Today I stopped in at a local hospital for some routine tests. It happened to be the hospital where Joe was born.
Of course my mind wandered back to that day almost thirty years ago (Really? Thirty??!), when after only seven hours of labor I gave in and asked the nurse for some pain drugs, and she cheerily replied, “Sorry, too late! Your baby will be here any minute!” She was right—Joe was born a few minutes later, and if I do say so, he was pretty cute as newborns go. He cried until the nurse put him in my arms. I spoke to him and he immediately opened his eyes a bit and stopped crying.
Our family doctor, who delivered Joe, asked with a smile, “So what’s his name?”
“Well, we’re not sure yet. We wanted to meet him before giving him a name.” We didn’t mention the several names we were considering: Max, Sam, Joseph…
Dr. May replied, “I don’t generally offer my opinions about names, but I’ve always liked the name ‘Joseph’.”
Jeff and I looked at each other and laughed. We looked at our baby boy and said, “Hello, Joseph!” We knew it was the right name. The several Josephs mentioned most prominently in the Bible are portrayed as good men, so we knew he’d be in good company. And we liked the idea of a strong, traditional name.
He was Joseph for a year or two. Eventually his name morphed easily into Joe. He was never a Joey, though. I tried it once or twice, but it didn’t seem to fit his quiet personality. When he was a little boy and a woman addressed him as Joey, he asked me later, “Why did she call me Joey? That’s not my name!”
I did, however, call him Jojo from time to time, which is probably why his little sister Anna first referred to him as Bobo. (He adored her and called her “my little Sweet Pea” until she was about four years old and things changed, but that’s a story for another time). I shortened Anna’s term to Bo and used that as an endearment for the rest of his life.
Miss you, Bo!
What are your stories of naming your kids? Or birthing/adopting them? Please share in the comments—I would love to read them!