Yesterday, I broke down and invested in a new laptop. I’ve spent weeks researching different models, a year saving, and worked extra hours for a stipend. Within twenty minutes of getting in the “cue” at the Apple Store, I walked out with a new MacBook Pro. And a magic mouse that operates at a higher intelligence level than I do.
This morning, I sat down to get my email organized. Apparently I have never organized email. Ever.
In just one, of four email accounts (yes I have four of them), I found 3249 messages marked as Important. I’m not sure who marked them, or why they are designated as Important, but they date all the way back to 2011.
Four and half years of email. Sitting. Waiting. Some read. Some never opened.
I scrolled down to the bottom of the interminable index and the very last message was from my husband.
Sent: April 20, 2011
Subject: Top 100 Baby Names
Received: Thirteen days before giving birth to our son.
Less than two weeks from an unbeknownst-to-us, surprise early delivery, and we could not decide on a name. It wasn’t an argument. Well, not really. It’s not like we hadn’t given it much thought. We had a hard time deciding on paint colors. Picking a name felt like one of the biggest decisions we would ever make.
Some people have baby names picked years before they even consider conception. Or have their spouse picked. It’s like picking a nail color. Or a tomato. Or a new car. There are family names to consider as well.
Steve liked Brett. I hated it. The standoff began (peaceful mostly).
Glancing upon my burgeoning bump, people would ask, “What name have you picked out?”
“Cletus,” we would reply. “Cletus the fetus.”
Oh the looks.
“You can’t be serious!”
All joking aside, we were hard at work but could not agree on the first name, or the middle name. Last name was pretty straight forward.
We came up with a game plan. We would each choose ten of our favorite names. Each day we would drop one name from a list. It would be a democratic process. Shared decision-making.
He emailed me his top ten:
Sean, Alex, Amos, Beau, Brady, Clarke, Dean, Lance, Luke, Mason, Nigel, Parker, Tobias/Toby, Tyler, Colin, Austin, Owen, Dylan, Ethan
Apparently he forgot to count. I hated all twenty of them. Well most of them. At least Brett was off the list (and I apologize if you have chosen any of these names for your child…really, it isn’t personal).
Amos, Beau, Brady, Clarke, Nigel, Emmett, Brennan, Beau, and Truman the best. Randall or Jefferson for a middle name.
He replied, to my reply:
Add Emmett and Miles to the list.
I was agreeable to that.
Thirteen days after starting the name game, and my water broken only three hours after my doctor assured me I had at least two more weeks before delivery, we found ourselves on the way to the hospital to deliver our son. Our bags were packed and ready to go. With the car seat properly installed, and twenty pages of birthing positions tucked away in the suitcase never to see the light of day during my twelve-hour labor, we bounded naïvely into a new era in our lives.
Everything that had ever happened up until this point was B.C. Before Children.
Before Children, I wouldn’t have given a second thought to buying a new computer. I didn’t give much thought to anything.
And yet we remained nameless. In thirteen days we had narrowed the list from 31 to 18 names.
Just as many had feared for us, our son came into the world, without a name. The little blue name card read, “Baby Boy Boren”. Twenty four hours later, and A.C. (After Child), the nurse entered our birthing suite and placed the paper work in front of us. We couldn’t leave the hospital without a birth certificate. We couldn’t get a birth certificate without a name.
We didn’t need our lists anymore. With our son finally here, we knew. Clarke. My mother-in-law graced us with the middle name, Gabriel. We had never considered the name. The name means: God is my strength.
It was perfect.
Scrolling through the rest of the 3248 emails this morning, I found,
Congrats. And that is a kick ass name!
and reminders to sign up for diapers.com, Kanga Care, and AmazonMom. People were elated we had moved on from Cletus. There was an invite for the LeLeche League and a new birth club on The Bump.
I also found emails from friends. One was just getting married. Another traveling to Paris. A coworker was retiring. A lot has happened in four years, not just in my life, but in the lives of those around me.
Life B.C. (Before Clarke) is a distant memory now. Most days I can’t remember what it was like, and that is ok. Life A.C. (After Clarke) has been crazy busy, joyful, and at moments painful. At times, God has been my only strength.
Sitting here at my new computer, I am grateful we didn’t choose Brett or Amos or Cletus. Thankfully I’ve never bothered, nor had the time, A.C., to organize emails. Especially the important ones.