Thursday, August 30, 2012

whats in a name

Benjamin Jordan

I love that name.

For so many reasons.

I actually love the process of naming. I love to find out how and why you chose the name you did for your child. pet. whatever. Its something that is deeply personal and beautiful and a gift. a celebration of that life, of those that went before, of the relationship of the parents.

Here's part of our process.

First. We just loved the name "Benjamin". It is strong. It is neither common nor uncommon (although so far the list of names for 2012 is calling it common...doh!). Easily shortened to one syllable. Or 2. whatever he chooses.

Secondly. Fine. it is a combination of our names. A piece of each of us and yet unique unto himself. I love that. Love it. Love it. Love it. Its so cheesy. Its so us.

Also, it is a Biblical reference. A favored son. A good and righteous soul.

And finally, DH was especially fond of the Star Wars reference. Old Ben Kenobi.
I. am. not. joking.

While it pains me that this is a common name these days, it has so much personal meaning. Because of its commonality it would never be a first name choice. That is my issue.

Jordan is a family name. My grandmother's maiden name. My great-grandfather's last name. And it has very very positive associations.

My grandma, my dad's mom, was a significant figure in my life growing up. We spent at least a few weeks every summer at her home in northwest Indiana. Daily we would go to the beach and hang out at the dunes. She took us to cultural events. She had creative art projects for us like painted sand designs. It was probably the only time in my life that I remember having structure, quiet time, reading time, I knew what to expect. We would also go there for holidays. And it was always pleasant. always joyful. You almost couldn't tell that someone important was missing. Her son. My dad.

Gramma always told me that I could never use her name when I had my own children. With a name like Gladys Margaret, I can't blame her. She even threatened ex-communication. although I know she would never be able to follow through. So I chose to honor her with her maiden name. She never saw that one coming. Take that, Gramma!

And her father, my great grampa Jordan. He passed when I was about 14. So I am lucky to say that I have strong memories of him as well. He was a goofball who would always make people laugh. Even when he was old and sick. In my early childhood I remember visiting his home on the south side of Chicago. He always had lemon drops. Would play goofy games like "stealing your nose" and we would pick up his favorite delicacy for him, frog legs. When his wife (my great gramma) passed and he eventually went to live in a nursing home, we would still visit him often and he would be at all of the family holidays. He was everyone's favorite person to sit by and talk to. He was one of those souls that made you feel like you were the only person in the room. What a rare character.

And our last name. His father's name. Will always be his. It is a good name. From good people. I too am proud to have that last name.

And so it is that my son. my heart. is Benjamin Jordan.

What is your story?

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