Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sisters

So, we have known we are having a girl for quite a while, now. & we are all pretty happy about it. Before Biggie & I were married he told me he didn't really want a son the way many men seem to, but he definitely wanted a daughter. When we found out MiniMe was a girl we were very happy. For me, I was especially relieved because I had made a promise I didn't know if I could keep. Biggie had agreed that if it were a girl she could be named after my maternal grandmother, but if it were a boy, I would have to consent to give him a true Italian name. So, in case you're wondering, God loves me & I have proof.

Naming this girl isn't proving so easy. I gave Biggie a list of ten names that most of them he has commented over the years that he found appealing in some way. Talking about names is a touchy subject & I am sincerely hoping that I don't offend anyone in discussing names in this post. If I do, because I feel like it's inevitable, just know that I have been there. When Biggie told his old secretary what we were naming MiniMe she screamed across the dealership that our daughter was, "Going to fucking hate you!" & that her name is, "...an old lady name!" It sucks that people do that. I would never be so crass, but if you feel like I am, sorry in advance.

In order for me to explain my current number one choice, I kind of have to reveal MiniMe's true name. I'm just going to tell a story & let it be out there. We'll see how that works for a while. I will ask that my readers try to refrain from using her real name in the comments for this & any future comments because I do try to make a serious effort to protect her identity. Thanks.

Gram & I on my 3rd Birthday, They had just brought in my swing set.

Growing up I always knew my grandma's name was Evelyn & I didn't think very much of it. Most people called her Lynn, which was fine, but if I could have picked, I always would have picked something more spectacular for her, because she was a spectacular woman. When we wrote each other letters over the winters when she was in Florida & I in Michigan, we developed a habit of including unique names we had heard in our post scripts. I had suggested the name "Zoe" after seeing the movie New York Stories where there is a short entitled "Life Without Zoe". In her return my grandma replied, "Ok. What about Chloe?" When I asked her where that came from, (keep in mind this was in the late 1980's where these names were pretty uncommon), she responded, "it's my perfume". I always thought that was silly & I hated to admit that liked both names.

My grandma grew up the younger daughter in a fairly well-to-do family. She & her older sister, Lucille, went to private Catholic schools their whole lives. They were two years apart, but very close. When my Great Aunt Lucy graduated from high school she had decided that she was going to move to Ypsilanti to work in the bomber plant at Willow Run. My grandma dropped out of school to go with her. Grandma was only 16. While she was living & working there, she developed nearly fatal rheumatic fever. The man who would become my Grandpa came back from Germany & found her in the barracks, sicker than sick. The story I was told by him is that they never really dated before the war, they had just been friends. But, knowing my Grandma, I'm sure that the fact that she saw him as someone that saved her life in more ways than one had a lot to do with what they would come to mean to each other.

Grandma Lynn & Grandpa Red, August 1944

While I was growing up I always noticed how close Grandma & Aunt Lucy were. They were fun to be around. They both had six kids, even in the same order, 4 boys, 2 girls. While they raised their families about 3 hours apart in Michigan, they both bought houses in Florida when they retired that were about 3 blocks apart. They both were incredibly crafty & would sew together. When I was about eight years old I heard my Aunt Lucy call my Grandma "Evie", & I thought it was one of the sweetest things I had ever heard. It fit my Grandma so much better than Lynn, & the way Aunt Lucy said it changed everything. When I heard Aunt Lucy call her baby sister that name, I heard the lifetime of experiences they had shared. I heard secrets no one would ever know or understand. I heard the love of two sisters, now wrinkled & much duller than they had been, but absolutely sparkling in their joy, gratitude, and wisdom.

When I chose to name MiniMe Evelyn, I chose to do so because I could think of no greater legacy to attempt to bestow on her. Grandma taught me so many lessons in my life that I still frequently hear her voice whispering in my ear, the final lessons in her death, when I was just 16. Holding her hand, telling her I loved her, & knowing that it would be the last time I would actually hear her say it back was undoubtedly the hardest thing I had to do in my young life.

Aunt Lucy was mad that Grandma had left my Great-Grandmother's wedding ring to me, saying that I was too young to understand the responsibility. But Grandma did it anyway, & I have worn that ring on my right hand every day since it was given to me almost twenty years ago. When my Mom's Dad, who is still alive & full of piss & vinegar, tried to called our daughter Lynn, I downright pitched a fit. I insist that she is an Evie, & he doesn't understand.

About a week ago I took MiniMe to see The Spiderwick Chronicles, & in it there is a character named Lucy. The name haunted me. I began to remember the stories I'd been told about my Grandma & her sister. I remembered that Biggie had suggested the name Luciana a few months back, & I had given it the equivalent of a raspberry. But I thought about it again. I thought that using Luciana would honor Biggie's Italian heritage, as they so expect. But, I would also have a more personal, more sacred opportunity to honor my own heritage, & the heritage of sisters in my family. I see it as an opportunity to deepen the legacy I wish for MiniMe. I always hoped that if I were to have two daughters that they would love each other the way that my Grandma & her sister did.

Well, Biggie doesn't like that name. I don't think he's trying to be mean. I just don't think it means as much to him as it does to me. I'm trying to get him to pick something, anything, that we can both agree on & I am sick of not having some resolution. Honestly, I wish we could ask the baby what name she would like, but of course I have to keep in mind that MiniMe would rename herself Princess Aurora or Scarlett Violet, because they are her favorite colors.

But when my mom told Grandpa about my idea, of naming her Luciana, she didn't even get to the part about calling her Lucy. My Grandpa roared with laughter. He was smiling from ear to ear & said he doesn't know if the world is ready for that, yet. He said they would both be honored. & he said that he completely understood why I would want to name two sisters those names, because they were the best sisters he ever knew. By the way, he's 84, & he's known a lot of sisters.

3 comments:

Coffeemomma said...

What a lovely, lovely thing to do. I think names are so incredibly personal and people get waaaaaay to uptight about them. People keep them secret so others can't steal them (!) or because they can't handle people saying "That's a weird name". It's your choice. They are your kids, and the names you pick are so very personal. Your girls are going to have a great story about their names..how amazing.

goddard099 said...

I am trying not to cry cause I am at work reading this but I think that the story is almost fary tale like. I think Miniyou has a great and beautiful name and it fits her quite well. It isn't like you named her getrude and call her Gertie. Now that is an old lady name. of course all old lady's started off young. i keep wanting to smack the peice of class at the dealership though. :)

You should push. A name that honor both of your heritages is something that is difficult to do when you are trying to mesh irish Italian. Though marinara and potatoes do make a nice gnocci...

settle on the first name "discuss" the middle, he he.

Good luck

tiff said...

What a beautiful story and I love the name. I hope Biggie comes around.