Sometime around 9 tonight, I was rocking my baby. Who isn’t a baby, for sure, but we both enjoy the moment. As she was drifing off with her mullato baby Lucy (naked and dirty) and skeezy yellow thermal receiving blanket, curls tickled my chin. Her breathing slowed and the hand not clutching her lovies came to rest, after a long hard day, on my cheek. Her eyelashes (both girls have their daddy’s eyelashes, thank the good Lord) fluttered one last time today, lips parted, sweet apple breath.
I love being a mom. I have wanted kids since forever. I remember being about eleven or twelve years old and having names of my future children all picked out. The names would vary according to current popular movies, sports icons, crushes and rock stars. I never saw myself as Mrs. Jake Ryan but I did have a child named Jacob Ryan Alexander at some point in my adolescence. Naming a kid, I think, is one of the single most important first jobs that a parent has.
My sister is a first grade teacher. Her husband is a middle school coach, PE and health teacher. They are both very popular and good at what they do. They have one son. My nephew is a newly minted three year old. I know for a fact they they spent the entire pregnancy (and maybe before that?) attempting to choose a name that was not reminicent of some asshole student somewhere along the line. It’s a hard job when you’ve been teaching for ten or more years and had hundreds of students pass through your life.
Ella’s name is Eleanor Grayce. I wanted her, like Will before her, to have a grown up name (a “Chief Justice” name, if you will) to go with the name that we call her from birth. Not a nickname really but a choice. Ella was named the day I peed on the stick. I just knew she was a girl. She had to be. I also knew that she was healthy and that she would be the baby who lived and thrived. She would be happy. And she was. Is. Eleanor means “light”. I liked it for several reasons. There are infinite shorter versions should she choose to define herself with her name. I also liked it because she was my light when things, back then, were darkest. I got pregnant, best we can tell, right around 3 months after Will died. My cycles were still messed up from stress. On a geeky note, I am trained in theatrical lighting and lighting design. So the name truly spoke to me.
Amelia Eve was named by Stephen. We were both convinced that she was a boy. Had to be. And, obviously, wasn’t. Amelia is named after Stephen’s great grandmother, Millie, born Amelia. Stephen’s dad called our Amelia “millie” for a good 3 months until he realized that we weren’t going that direction. Amelia means “industrious”. Ella has called her Melia since she was in utero and it stuck. It has since been shortened to Mimi. That was her own doing. If you ask her what her name is she will say “Mimi Kites”. Close enough.
I needed the rocking tonight. The littles woke up fighting this morning. Add that to boundless energy, a messy house, a restless dog and a mama who lacks ambition and you have a recipe for disaster. The whining continued all day, the house just got messier, somebody let the dog out the front door, nobody got a real nap and meals were entirely created from the microwave. Fail.
But then there’s my baby. My angel. My snuggler. She would crawl right back into the womb if it were possible, if I would let her.