Grey. I've always preferred to spell it with an "e." Even though Crayola spells it with an "a," I just think the "e" makes it more grey. My great grandfather's name is Jacob Gr(?)y Young -- I'm not sure how he spelled it. I had always wanted to name one of my kids after him because I've often heard what a great man he was.

I'm not sure exactly how we decided on Samuel when we found out we were having a boy back in 1999. It had a lot to do with John's old college roommate, but we also really liked the thought of a little boy named Sam. He was almost Samuel Owen (after Owen Meany) but thanks to my over analyzing, we discovered the poor kid would have some rather unfortunate initials. We quickly went back to Grey or Jacob or something else I don't remember. However, we were not really satisfied with the cadence when you said the first, middle, and last name aloud. Then one day, in about my seventh month, inspiration struck! There is debate as to who actually came up with his true middle name, but trust me, this was way before the clothing line, and these two English majors were not familiar with any grunge band, if you catch my drift. No, I think we just sensed how special this kid was and therefore had to have a righteous name.

When Sam was about two and I started wanting another baby, I dreamed of a girl named Emmaline Grey Barber. Then we had a miscarriage. At the time, I was so confused about how to grieve. It was hard for me to picture a baby (vision is such a crucial element of grief) I had never seen, let alone give her a real name. I got pregnant with Laney two months later and the whole pregnancy we talked about Emmaline, but somehow it never felt right. We finally decided on Laney Elisabeth about a month before she was born. And you can ask anyone who knows her, there has never been another girl who fits the name, who fits the girl, so well.

When I got pregnant in 2005, we began talking about names and came back to my grandfather. This time it was Jacob that we liked. We argued about a middle name. The other two had been so perfect; the pressure was on. We might have come to an agreement if we'd had nine months, but pictures were all I ever saw of little Jacob Andrew. His middle name came to us a few days after we lost him when we remembered this lullaby written by Andrew Peterson.

Sunday will be the one year celebration of the birth of our little b-cubed: Benjamin Bailey Barber. Benjamin is from John's late uncle and Bailey is from George Bailey. It's hard to know much about his personality at this young age, and I must confess that, initially, his name did not roll off my tongue like I had hoped it would when he was still in the womb. We often call him "Benji" which none of the grandparents or aunts and uncles seem to like too much. (They usually call him Ben.) But we don't care, it fits. Lately, he's taken to pointing at himself with his thumb and dragging it across his chest, often when he's just gotten up from a nap, as if to say "Hi, it's me." I'm looking forward to the day he first says his name. I wonder what will come out.

Monday was one of the most beautiful (and not grey) days we've had around here in quite some time, but I was pretty grumpy all day. Some days I simply wake up and the "funk" is there, pouting and following me around like some whiny cousin I forgot to invite to a birthday party. She was definitely there Monday, though I tried many times to tell her to go home. Yucky dreams from early that morning did not make things any better, but I'll tell you what was getting to me the most.

I kept thinking about this post I had started on Saturday. Because of life I wasn't able to finish, but I gotta tell ya it was all over the place and I'm not really sure it should be finished anyway. The post was about some of the things that roll around in my head this time of year, most of them bad memories. I had an optimistic ending in mind, but never quite made it there. I was frustrated with not knowing what to do with it, but was more ticked that I hadn't had time to finish it. It was the "I can't even get two hours to myself," fuming that we stay at home Moms often (and sometimes rightfully) do. But the deal is, I could work if I wanted to. I choose to stay home and it's really a small part of my life when I look at the big picture.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. It started raining in the wee small hours of the morning and when I awoke it was a cool, grey day. I sat down to the computer around 9. Laney and Sam were at school and Benjamin was taking his morning nap. I was working on the desktop because John had taken the laptop with him, which meant I had no access to Saturday's draft. I started messing around on myspace, and wouldn't you know it, what started out as wasting time led me here.

I guess the point I'm getting to is that even though I adore the word, I'm glad we didn't end up naming any of our kids "grey." The chances of one or more of them turning out a bit melancholy are pretty darn good, and the fact that their names are uplifting rather than depressing is undoubtedly a fabulous thing.

So I'm glad life doesn't always turn out the way I plan. Of course I'm never quite convinced during those crazy moments when the road runs off the map. But fortunately I've been in uncharted territory enough times to see that the best stops are not always on the map -- even when it takes me many miles to recognize it.

(Because I do an amazing Anthony Kiedis impersonation)


Doubtful Muse said...

It makes me so happy to know there is another Benjamin Barber in the world. Happy birthday to Benjamin Bailey!

(I also spell grey with an "e"...)

Jerusalem said...

Naming our kids is one if the most fun things I have ever done. I wish I could do it for a living. Lol.

tamsaunt said...

You may not know it, but Tam's Dad, Benjamin, was called Benji by his Barber grandmother. No one else ever used it that I know of, he was always Ben to me when he was good, and BENJAMIN! when he was bad--which was often when he was young. He was always the ringleader for any trouble he and Mack got into.

I, too, am glad there is another Benjamin a name that goes back a way in our family.

Capt. Flipout said...

When Ellie was a baby, I used to sing to her, when changing her diaper...

(To the tune of "Smelly Cat")

Ellie Kate - Ellie Kate
What are they feeding you...

Anonymous said...

Actually I don't mind "Benji". It kind of fits him. For us who are older, I think we first thought of the dog in the Benji movies. But now, not so much. Happy Birthday Benji! Love, Grandma