Welcome to Chickadee Junction

Welcome to Chickadee Junction

I have birdfeeders outside of my office window. My office is in my home, up on a hill, surrounded by trees. The most frequent avian visitors are the chickadees. When the feeders are empty, they come to the window and let me know. They seem to converge here, and draw my attention out...

I wrote a column about life with children for six years. Now I am the grandmother, and I would like to repost those stories. I will also be adding thoughts and reflections, and if inspired - stories from the now.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Very First Momily - I think...

We recently had a new baby.  Preparation for delivery always requires the ongoing name 'discussion.'  The baby needs a unique, flowing, beautiful name that Mom and Dad both like.  The last part is the tough part.

When I was fourteen I found a name in a novel.  It was a name I had never heard before...a name that reflected our cultural heritage...the name.  I decided then and there that my first child would be a girl, and she would bear this name.

Fortunately for me, Dad did not want to talk about girls' names. (He was equally sure I was bearing a son.)  And somewhat fortunately for me, Dad stayed by my side all through a very long labor.  Once I'd delivered a daughter, I hit him fast while sympathy was running high.  I asked, suggested, stated the name.  How could he refuse?  He spent the next two days asking,  "How do you say it?  How is it spelled?"

Second time we searched through the Bible and all the baby name books for names.  We had lists of names.  Two days before delivery Dad announced,  "I know what his name is."  Of course I asked and he told me that after what I did the first time, he had no intention of telling me until after the birth.  I had a quick, easy time, so no sympathy this time.  We had a strong son with a Dad-chosen name.  It wasn't what I expected, but I liked it.

By the third time we both learned we better talk if we both wanted to be involved in the process.  The result?  We drove home with an unnamed child, throwing names back and forth the whole way.  By the time we reached home we had decided on a strong, one-of-a-kind name for our boy child.

So, why am I off on this tangent?  (Aside from an odd desire to expose our foibles?)  Sometimes as I'm dealing with my kids, a rational part of my brain observes my craziness, and horrible truths hit home.  I spent so much time and thought choosing flowing, favored, beautiful names for my children, so I could shriek and scream and utter them in my angriest voice.  Suddenly I am using the name that I have treasured as a warning siren.  The name is to be used as a caress or in humor, calmly...

In reality, these carefully chosen names bellow from my throat.  Middle name added means,  "You are really in hot water now!"  Kids begin to cringe at the sound of their own name, rather than bear them proudly.

We need to listen to ourselves, to each other.  But not too closely, and with love.  Because when you are in the grocery store and you see a mom with a handful of kids and a mouthful of,  "Bobby, stay right here where I can see you...Bobby, keep your hands off the shelf...Bobby, we do not need any more tuna..."  that's me.  Be kind.

Mima notes:
I was christened Mima by my oldest grandson.  I love the beautiful, flowing name he gave me.

I had two more babies and they each had their naming story.

My youngest son was a surprise.  I thought I was having a girl.  I was sure I was having a girl,  I only had a girls' name ready.  But there was a name - we had chosen a boys' name during my first pregnancy.  That name was one of the last three we were throwing around in the car for my second son.  It was a name we liked.  I looked at my new baby and announced, "This must be him!"

My last child was a girl.  I was thinking about girls' names...a lot.  Then I had three dreams.  In the first dream, I had a baby.  In the second dream, we knew it was a girl-baby.  In the third dream, she was called by name.  And so that is her name.

I continue to observe the phenomena of screeching names...of lovers and of children.  We still need to be compassionate and listen to ourselves.  I often asked my children,  "Who do you want to be?"  Then you know how to behave!

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