emmett richard's name

Many people have wondered how Mike and I came up with Emmett's name. When we were in Costa Rica in May, we spent hours floating around in the pool and in the ocean, talking about names. We didn't argue or disagree on names very much, we actually enjoyed choosing potential boy and girl names. We took turns going through the alphabet, saying a name starting with each letter, and they had to be names we hadn't listed in prior versions of this activity. Some letters, such as Q and Z, ran out of options quickly so we started skipping over them. But for more commonly used letters, it forced us to come up with slightly more obscure names. This is where Emmett came up. I don't remember which one of us said it, but it made our short list of names right away. It stuck, and it didn't take us very long after we got home to settle on it as the most likely choice if we had a boy.

For girl names, we used this game to come up with options for first and middle names. But for a boy, we only ever used it for first names. Emmett's middle name was always going to be my brother's first, middle or last name. We didn't settle on using Richard, his middle name, as Emmett's middle name, until a few weeks before he was born. We went back and forth between all three, knowing that we wanted to honor Greg's memory but also not wanting to saddle the baby with unnecessary baggage, which is why we decided not to use his first name. His last name, my maiden name, was under consideration too, because he was the only male child of my grandparents' only male child, meaning he was the only member of our generation to carry and keep the last name. I wanted to consider honoring the family name and carrying it on through Emmett.

Ultimately, though, we chose Richard as his middle name. We think it's a fitting way to honor my brother, my father (whose first name is Richard) and my grandfather (whose middle name is Richard). I hope Emmett will carry the name with joy and completely without pressure or baggage. I hope he will grow to know his uncle through me, through Mike, through his Nana and Poppy, and through the rest of our family, but never to feel as though he is being compared or required to live up to any memory, which is why we never would have considered any part of Greg's name as a first name.

I have already begun telling Emmett about his Uncle Greg. He's a good listener, and he likes it when I talk, sing and read to him. This morning, I was chatting to him about Greg, and told him that Greg's favorite hymn was Amazing Grace. I have avoided that song since Greg died, because of the memories. But this morning, when I told Emmett about the song, I sang it to him, the whole thing. Emmett settled right down and looked at me. He listened quietly through all the verses. I've sung it to him twice more today, and both times he was just as alert and quiet.

I can help Emmett get to know his uncle. But also, unexpectedly, Emmett has already helped me open my heart back up a little bit and re-learn to embrace something that Greg loved.


maresi said...

This is an incredible post, Amy. I'm so thankful you told us all of this!

When, oh when will I get to sing in that little man's ear? *sigh*

Katherine said...

Man, I always end up commenting after Maresi. And she always says what I want to say. And she words it better than I would. So I'm just going to say... ditto!

Empty Arms, Broken Heart said...

Are you saving the girl's name or will you eventually reveal this to us all? (Just because I'm a curious George!)

Mike said...

such feminine name shall never be revealed.

EDH said...

What a great post. I'm also interested to hear your rationale behind not using your brother's first name. We have always thought we'd give my brother's name to a son as his middle name, but now you have me re-thinking that. As it happens, my brother's middle name is also my father-in-law's first name, so maybe that would be a better choice. Thanks for the food for thought!

I love the "Amazing Grace" story. What a wonderful gift for you both.

Anonymous said...

Amy - You are such a great writer! Glad to hear the story of Emmett Richard's name and the fun you an Mike had in the process. I admire your ever present wisdom! plm

Meredith said...

love this post! I also love that story about Amazing Grace. And, I believe that Greg and Emmett already know each other pretty well. :)

Anonymous said...

Just thought of this blog, though at first I couldn,t remember the title, when I read the Jan 06 entry at another blog! I had been following your blog, as I am sure a select few others do, as a result of your loss, and how you are dealing with it. I might add the resultant growing in living with it, as well as the apparent healing that is being accelerated by the new addition to your family is amazing.
I digress. Thought you might find DesignMom.com's Jan.06 entry an absolute scream Hope you go there, and like it!!


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