What's In A Name?
What's in a name?
So when it comes to naming a human…. Oh boy.
I have named stuff… Cars. Pets. Stuffed animals and toys. I have named songs and albums. But never have I ever named a human. The task felt daunting.
A few months ago a name popped into my head. It was sort of a strange name, but not overly strange, but still a little strange. I didn't think Mingo would ever think twice about it, so I kept it to myself.
A few days later, as Mingo and I were out walking in the setting summer sun, he quietly said, "There's been a name in my head."
"Oh"? I asked, inviting him to go on. He didn't. "What is it?" I prompted.
He hesitated. "Well… It's… River."
I stopped walking. I told him that just a few days ago I had thought the same name. We put it on our short list. My huge belly felt like it was about to burst.
My waters broke in my sleep. A furious rush of clear water. Over 12 hours later, after a complicated birth, our baby son came into this world. He was big. And strong. And the most beautiful, sweet, incredible, best thing. Ever. Soft like the night sky, pink like a sunrise. Moving and flowing and calm and deep and restless like a River.
But I still wasn't sure.
Over the next few days Mingo and I tried a few names on him, sort of the way you try different pants on. Some fit alright, some were a little too baggy, some too short.
The nurses and Doctors had started calling him baby Mingo. Every time they came in our room they asked about his name.
"Does he have a name yet?"
"We're working on it," We would say.
I needed to ask him.
I looked down and stroked his rose petal soft cheek and asked him as he rested in my arms, "Is your name Lennox (an old family name)?"
"Is your name Aubrey (Jason's grandfather's name)?"
"Is your name Jackson?"
A little frown. Way off.
"River? Is your name River?"
And there it was. A tiny smile.
"River? Are you sure?"
No response. He was passed out.
"I think his name is River," Mingo said a few days later. "I really think it is."
"I think you're right," I responded. I still wasn't totally sure in my heart. But I trust Mingo. And I trust my baby son. So we named him River.
The birth was complicated. I had to be readmitted to the hospital after going home for an infection and might need more surgery. I have never been through so much. My body aches. I am beyond tired. I can't walk. And I'm bursting with love for my new family. Through it all, River has been my salvation.
I realized that so many of my favourite songs are about Rivers. The cleansing, healing, power of them. Steadfast and moving. An escape route, a pathway to a new life.
Here is a little play list of a few of those songs. From my little River's ears to yours.