I have been pretty careful in naming my children. I wanted them to have names that would serve them well as children and adults, but more importantly, I wanted their names to carry some significance. Both girls have variations on family names, ties to books and/or movies that are special to one or both of us, and each of their names means something that makes me happy.
Which is probably why I agonized over this little one’s name. It had to be just right and I could not figure out what it was. Despite being born nine days after his due date, he did not have a name for over 24 hours. The only boy name David and I both liked–which we’ve hung onto for years assuming we’d use it if we ever had a son–didn’t fit him for some reason. I kept trying it out and it just was not his name.
We tried countless combinations of names but nothing sounded right. One of the nurses at the hospital suggested writing them down to see if anything looked right. That helped us rule out quite a few but we still couldn’t decide. It was so frustrating.
(Also, I keep saying “we” but let’s be honest: I was the one obsessing over names. I didn’t have much else going on while I hung out in my hospital bed, and David was busy with the girls most of the time.)
David had brought up the name Ryan many times over the years, but for some reason I had never seriously considered it. I asked him once why he liked it, and he said he’d never met a Ryan he didn’t like. They were always good people, so the name felt good by association. While I was in the hospital, I looked up the meaning of Ryan: “little king.” As the son of a David, which was also the name one of the most famous kings of the Old Testament, that seemed appropriate. I warmed to the idea.
And then someone–me or my mom, I can’t remember who–suggested Theodore. And I got more than a little weepy. And I realized that might just be it.
At the beginning of this year, my grandpa’s best friend Ted passed away very unexpectedly. He has been part of our family for as long as any of us can remember. Losing him was devastating. Today is his birthday; it’s still so weird to think that he’s not around to celebrate. His name–Theodore–means “gift from God” and that’s exactly what Ted was: a gift. A light and a joy to be around.
My sweet boy is another gift. A tiny king sent from God for our family to love. I can only hope and pray that he grows to be the kind of man our Ted was. It’s a big name to live up to, but he’s a big boy. I think he’s up to the task.