Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Thursday, February 18, 2010

C: Roots; the Importance of Family Lore

I was thinking the other day about how warm it makes us feel to hear from our elders the “lore” of our lives, especially the events of our initial birthday.  There is something about having a “history” known to others and repeated to us that grounds us.  Maybe it assures us of a place in the family tree tree.  Is it the development of roots?  I don’t know, but I believe that hearing from our elders about our early days is important, and that being deprived of this leaves one somewhat insecure the rest of his or her days.

I have always enjoyed telling my son about his birth.  My husband and I had been married eleven years before our son was born.  I was a confirmed career woman, and he was the up-and-coming entrepreneur.  We had made a conscious decision to have no children because our life was just perfect as it was…until we neared husband’s thirtieth birthday.   At that time the urge to procreate hit him with an urgency.

My husband lamented first of all that he had decided that he did not want to go without a child and, second, if we did not hurry he’d be too old to be properly engaged in childhood activities.  ( I find this particularly ironic now that he has a new baby on the eve of his sixtieth birthday, but I digress)  I happily acquiesced, and we entered pregnancy with great expectations and much fanfare.  This would be the first grandchild on both sides of the family.

As the due date approached, we pored over name books, considered family names, and thought hard about what to call this child.  This was in the dark ages, when one had to wait until actual delivery to see whether one had a son or a daughter, so we worked on both genders.

The girl’s name went fairly easily, and we settled comfortably on “Meredith Elizabeth…”  But the boy’s name was up in the air.  We narrowed in down to Christopher and Nicholas as first names.  I don’t recall what middle names we considered.

I was practicing law throughout my pregnancy, and I battled high blood pressure much of the time.  I was hospitalized several days prior to delivery and finally my doctor decided to do a C-section.  My husband had attended all the pre-birth classes, so he was allowed to attend the surgery.

I was conscious throughout, having anesthetic for the lower portion of my body only, so I was well aware when the doctor looked up and said, “You have a son!  What is his name?”

Without missing a beat, I blurted out, “His name is A. C.!” 

This was a name that we had never, ever discussed.  I had never, ever even thought of it.  It just came to me through the fog of the delivery room.  My speaking it was involuntary and as much a surprise to me as it was to hubby.  My husband was so shocked that he made a mild protest: “C!  Where did that name come from??!!” 

One of the attending nurses turned to him and said, “You stay out of this…she can name that baby anything she wants to!”  He backed right down.

And the name stuck, and all are agreed that it is the perfect name for our son.  We always say that God named him.  Certainly, he has been every bit the blessing of a child that one would expect under these circumstances.  And, oddly, though we never again used birth control, he was our one and only.

But, back to the premise of this post: From his earliest childhood on, my son has always loved to hear this story.  It is the story of how special he was from the very beginning of his life on earth; so special that his parents strained over just what to call him; so special that God, Himself, perhaps intervened to get his name just right.

My own “birth lore” involves naming, too.  My cousin was old enough to remember being at the hospital when I was born and told me the story (she is the only one who has).  As the family gathered in the waiting room (fathers did not witness delivery back then), she recalled how my father, a lawyer, passed his time writing the names my mother and he had discussed to see how each would look as a professional signature.  He settled on a name that does, indeed, look just fine on all those court documents I sign each day as I follow in his professional footsteps.  It is a story that stuck with me through my developing years and may have played a part in my determination to finish professional school.  Who knows?

I can think of other important family stories, blessings of a sort, which I may share with you from time to time.  I will curtail myself now in the interests of reasonable post length.  But I’d love to hear family lore stories from you and, especially, how these recitations are received by their subjects and how it might have impacted their lives.

Leave me these details in a comment or, if you want to give me more, I’d love you to e mail me.  The e mail address is in our profile.  I’d love enough material to do a follow-up post containing these.

Thanks for indulging my early-morning musings!  C

20 comments:

KathyB. said...

Family lore has it my mother named my 2nd sister Laura Kay, but my father , upon seeing her immediately said" that is no Laura Kay, she is Karen Sue" and she is!

I enjoyed this post very much.

BlueRidge Boomer said...

I was reading a throw=away love story in which the hero's name was Nicholas and on the same day hubby came home and said...."i met this guy today named Nicholas....i really like that name".....guess shat we named the kid.....that's right.....Nicholas William.....

Great Post.....LindaMay

Queenmothermamaw said...

I did love that story. We had 8 children and did the name thing. Only a couple of our children ended up with the names we selected. The others were born quick and got a totally different name. It is true, sometimes when you look at that precious bundle for the first time the name is settled on by God for you. I have done written descriptions for all of my children of their birthday. They love it. Great post C.
QMM

Laura said...

I had not thought about the story of where my name came from in a long time but my mother named me after the song "Laura". I found a youtube video of Carly Simon singing the song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Baj5Q7H5q6s

I never really understood why my mom liked that song so much but I have a new appreciation for it after hearing her sing it, I will have to show here that video when she comes to visit next month.

My oldest Son Christopher was named after Christopher Robin of Pooh, his middle name is not Robin but Aaron, I could not do that to the poor kid but I always loved the name.

Vee said...

Oh I know the story, but it is completely uncharming. I am named for both my father and my mother. A way-too-cute-name by half. I've always hated it. How funny that a name just floated to you in that way. Glad that it all worked out! I named our daughter, but my husband named our son. It was deemed only fair.

Vee said...

I know MY story and it is completely uncharming...gheesh. I'm gonna get myself in trouble. Ha!

Anonymous said...

Great story and yes AC does have a great name. crm

Vickie said...

My maternal grandmother was named Gladys Ola because her mother loved gladiola flowers. Her maiden name was Hayley, so when I had my daughter, I named her Hayley. There were NO Hayley's at the time - now you hear of them everywhere. And I thought it would be so original. Perhaps I started a fad... Everybody thought I was kookie when we named Adam. They thought it was way out there (don't know why), but when he was born, everybody said it just fit!

Kat_RN said...

Another fun post. For some reason when I try to recount such stories to my children, I am always greeted with "not again!". Silly kids.
Kat

Eggs In My Pocket / Yesteryear Embroideries said...

I love to read posts like yours! I love family lore more than anything! Enjoyed visiting. blessings,Kathleen

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

enjoyed my visit today

sending love,
kary

addhumorandfaith said...

Welll, my parents already had four teenagers when my mother found out she was pregnant with me. So, I'm told, they had a family "pow-wow" to decide on names (boy and girl). The story goes that my brother was holding out for "Trigger" but lucky for me he was out-voted, and I got a much more conventional name -- Sandra Kay, :) (It just occured to me that if I'd been "Trigger" I would have REALLY fit in with Stickhorse Cowgirls!)

Melissa said...

My sisters named me. I was born oin the south, so they named me Melissa Sue.

I so love reading your posts.

Noni at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

C: I love your family stories. I think you hit the nail on the head about the "blessings" of the lore passed down. I read a very interesting book several years ago that "blessed" me, since I had had a strained relation with my father called The Gift of The Blessing... I know the authors well... but, dang if I can recall them right now... I think you would like it. Great post.

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Joy said...

What a great story, and yes, I have a story about my name, which I did a post on. If I can remember, I'll send you the link or the post date. gotta go make supper now.

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