Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's in a name?

Wilson Alva Clark Boettcher. That's my son's full name. Yes, it's a mouthful. Yes, it sounds like a 70 year old man. Yes, the two middle names are a bit much. Yes, he will probably hate Alva and never use it. 

But I absolutely adore his name. Every time I see it written or I tell someone his whole name, I get the biggest smile. His name is jam packed with meaning for Caleb and me. I can't wait to tell Wilson all about the special people he was named after. And since he is an extra special boy, he deserves an extra special name. 

Caleb and I had actually had another boy name in mind that we decided on a long time ago, before we even considered actually having a kid. Our boy was going to be James Paul Clark. That name has tons of meaning too, and if we have another boy, that will probably be his name (except change Clark to Rufus). So when we found out we were pregnant, I didn't even really think of boy names, I was happy with what we already decided. But one night, on our way home, I asked Caleb if he could name the baby anything he wanted, what would he choose? And Caleb said he would name him after a great scientist, like Edward Wilson. And in that moment, something clicked in my head. Wilson. I had never thought of that name until that moment, but as soon as I thought it, I knew that was going to be his name. I actually had to convince Caleb to give up our other name, that Wilson was beyond perfect for our son. And after a few days, he came around. And just like that, our baby had a first name. Inspired by a great writer and scientist. I can only hope that Wilson will be curious about his name sake and pick up some of his books one day. And then maybe Wilson will become a great scientist in his own right. 

We both loved the name Clark for years and never doubted that would be our son's middle name. It is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. My gran is such a special person to both Caleb and me. She is so gracious, kind, warm and loving. She has faced a lot of adversity in her life, but she still remains happy and loving. I hope Wilson sees these qualities in her and creates them in himself. 

Alva was decided on literally about a week before Wilson was born. Caleb always liked the idea of giving our kids three names (a first name and two middle names). I wasn't so sure about it until my last few weeks of pregnancy when I got terribly bored and needed something to do. So I thought up a list of potential extra names. August was our first choice because We liked the flow of W.A.C. Boettcher but I wasn't satisfied. I wanted the name to be significant,not just something random. And as September rolled in and it became apparent we would have a September baby instead of August, I thought of my maternal grandfather, who's birthday was in September. He passed away when I was 10 but I feel like I owe a lot to him. He had a huge hand in shaping the person I would become. He was very smart and really Instilled a love for learning in me as a child. I have many fond memories of him reading to me and playing imaginative games with me. I really hope I can be a great teacher like that for Wilson. So Alva it was. 

We didn't tell anyone about Wilson's extra name until after it was on the birth certificate. I don't think anyone would have criticized it, but I didn't want anyone's opinion on the matter. I knew that it was my son's name. There is no way he could be anyone else. 

Two kind of funny things happened with Wilson's name that I didn't plan for, but are happy accidents. First, I have always wanted to honor my mom (who died when I was little) in some way with my children. Unfortunately, her name and it's variants are not my style at all so I knew I wouldn't name my kids after her. But, in a way I did because I named Wilson after both of her parents. It's special to think that the memories of my maternal grandparents and my mother are all tied together into Wilson's name. Which really, isn't that what a baby is anyway? He is The sum of all of our families mashed together into one new person.

Also, my Grandaddy didn't go by Alva. He was Bud to his friends and family. Somehow and completely unintentionally , I got into the habit of calling Wilson "Bud" or "Little Bud". I didn't even make that connection back to his name sake until my gran pointed it out. It's so sweet and I'm so glad my baby boy has such a big, meaningful name. 

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