Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Glimpse Inside My Head

BB is named for my Dad (and is middle-named for an important Jewish automotive engineer. Just imagine my consternation when I told J he could pick out the baby's middle name and his response was "I'm thinking about something automotive or engineering related." I'm glad he went with the name he did, rather than giving our child the middle name "Formula One.")

I love that I was able to name BB for Dad. I love that my second child is Dad's namesake and that a part of my father will live on in BB's name (and his ears--see below.)

But I would rather have Dad here. I wish he weren't gone. I wish he had gotten to hold BB and know him. I wish he could be a phone call away for LO to tell him about his bus adventures and call him grandpa--since Dad passed away before LO's explosion of language and never really got to hear about the things that are important to a little boy.

In my head, there is an alternate universe in which my dad is still alive.

But--and here's where you get to see the strange inner workings of my brain--I have no idea what BB's name would be if Dad hadn't died. And that causes me a strange kind of stress.

You see, Jewish naming convention is that children are named after relatives who have passed away. The convention stems from an old superstition. Naming a child after a living relative means the angel of death might mistake the baby for the older relative, and take the wrong soul. So Ashkenazi Jews give names in honor of deceased loved ones.

So, if Dad were with us, BB would have a different name.

But J and I exhausted our entire list of favorite boy names with LO. Before Dad passed (which was before we knew whether BB was a boy or a girl) J and I half-heartedly agreed that we kind of liked Noah.

But BB doesn't look anything like a Noah.

Here's why this is a problem:

When I visit that place in my head wherein my father is still alive and I can tell him cute stories about his grandsons and get his advice on parenting and life and tell him all about my day and basically just be with my father--I don't know what to call BB.

It's so stupid, I know. But some small part of me feels as though it might be possible for me to get to that alternate universe, to burst through into the world where Dad still has years and years of good times ahead of him, if only I could imagine it perfectly. If I believe hard enough and clap my hands loud enough, Dad will be alive and everything will be okay again.

But in those imaginings, I just trip over BB's name. Clearly, I can't imagine the alternative perfectly if I don't know what BB's name would be in that other, less-cruel universe.

I find that my thoughts hamster wheel around this issue on a weekly basis.

Yeah. It's crazy. I know.

I recognize that there is no alternate universe wherein I don't know what a glioma is.

There is no other world where I got to tease my father by singing "When I'm 64" on his birthday this year.

There is no perfect world that would allow BB to know his grandpa as a full and real person, rather than just a collection of his mother's stories.

Even so--I find it easier to imagine that I damned the conventions in that other world and named BB after Dad anyway. The hell with Jewish naming conventions!

It's a strong name.

It's an honor that I wish Dad could have known.

Ultimately, it's my little boy's name.

And he rocks that name.

I just wish I could hear my father say it.

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