Sunday, February 19, 2012

What's In A Name?

I assume that most parents quickly learn that naming a baby is no easy task.  Luckily for Kevin and I, we have some very special people in our lives that have made naming our little boy both an honor and a privilege.  I have been incredibly blessed in many ways, but especially in that I have grown up with all four of my grandparents my entire life until this past fall when my dad's father passed away.  Like most kids, my grandparents have been treasured my entire life and they were the creators of the fondest memories of my childhood.  I love them like only a grandchild can love a grandparent and our little boy will be named for both my grandfather who recently passed away and for my brother, who I think of each and every day.  Here is the story behind what's in a name.

William Leslie Williams
September 13th, 1925- October 26th, 2011

My grandfather, known as Leslie to many and Grampy to my cousins & I, was born in Wales and then traveled to Canada as a toddler where he worked, lived, and raised a family of five children, who went on to bless him with 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, soon to be nine.  My memories of him are myriad & his noticeable absence is still very fresh among our close-knit family.  Among my favorite memories of Grampy are when my sister and I were little girls dropping small items down the old vents in the kitchen ceiling and sticking marbles in the holes of the old highchair stool in the kitchen.  When it was time to leave Woodstock and begin the long drive home, he would "hide" us inside the coat closet in the kitchen and pretend we weren't there, standing in front of the folding doors with his broad shoulders and square jaw, eyes glinting with mischief.  I'm sure our giggles were audible and that everyone knew exactly where we were, but everyone played along and I can still hear his laughter and see that twinkle in his eyes.  
I loved the way he called all of us girls "doll" and kissed both sides of our cheeks in greeting while hugging us snug around the shoulders.  Whenever it was time to leave, he and Nana always stood right outside the doorway to wave as we drove away and when I leave now, I can still see him standing there, waving with that proud grin.  I dearly miss that grin.  Summer trips to our family's bright green camp on North Lake are almost tangible images in my mind, this place where he taught me how to play Chinese Checkers, catch a fish, and where I always got teal paint on my hands from the inside of the boat we would travel across the lake in.  If I close my eyes, I can smell the fresh, soft scent of lake water, feel the sand in the sheets of the tiny twin beds, sense the warmth on my cheeks & nose from a day spent in the sunshine and hear the crackle of a campfire on the beach.  We picked fresh vibrant veggies right from the garden and rinsed them in spring water.  One time he helped me plant a watermelon seed that actually grew into a tiny marble-sized watermelon.  At the end of a sun-kissed day, we would listen as the loons sang down the sun and everyone would pile inside the camp to listen to stories and make memories to last a lifetime.  As a WWII veteran, my grandfather was a hero to many, but to his grandchildren, he was even more than a hero and his legacy will live on longer than any of us may ever realize, like a ripple in the water.  I know we are all still making him proud today and I hope he likes the name we chose for our little boy.

My brother Chris, "Bro"
July 28th, 1972- November 23rd, 2006

Knowing there are so many happy things going on in my life, it's easy to write with a bit of humor in my tone and a smile in my words, but even during the most blessed days, sometimes shadows block the sun.  The other person who is not here to meet our little William is my brother, my first best friend.  

I don't know if anyone else has experienced this, but I suppose being pregnant makes you think about counting all the blessings you have, and sometimes that leads to reminiscing about those things you may have lost along the way.  To describe for you what my brother means to me would be impossible with just mere words, it would require a trip back 
through time & memories so you could see the light in his eyes, hear the joy in his laughter, and feel the love in his heart that he carried for his two little sisters, a love I think some people search their whole lives for and never find.  He was a hero to the two of us and always will be, we even had a secret handshake, but I can't tell you about that, it's still classified for the three of us alone.  
I guess in writing this I am feeling some sorrow for myself, but also for my child who has been robbed the chance to know their "Uncle Chris", because anyone who knew my brother knows he would have been the most incredible uncle, that's putting in mildly.  He was the kind of big brother who bought us the biggest, most ridiculous Super Soaker water guns for no reason, just because it was a sunny day and it was time to create mayhem together, which we quickly did.  
In middle school, he accompanied me on my first ever date, and no, this was NOT my decision!  
We saw Happy Gilmore at the movie theater and he sat right smack-dab in the middle of my date and I and kept giggling and offering us popcorn!  I was mortified and the guy didn't call again, tough loss... not really.  If I could tell 8th grade me that memories like this would one day be treasured because my beloved date-crashing brother would be watching my wedding from the balcony seats in Heaven, things might have been different.  I would have cancelled the date altogether and gone dirt road driving in Bro's pickup truck instead, talking until the twinkling stars disappeared and first rays of sun poked over the hillsides and chased us back home again. 
My brother taught me a million things, some life lessons, some more of a "don't try this" variety (ie: spray painting, chewing tobacco, not hooking up with the pizza delivery guy's girlfriend!) but all of them resound in my mind and help me to see that, although he isn't physically here on Earth, he is with me every moment of every day, in my heart and in my mind and in the sound of my laugher.  I like to think that my memories of him are so strong that he's a tiny little part of this little baby boy growing inside of me because, if this baby contains the best of his parents, a big part of the best of me is my big brother, my hero.  I miss him now and always and I hope he's proud to know that my little boy will carry his name and he will live on. 


Kestrel said...

Great post. Your son will have quite the legacy! I love it when people pass on names that mean something to them, rather than just picking out something from the baby book or making up one like Farquahizykden.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kestrel! I agree, there are a lot of invented names out there, and although some of them are pretty catchy, we love the idea of being able to tell this little boy stories about the people he is named for and share pictures & memories with him. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts & comment! :) And Farquahizkden does have a nice ring to it, hehe ;)

Jeri said...

Absolutely Beautiful! This is just so awesome and I absolutely love little Baby Carriere's name and the "what's behind it" is so powerful!! This kid is gunna have so much positive energy before he even comes in to this world!! He has the best Angels to watch over him!!!

Anonymous said...

I love reading your Blog, Krystal!! You are a talented and gifted writer and to add to that you will be a wonderful mother to your little boy! As I said to Irene, you are the happiest pregnant girl I have ever met! Keep smiling and your little man will enter this world "smiling", too! Love, Kate

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeri & Kate! Jeri, I know you know how amazing this is for me to be able to do something in memory of my brother because you knew him and knew how incredible he was. This little boy will be loved by so many!
Kate, you my friend are a great example of being a happy person too, I can't be around you and not feel happy! :) Thanks for your compliments! :)

Anonymous said...

Right, so from now on I'll stick to reading your blog without people around me because I'm either laughing my head off by the end of it..or like this one, crying like a baby. I can't wait until this little guy is here. Love you SO much xo Erin

kate P said...

Why did my comment come up as anonymous..I don't get it!! Did you know it was me..Kate Pinkham??!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Erin! Thanks love, I miss you! Kate, yeah, the reference to Irene helped me figure it out :) I wonder why it did that? Let me see if I can figure it out!

Kari Young said...

You got me all teary-eyed. That was amazing and I am sure they are both so proud of you and will be watching down on that little boy for you! Keep up the good work!