn in the bathroom where we completed our morning routine. 

With our teeth brushed and our hair combed, the three of us trumped down the stairs. Of course we were still in our pajamas, a true tradition for Christmas morning. Sara and I directed Graisyn to the Christmas tree. She was pleased with the abundance of presents she saw and immediately brought out her grabby hands. Let the opening begin!

After a few presents, Sara and I told Graisyn it was our turn. The Christmas card in which the ultrasound technician placed the pictures of our baby's gender was sealed and sitting on the upper boughs of our Christmas tree. Sara retrieved the card and gently released the seal of the envelope. We were all silent. Me. My wife. Our daughter. Quiet. Sara slid the Christmas card from the envelope very slowly. And, just as slowly it seemed, she opened it. We flipped through the pictures. A boy. Though his gender was typed on the photos, it was very evident that we were having a baby boy. Sara and I were and are thrilled. We would have been either way, boy or girl. Graisyn not so much. She didn't cry, but she has mentioned on multiple occasions that she is still having a baby sister. Sorry sweetie. The photos don't lie.

A boy. A little lad that we will raise to be proud, kind, and independent like Graisyn. A young man who will know what it means to respect a woman. A tike who will spend his growing days surrounded by estrogen. Poor little sap. I hope he fairs well. The only other source of testosterone in the house is our dopey boxer, Abbott, and he was neutered so I'm not even sure he counts.

Ahhh, yes. A boy. What shall we call him? When Sara and I chose Graisyn's name, our selection was based on originality and character. We wanted a name that was strong and spontaneous. We wanted a name that was spirited and free, a name that spoke of an old soul. We wanted a name that suggested leader, but that had empathetic notes to it. Graisyn Quinn. I think we hit all of those qualities and then some. Our little girl has given us a run for our money since the day she was born. She is brilliant. I am biased, but she is brilliant. Her name fits. She is a Graisyn Quinn.

Our son requires a name of the same stature. When he is called, he should feel proud. His name should be stalwart yet humble. And, in an effort to pull from the character from his grandfathers, he should share part of their name. Joseph. The first name of Sara's dad and the middle name of my dad. It will be his middle name.

Since we found out that Sara is pregnant, we created a running list of names. On that list was one name in particular that stood out. Kazmer. Sara plucked it out of the baby name book that we borrowed from the local library. I was surprised that she liked it. That name is dear to my heart and the heart of my family.

The name Kazmer belonged to a long time family friend and neighbor. He passed away about five years ago, but was a man that I knew for most of my life. He was a war veteran. His battle wounds from decades earlier were still present when he grandfathered me, my brother, and my sister. Mr. Kaz was belly-buttonless. He had a glass eye and the wounds on his knees still wept even after all those years. He walked with canes, but he was strong and he never faltered nor did he ever complain of the pain that I am quite sure he was in.

Mr. Kaz mentored my father. A true and honest man, he wrote on the slate of who my dad is today. If my dad needed "alone time" he would go see Kaz. They would watch sports. I'm sure they would bitch about their wives (shame on you both). Sometimes in the summer they would sit outside and smoke cigars. Maybe they drank scotch, but I don't know about that one. They were pals. I remember when Kaz died my dad was very, very sorrowful. We all were.

So in honor of Kaz, in respect of our fathers, and in line with the name of his astounding big sister, our son will be called Kazmer Joseph. May his disposition be as true as those he was named for.

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