Dear Atticus, on being a Namer

Dear Atticus,

It was easier for us to settle on your middle name. We knew very early on that we would name you after my dad, another man who stood up for what was right. He cared about his family, about people who needed help, and, more than anything, about Jesus. He taught me how to change a tire and how to remember my addition and subtraction facts. He taught me how to drive a stick shift, how to ride a bike, and how to hammer a nail. He was a terrible singer who could never remember the words. He could fix anything, and, according to him, he knew everything, including what all the Christmas presents were under the tree. He showed me what hard work and compassion look like. He was my biggest cheerleader and the person who taught me that it’s okay to skip school every once in a while just to spend time with your family. He was supportive of your dad, too, encouraging him to go back to school and in his difficult relationship with his own family. We miss him a lot, and we hope that you will be proud to carry his name.

I will be telling you about him for a long time, because I wish you could have known each other. But the one thing I want you to know about him is this: When Daddy got sick, he told a lot of people, “Some see the glass as half empty, some see it as half full, but for me, my cup runneth over.” That was his attitude in life. It’s not one that I share, not one that I am very good at. But my dad embodied that spirit of joy and fun, a sense of gratitude that he was able to be here and be along for the ride.

That’s part of the reason we are also giving you his last name, my maiden name, as your last name. If I had been a little bit older, I probably would not have taken your dad’s last name when we got married, because I loved my name and was so proud of it. I still miss it and it is still strongly tied in to my identity. When we began thinking about your name, we decided that since we can choose which last name to pass on, we would rather pass on mine. You will share that name with my dad, who would have liked to meet you, and my mom and my brother, who are excited about your impending arrival. It’s not a typical choice, but we would rather do what we feel is right and what gives us peace. We are thankful to live in a time where we have more options, and I am thrilled to pass on my family’s name. I am so happy when I think about you being one of the men in my family, men I love and respect like my dad and my brother.

Have we started to scare you yet, about being born into this family of overthinkers? We have tried to be thoughtful and considerate about all the decisions we have made about you so far. When it came to your name, we took to heart the words of Madeleine L’Engle: “When I was memorizing the names of the stars, part of the purpose was to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be. That’s basically a Namer’s job.” We don’t know who you are supposed to be, but we thought about who you might be, and tried to name you accordingly.


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  1. […] project, kari is writing letters to her almost-born son, atticus. today’s is about how naming is powerful. i love kari’s blogs always, but this series is especially […]