I'm super excited about today's giveaway. Erin from The Vintage Pearl is donating a $50 Gift Certificate to TheVintagePearl.com where you can find all manner of gorgeous custom silver jewelry and gifts, including necklaces, bracelets, rings, baby spoons, boxes, earrings—so many cool pieces. The sports-jersey concept is fantastic too. You must go take a look.
I featured The Vintage Pearl once before when Erin sent me a mommy necklace with Charlotte and Elijah charms. It is my daily, go-to necklace and I absolutely love it. Of course, since then, I had another child. I needed to add his name onto my mama necklace.
But what was I going to name him?
Okay, okay. I know! My baby will be two-years old this month and I have never announced his name on my blog. It turns out I could only call him "my little bub" or "the baby" or "my youngest" so many times without getting caught. And you guys have noticed. Boy, have you noticed. You are totally onto me. I'm sorry for leaving you out in the dark on that. I'm going to attempt to explain myself today. I know there are a number of you who have faithfully watched for this news!
Choose Your Own Adventure
If you want the juicy details of my rampant indecision and how the babysitter named our son, read on. For the punchline and a fabulous giveaway, skip to The Punchline at the bottom. (Know that through all of this, on top of having a new baby to care for, I was still healing from that Trash Ties situation and I was under the pressure of an enormous number of design deadlines.)
For starters, we listed baby names over and over all through my pregnancy and never found a clear winner before the birth. I'm sure this is common enough. We wanted a name that was interesting and unique but not contrived or trendy. Once a name gets trendy, I can't do it.
I have always loved my grandfather's name: Imri Joseph (rhymes with "Jim Rye"). I never knew him. I have a solitary memory of him giving me a piece of gum. But, family heritage is very important to me. I never had extended family as a kid and I want my children to have that in their lives. Imri was a responsible, interesting and intelligent man. He was the Head Food Chemist at Heinz for decades and was pivotal in developing the technology that gives Heinz ketchup its signature flavor—making it still the best ketchup there is. When he died—I was four—he willed me a small amount of Heinz stock that grew a little as I grew and helped me pay for college. He was a family man and a hobby photographer—long before most families owned a camera. I don't know, I've always just felt close to him even though I don't know him.
I wanted to name the baby Imri. I really wanted to, but it made me anxious. It's such an uncommon name that we really had no gauge on how that name would function for him in his life. How would people pronounce it? How much explaining would he need to do every time he gave his name? How would it look on a resume?
I didn't feel particularly passionate about any of the other names that remained on our short list. It was either go hog-wild and name him something creatively strong like Imri (I liked Wilder too)—and let him figure out how to wield such a name, or keep to the classics and name him Henry, James, Evan or Graham. Isaac and I are artists. A larger part of us wanted to indulge in a creative name, but part of us didn't want to presume this would work for our little baby's destined personality.
Of those classic names, Henry was my favorite. But the guidance counselor from my high school's name was Henry Bailey and I knew my siblings and mom would have a hard time with that. (My mom worked at our high school.) If I had given Elijah the name Henry back in 1997, it would have been more comfortably unsusual for me. In the meanwhile, Henry has become quite popular. So that was two gentle dings against Henry.
So what other classic names could we add to the list? Not many. You see, Isaac is one of ten children. His siblings mostly have boys and they have employed many of the strong, classic boy names that I like: Thomas, William, Luke, etc. But—Isaac wouldn't allow us to consider any names that have been used in his family already. Even when the naming situation grew more desperate.
By the time we were at the hospital, holding our sweet new baby, all that our list included was Imri, Levi, Evan and Graham. I liked Imri and I felt that Levi, Evan and Graham were okay, safe names. Evan being more romantic; Levi and Graham being more interesting. But, I wasn't attached to them. You would think this would land me on Imri, but I couldn't pull the trigger without a test run.
We went home from the hospital unsure. We thought we would resolve it that week at home, but we had company and a new baby to take care of. We didn't figure it out, so we had to file his name as Unnamed.
This gave us several more months to figure things out, months we never wanted to take, but we took nonetheless. Most people don't know this, but you have quite a long time to officially pronounce a name. We began calling our baby Graham, Evan and Imri interchangeably in order to resolve our feelings, sure we would keep Imri Joseph as the middle name if we didn't use Imri as the first name. Graham made it's way off the list pretty soon, once I started hearing "Grumbly" when I would say "Graham Bailey." I know. That was silly. I was tired.
The names Evan and Imri stuck around. We called him both. If a stranger asked his name, we would say that it's Evan—in order to avoid the explanation. If we had more time for a conversation, we would test out Imri. We never felt sure what to do. We gradually became comfortable with the idea of giving him both names and letting it work itself out over time. His name would be Evan Imri Joseph Bailey. If we ended up calling him Evan, then he would have two middle names just like my other children. And if we only ever called him Imri, then he could choose to either keep Evan for sport or we'd take him down to the court and let him remove it officially.
This is where we landed. When we introduced the baby to his babysitter, Marilyn, we told her she could call him either name. She chose to call him Evan. He was on the verge of walking at the time and this was a big event at Marilyn's. Marilyn would stand the baby at the center of the room and the children would form a circle around him, clap and chant, "Evan! Evan! Evan!" trying to get him to walk.
When Marilyn told us this story, we tried it at home that night with our older kids. And when we chanted his name, "Evan! Evan! Evan!" he lit up like a light bulb. He not only was the center of our enthusiastic attention, but we were calling his name! The name he was hearing at Marilyn's all day. That twinkle in his eyes brought me some peace. He could be Evan and that was okay. It isn't a name I would have ever predicted my using. I would have thought we would arrive at something more unique. But it is lovely to say and he is a lovely boy.
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
And he is still Imri too. And if he ever decides that Imri is the name he wants to go by, then I'm cool with that. For now, Imri serves as a nickname. (Apple is his other, self-elected nickname—from his first attempts to say Evan. He called himself Apple for months.) We call him Evan for the most part. I have never had clarity about it, but I'm moving on. I have never had an easy time naming my children. It's an honor I don't feel equal to. I always wish that I could consult them on it and give them the name they want, let them be who they will be.
The short version is that we really weren't sure what to name him so we had to test a few names out. And when it came to choosing from the final two names, we had disected our options to the bone and I just wasn't sure I liked either name any more. Our baby went around with two different names for a year. I didn't announce this because I didn't want to hear more opinions. I just kept hoping I would feel inspired about it. Clear inspiration never came. In the end, we gave him both names and figured it would sort itself out over time. Our baby's official name is Evan Imri Joseph Bailey. Evan, simply because it stayed on the list and Imri Joseph after my grandfather. He goes by Evan. Though I still call him Imri at times.
My new "Evan" charm from The Vintage Pearl arrived this week and my mama necklace is now finally complete. I thought about ordering a silver charm with Evan on one side and Imri on the other, but I resisted. I'm going to wear just one name around for a while, one name officially stamped in silver.Comment to enter today's contest. Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you if you win. It took me a while to get this story all written out! Therefore, today's giveaway will extend into tomorrow and end at noon PST on Friday 8/9/13. Watch for the winner to be announced within a day or two at the bottom of the post. Follow The Vintage Pearl on their blog and on Facebook. For more info on my August giveaway madness, click here. Please share the word. Check back every day.
INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY: Follow @heatherbailey and #HELLOgiveaway. Share today’s giveaway on Instagram (see Heather's feed today for an image to repost) & you’ll be entered to win a $15 gift certificate to HeatherBaileyStore.com. Be sure to tag @heatherbailey and #HELLOgiveaway08. (The number there at the end will change each day.) Today's IG giveaway ends at noon PST (Pacific Standard Time) on Friday 8/9/13. We'll announce winners within a day or two.
- — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — -UPDATE: Congratulations, Jennifer Fortunato. You win today's HELLO Giveaway. We will email you with next steps. And congratulations to @freshraspberryquilts on Instagram for winning our Day 8 Instagram giveaway. The giveaway is closed, but you can still join the conversation and comment. I read each and every one. xo—HB