Tuesday, August 7, 2012

She has a name

Monograms are important to me. When naming children, a concern I have is that the monogram will be balanced and the letters are pretty. Yes, I am crazy. When someone tells me the name of the new or impending child, in my mind I picture the monogram and either make the compliment of, "Oh! That'll be a beautiful/strong/handsome monogram!" ... or I keep my trap shut.

It is because of this little nuance about me that Husband was able to narrow down my list of girl names by three. Three "T" names were struck for this reason and this reason alone. The "T" could not balance with the "C."

I kid you not.

(Two of those "T" names were also stricken from the list as Husband really, really hated them. I like to think it was the monogram. He likes to think we wears the pants in the relationship. Potato... pa-ta-toe)

But, from the start- I wanted this little lady to have a little panache. A little sass. A little innocence of a devil in her.

Aunt Bennie
My grandfather was one of twenty-one children. Actually, he was the youngest of nine. Back then, they must not of known what caused babies. Medical advancements are really a marvel. Of the nine, there were four girls, four boys, and one I am not sure about. For the sake of this story- it'll be a boy as I am focusing on the girls. The four girls grew up and married four Catholic men and each had a herd of babies. In my juvenescence, these women were never seen without their hair fixed, their earrings in, their shoes on, and the dress fully pressed. I remember (this is a big statement- remember, I am a child of the 80s) these aunts ah-tending the Too-nah-ment in heels and gloves.

Aunt Bennie on left- wedding day
pictured with her mother and brother, my grandfather
Talu, Mae, Bennie, and Helen were the definition of proper and lovely. And I loved them for it. Aunt Bennie and Aunt Helen taught me how to set a table and the difference between six different types of forks and four different types of drinking apparatuses. I can now set a killer table and use a ruler to do so. Aunt Mae read me the Bible. If it was after 5, she might have snuck a libation. While Aunt Talu died when I was really quite young, she always gave mints to me- not because of halitosis, but because I loved unwrapping the little chocolate from the green wrappers and nibbling them in the tiniest of tiny bites, taking fifteen minutes to savor the one inch by half inch long triple layered chocolate and mint delicacy.
I mentioned that Talu passed when I was quite young; Mae was the second of the sisters to go- when I was in high school. Helen died a few years ago-- I ache for her companionship to this day. Bennie is still kicking.

Aunt Bennie and Uncle Brady
And still kicking she is. She is the last of the siblings still on this side of the gates. My father once said that the Brennans live so long that Saint Peter (Paul?) has to pick them up and carry them through the Pearly Gates.

Aunt Bennie has a little imp in that angel soul of hers. Her laugh could carry through a room and she brightened any day. Aunt Bennie knew no strangers and was known throughout Augusta-- as they all were-- for her beauty. Back then, money could not buy looks like that.

Aunt Bennie and Uncle Brady
(can't you see that little imp in angel soul?)
The name Bennie never struck me as odd- heck, my grandfather's daughters are named are Rosie, Elf, Spooky, and Ange. What's odd about a little Bennie? It was not until I was somewhere between sixteen and twenty six that I made the amazing discovery that would change my life.

Bennie's name was not Bennie. It was Benjamin. Benjamin Elizabeth. How beautiful is that? I instantly fell in love with her name and secretly stashed it in my box of favorite things. Ohhhh-- that name! That beautiful name! Benjamin Elizabeth... it rolls around in your mouth like a fine scotch and tumbles out with Venus helping spill the words.

To put it mildly, it is a name I love and not just because it is so lovely but because it reminds me of one of my precious aunts. What I adore even more is that she is not the first Benjamin- nor the second. Benjamin Elizabeth is the third woman in my family to have that darling name.

Husband and Wife have been tossing names back and forth. Names we like, don't like, what we like, what we hate... conversations abounded revolving around, "What will we strap onto this kid for the rest of their life?"

My names were old lady names-- like really old lady names. So much so that Husband said if we named Baby Girl [insert any number of names here] that they would come out with blue hair, glasses, and varicose veins. I told him that [insert any name from my list here] is your friend, your sorority president... he interjected, "Yeah- President of AARP."

I sighed. He was right, but old biddies aren't born old biddies- they grow up and then become old biddies before St. Peter (Paul?) scoops them up and takes them to the gates.

We kept tossing out names we liked and tried to find a middle ground between my circa 1875 birthday female names and his plain jane names. Husband got quiet and began to contemplate something I did not know was on his mind. He strung words and pitched a first name for our second daughter.

I smiled and eagerly agreed.

Knock me over with a feather, he followed up with, "And Martha Benjamin combines the best of all worlds. Benjamin gets carried on. What do you think about Mattie?"

"I. Love. It."

Really?
Really!
Really!
Really?
Really!

So, it's settled?
It's settled. I will write it in stone and embroider it with thread.

Mattie.

She's coming in December. For some reason, giving her a name makes it real. Even more real than the pudge, the kicks, the glow, and the scatterbrain. We will close out this year (pending all goes well and there are no complications) with two daughters- Patricia Eileen and Martha Benjamin.

We're excited.

4 comments:

Family Snodgrass said...

I can't wait to meet sweet Mattie.

Aleasha said...

I love the name! I love love love it!!!!!

Aleasha said...

I Love it! I mean, Love Love LOVE it!!!!

Rod and Alex - aka: "Rolex" said...

Awwwww! I love this!!! What better way to honor your family?! Little Mattie is going to be beautiful…just like her name! :)