Out of the past a memory crept as my focus blurred with the present and shifted to forgotten times. My son, married and with a wife and child on the way faded to a much younger blonde headed boy full of wonderment. This was my inventor, out trying to make a name for himself at a young age. He could make things that would boggle the imagination with tape, string, sticks and any
other assorted item he could lay his hands. That is so long as no one noticed it was missing.
It seemed like from the beginning that he was searching for an identity, something to be different, something that would set him apart from others. I gave him a first name that was the last name of writer that I admired. I fondly
remember the day that he decided to no longer be right handed but instead chose to use his left. The shifting food allergies that seemingly would prevent him from eating things he didn’t want at the time or would draw attention to him were matters of amusement for me, irritation for his mother.
One day he confided in me his frustration over his name. Even though he wanted to be unique in other ways he didn’t so much enjoy his name being unique. You see his brothers had names that were more common. There were
cities, streets, locations and even people they knew that shared the name of his brothers. They could find cups, license plates and other products with their names on them, but he couldn’t. I don’t suspect he never will unless he has it custom made and that bothered him. I felt for him. My well meaning intentions melted into a heap before my eyes. I never thought that a name would create heartache and a distant empty feeling.
I had a hard time forgetting those feelings. They went everywhere with me. On one occasion they accompanied me while on a hike in the hills near our home. The air was heavy with the scent of fallen leaves, my thoughts
heavy as I climbed through the scrub oak, over rocks, up and down hills. Traveling through an area I seldom passed through I spotted something in the rocks above that caught my eye. The sunlight revealed the hidden by
illuminating the rocks at a particular angle to show that there was more there than first met the eye.
An arch, hidden by the overgrowth of the rock and the cropping of scrub oak. Like all great explorers I decided to name it as a way of leaving my mark upon the land. I named it after my son. For the second time I gave this
name, once again the name was given to help a young man feel important. People want to be connect to things and people by the names given to them.
Arriving home I shared the excitement with my son. He now had a secret, hidden arch named after him. Like a visible rush of adrenaline you could see the excitement
surge through his body and fill his eyes to over flowing. Hurriedly we rushed back to his namesake and in the setting sun I could see a different son rising before my eyes as the shadows lengthened with his smile. At last he had identity. At last he felt connected. At last he no longer felt alone in the world.
There is something to be said about a naming. There is something to be said about giving place for your name in the world. I hope he remembers that when his first born comes into this world.